Other opposition leaders called the government’s latest corruption accusations a farce, noting that a former case against Marcano had been dropped by a court two years ago.
Mardo said he did nothing wrong, and also claimed that one government representative had told him if he defected to the pro-Chavez camp, the accusations would be quietly set aside.
The verbal sparring has erupted amid uncertainty about Chavez’s condition.
The 58-year-old president hasn’t spoken publicly since before his Dec. 11 surgery for an unspecified type of pelvic cancer. In recent weeks, speculation has grown that the government could be preparing the ground for a new election.
Adding to such speculation was the government’s debut this week of a newly designed baseball cap emblazoned with the colors of Venezuela’s flag. Maduro, Cabello and other top officials donned the yellow, blue and red cap during street demonstrations Monday, and the vice president called them ‘‘revolutionary caps.’’
However, the cap is very similar to one worn by Capriles during the past presidential campaign. Capriles responded by posting a photo of his cap on Twitter and saying: ‘‘They'll never be able to expropriate it.’’
During Tuesday’s congressional session, some lawmakers from both sides wore the flag-design caps, trying to claim the symbol as their own.