BY JIM WYSS
Thousands of red-shirted supporters and heavily armed soldiers marched in unison Wednesday to kick off 10 days of commemorations to mark the anniversary of President Hugo Chávez’s death. But just beneath the fanfare and choreography were the simmering tensions that El Comandante’s 14-year rule left behind.
As memorial fireworks burst over the city, throngs of protesters threw stones at police in eastern Caracas and President Nicolás Maduro admitted that he was “battling” to preserve the legacy of his mentor and predecessor who succumbed to cancer a year ago.
During a graveside speech that was part memorial, part saber-rattling, Maduro announced the country was breaking diplomatic ties with Panama over an alleged “conspiracy” and said authorities had thwarted plans to blow up bridges and tunnels.