ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION)
STORY: Supporters of socialist leader Hugo Chavez held a Christmas Eve mass in Caracas as the president remained Cuba where he recently underwent his third surgery for pelvic cancer.
Chavez allies want to avoid a public debate over the president's health because his cancer has been treated as a state secret. His treatment in communist Cuba has helped keep his condition under wraps, and the Venezuelan government has given only terse and cryptic statements about his post-operation recovery.
The president has named Nicolas Maduro as his heir, but the vice president has said there will not be fresh elections if cancer prevents Chavez from taking office by January 10, despite a constitutional mandate that the swearing-in take place on that date.
Christmas Eve mass for Chavez (0:54)
Dec. 24 - Chavez supporters held a Christmas Eve mass in Caracas as the President remained in Cuba where he underwent his third cancer surgery. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). ( Transcript )