‘‘There are those who say we’re a colony of Cuba. It’s really an offense against Cuba and against Venezuela,’’ Maduro said.
Three opposition governors attended the meeting led by Maduro on Tuesday morning, including Capriles, who was defeated by Chavez in the presidential election in October. Capriles shook hands with Maduro in a brief exchange at the event.
During Chavez’s five-week absence, some Venezuelans have begun speculating about whether his cancer could force him from office and require a new presidential election.
While many of Chavez’s followers said they hope he will recover and return home, opposition lawmaker Carlos Ramos said Maduro’s repeated appearances in the president’s place suggest an effort to promote him as a candidate.
‘‘What I hope is that they call elections soon,’’ Ramos said.