Three Latin American presidents turned up, as did foreign diplomats. And thousands of President Hugo Chavez's supporters flooded the streets Thursday outside the presidential palace in Venezuela's capital, Caracas.
But Chavez himself didn't show — he remained in Cuba, incapacitated after his latest round of cancer surgery.
Still, the carefully choreographed show did go on, and Chavez's aides said he remains in charge.
President Hugo Chavez is too ill to attend his inauguration this week, the Venezuelan government announced Tuesday.
In a letter to the National Assembly, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said the president's medical team said Chavez's recovery should be extended beyond Thursday – the day he is scheduled to be sworn in. The Associated Press reports: "Maduro said Chavez was invoking a provision in the constitution allowing him to be sworn in before the Supreme Court at a 'later date.'"
In the Bolivar Plaza of downtown Caracas, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrive carrying photographs of their leader and singing songs urging him on. Music blares from loudspeakers, repeating over and over, "Chavez, my commander, is here to stay."
Chavez, however, is most definitely not here, and increasingly many Venezuelans wonder if he'll ever be back. He flew to Cuba, Venezuela's closest ally, for an operation that took place on Dec. 11. Before leaving for his fourth cancer surgery, Chavez named a successor.