Venezuelan court says delay of Chavez's inauguration legal
Top news: The Supreme Court of Venezuela ruled Wednesday that the postponement of President Hugo Chavez's inauguration is legal and that the president and vice president can remain in office. Chavez, who has been in Cuba receiving medical treatment for nearly a month, was unable to return for his Jan. 10 inauguration ceremony. The ruling represents a major blow to the opposition, which had called for National Assembly leader Diosdado Cabello to take over as caretaker president and for new elections to be held within 30 days. Chavez has said that Vice President Nicolas Maduro should be his successor.
The Obama administration, meanwhile, has made an effort to open backchannel communications with Caracas in order to plan for a future without Chavez. "Regardless of what happens politically in Venezuela, if the Venezuelan government and if the Venezuelan people want to move forward with us, we think there is a path that's possible," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. "It is just going to take two to tango."