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Biting satire a catharsis for some Venezuelans while they await news of ailing Chavez

The monthlong absence of ailing President Hugo Chavez has elicited prayers, an emotional street rally and political debate. Amid the tense wait for news from Chavez's hospital in Cuba, Venezuelans are also turning to one of their most prized national attributes: a biting, irreverent sense of humor.

A flurry of jokes and political cartoons have taken aim at the government's postponement of Chavez's inauguration. When the president's followers took to the streets to symbolically take the oath in Chavez's place, some critics said the outlandishness hit a new high.

Venezuelan comedian Claudio Nazao says "what's happening is so absurd that people don't know whether to laugh or cry."

A cartoon in the daily El Universal showed the Supreme Court chief slicing up the constitution.