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Chavez Deputy says assumes Venezuelan Presidency
( 2002-04-14 09:26 ) (7 )

As Venezuela's one-day old interim government struggled to keep its grip on power on Saturday, the former deputy of ousted leader Hugo Chavez said he was temporarily assuming the country's presidency.

"I, Diosdado Cabello, am assuming the presidency until such time as the president of the republic, Hugo Chavez Frias, appears," Cabello, who served as vice president until Chavez was overthrown in a military coup on Friday, told local Union Radio.

"Institutional order will be restored and is being restored at this moment," he said.

But, while Chavez supporters are claiming the backing of most of the armed forces' units, it was difficult to know how much anyone was in control of the world's fourth-largest oil exporter.

Tens of thousands of Chavez supporters have surrounded the largely empty Miraflores presidential palace, which has been taken over by a military unit loyal to Chavez -- who was being held under guard by the armed forces' coup leaders.

The leader of the interim government installed by top generals, Pedro Carmona, spoke earlier from a Caracas military base, and said that he controlled the country and that Chavez had agreed to go abroad in the next few hours.

The head of the armed forces, Efrain Vasquez, has said that he backs the interim government.



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