Chavez ally defends idea of pushing back Jan. 10 inauguration if needed after cancer surgery

Venezuela's National Assembly president is defending his suggestion that President Hugo Chavez's Jan. 10 inauguration could be postponed — a statement that has fed uncertainty about the president's recovery from cancer surgery in Cuba.

Diosdado Cabello defended his proposal on Thursday after Vice President Nicolas Maduro said that he didn't want to speculate about such a scenario and said that the Supreme Court could settle any such question if needed.

The apparent disagreement between Cabello and Maduro has emerged as speculation grows about Chavez's condition more than a week after an operation in Cuba during which the president suffered complications. The government said on Tuesday that Chavez had a respiratory infection but said it had been controlled.