Rubio: Protest Violation of Venezuelan Constitution by Pulling U.S. Delegation from Funeral
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said President Obama should yank the U.S. delegation from late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez's funeral as the country's constitution was violated in appointing his successor.
The delegation is composed of charge d'affaires at the Caracas Embassy James Derham (Chavez expelled the ambassador in 2010), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), and former Rep. William Delahunt (D-Mass.).
Other mourners at today's funeral include Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Cuban President Raul Castro.
In the evening, Vice President Nicolas Maduro will be sworn in as acting president. Chavez named him as his successor.
“Venezuela’s own constitution specifies that the head of the legislature, not the vice president, should become interim president following the president’s death and that elections for a new president must be called within 30 days. It does not bode well that the first act of this new leadership is to ignore their own constitution. The democratic nations of the Western Hemisphere should condemn this flagrant violation of the constitutional order," Rubio said.
“The Obama Administration should immediately condemn this unconstitutional act and urge our democratic partners in the Western Hemisphere to do the same. In protest, we should cancel plans to send an official U.S. delegation to Venezuela. This is the least we can do to call attention to the disdain some Venezuelan officials have demonstrated towards their own constitutional order.”
Maduro has said about 50 countries are sending delegations to the funeral.