Chavez opponents demand proof Venezuelan leader alive

By REUTERS
March 3, 2013 18:25

CARACAS - Hundreds of pro-opposition students and other critics of Hugo Chavez's government marched in Caracas on Sunday to demand proof that the cancer-stricken Venezuelan leader is still alive and governing.

The crowd, including various leaders at the more militant end of the Democratic Unity opposition coalition, sang protest songs and waved banners as they rallied in a central neighborhood on a sweltering morning.

"Give us the truth!" and "Stop lying!" read banners.

Underlining the deep political polarization of the South American nation of 29 million people during Chavez's 14-year rule, pro-government students were also planning a march in support of the president and his ministers.

With Chavez unseen, apart from one set of photos, since a Dec. 11 cancer operation in December, Venezuelans are on edge waiting for developments amid a sea of rumors.

Officials say Chavez is in a Caracas military hospital after returning from Cuba two weeks ago, battling for his life. Though he is breathing via a tracheal tube, unable to speak, and undergoing chemotherapy, the president continues to rule via written and other communications, they say.


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