A throng of Hugo Chavez supporters flooded the streets of downtown Caracas on Thursday, as Venezuela's interim leaders substituted Mr. Chavez 's inauguration ceremony for a massive demonstration of support for the absent, cancer-stricken leader.
Thousands of people clad in red shirts and red baseball caps, the color of Mr. Chavez 's socialist party, underscored the deep connection many in this oil-rich country feel for their firebrand president, despite not seeing him since he left for Cuba for a difficult surgery a month ago. But the future of the so-called Bolivarian Revolution isn't as clear as it was when Mr. Chavez , 58 years old, was firmly at the helm, especially if he is unable to return.
Many who have benefited from Mr. Chavez 's social programs say that Venezuela's own version of socialism will continue even under new leadership. Analysts say that the ruling party is already working to forge an enduring link between Mr. Chavez's followers and the president and his movement in case he dies.
Colette Capriles, a political analyst at Simon Bolivar University, said a certain 'theology' was emerging around Mr. Chavez 's persona, with supporters forging personal ties with the president and his movement. 'They are saying they are the heirs of Chavez , or the sons of Chavez ,' Ms. Capriles said.
西蒙玻利瓦尔大学(Simon Bolivar University)政治学分析师卡普里莱斯(Colette Capriles)说，某种围绕查韦斯角色的“宗教体系“正在形成，支持者在努力建立他们与查韦斯及其运动的个人关系。卡普里莱斯说，他们说自己是查韦斯的继承者或查韦斯之子。
At the rally, many wore T-shirts that read 'I am Chavez .' People carried photographs of the president portraying a robust, smiling man. Revolution-themed salsa and rap songs blared out of loudspeakers. The hashtag '#yosoyChavez ,' or, I am Chavez ' has become popular in this Twitter-obsessed country, and the Information Ministry was pushing Thursday for people to start using a new hashtag─'#yomejuramentoconChavez '─'I take an oath with Chavez .'