Heads of state arrive in Caracas on Thursday - for a rally honoring ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
A military honor guard welcomed Bolivia's President Evo Morales and President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua - on the day Chavez should have been sworn in for a new six-year term.
But, as thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of the capital city to support Chavez - the 58-year-old president was confined to his sickbed in Cuba.
Ali Bazan attended the rally - dressed like the South American OPEC nation leader.
(SOUNDBITE) (SPANISH) ALI BAZAN, RALLY ATTENDEE, SAYING:
" I look like Chavez, but not only in the physical, but also in my ideas and everything having to do with the Comandante."
Chavez has not been seen in public for almost a month - since having surgery in Cuba.
Critics said because he could not attend his own inauguration - a caretaker president should be appointed.
Thousands gather for rally supporting Chavez (0:57)
Jan. 10 - Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets for a rally in support of ailing President Hugo Chavez. Sarah Irwin reports. ( Transcript )