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Maduro Pledges Loyalty to Chavez, Revamped Currency Controls

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro, in his first speech since being anointed President Hugo Chavez’s successor, tearfully pledged his loyalty to the president and to revamp Chavez’s currency controls.

“Even beyond our life, we will be loyal to Hugo Chavez,” Maduro said, speaking on state television, while shedding tears and his voice cracked. “Chavez has been and is a father to us. He trained us in anti-imperialism and ideas of a socialist society.”

Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader who also serves as foreign minister, said currency controls have worked “very well” and “could be improved and they will.”

Chavez, in a nationwide address over the weekend, said he was throwing his “irrevocable, absolute” support behind Maduro to lead his so-called 21st century socialist revolution if he isn’t able to carry out his duties. Chavez made the comments before flying to Cuba before dawn today for surgery, his fourth in 18 months, to treat an undisclosed form of cancer that reappeared after winning re-election in October.

Speaking at an event to support former Vice President Elias Jaua’s bid for governor of Miranda state, Maduro asked those present to pray daily for Chavez’s health.

To contact the reporters on this story: Corina Pons in Caracas at crpons@bloomberg.net; Jose Orozco in Caracas at jorozco8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at jgoodman19@bloomberg.net

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