Thursday's massive rally in central Caracas gave a fitting riposte to the machinations of the minted minority intent on profiting from President Hugo Chavez's current ill health.
The streets around the presidential palace turned red as Chavistas wore their colours, many bearing the slogan Yo Soy Chavez - I am Chavez - in response to the president's election campaign declaration that all revolutionary Venezuelans are Hugo Chavez.
The popular outpouring, backed up by the presence of regional political leaders, was in stark contrast to the squalid disinformation campaign run by discredited politicians to destabilise the Bolivarian revolution.
Countless tens of thousands of Venezuelans thronged the city centre from the early hours, chanting and dancing to music piped through loudspeakers.
Presidents, other political representatives and diplomats from no fewer than 27 Latin American and Caribbean countries took part in a rally alongside Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, indicating their backing for Chavez and for revolutionary change.
"Who said Hugo Chavez is absent? He is present here in the women, in the farmers. Chavez belongs not only to Venezuela, but to all Latin America," said Fernando Lugo, the Paraguayan president deposed in an unconstitutional coup.
Bolivian President Evo Morales urged regional unity, declaring: "The best tribute and solidarity with Chavez is unity. Let's keep unity between our countries."
Illustrating the enhanced integration of the English-speaking Caribbean with Latin America, Dominican President Eliud Williams told Maduro that "although your leader is going through a difficult time, you can count on Dominica as a reliable friend."
Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, was impressed at addressing a crowd almost as big as his country's entire population, declaring: "This is the largest concentration of people that I have ever addressed in my life."
El Salvador Vice-President Salvador Sanchez Ceren told the multitude that Venezuela under Chavez had "converted itself into that guiding light for Latin America that the Cuban revolution was in the 1960s."
Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe explained his attendance in Caracas as a response to Venezuela's selfless assistance to his country after last year's floods, sending 600 tons of food on top of its supply of cheap oil through the Petrocaribe programme.
"We're going there to pay tribute to their people and of course show solidarity with the Venezuelan people," he said.
The opposition had been given a kick in the teeth the previous day when the Supreme Court confirmed that the government's ongoing legitimacy did not depend on Chavez's fitness to attend the scheduled January 10 inauguration ceremony.
This reality was explained to Morning Star readers on Tuesday by Venezuela-based political activist Paul Dobson, who cut through the web of obfuscation spun by opposition politicians and the Catholic church hierarchy.
The opposition sought to sow divisions in the revolutionary camp by insisting that the Supreme Court appoint National Assembly president Diosdado Cabello as interim president.
Presidential loser Henrique Capriles declared inconsequentially: "There is no monarchy here and we aren't in Cuba."
The usual international media "experts" and "observers" have cast aspersions on the independence of the Supreme Court, as they do with the National Assembly, referring to it often as a Chavez rubber stamp.
What these jaundiced remarks betray is an inability to accept that their side is no longer in the driving seat. The electorate votes consistently for revolutionary change and nominations to fill vacancies on the Supreme Court reflect that reality, just as the complexion of the US Congress affects the US Supreme Court.
Most galling for Venezuela's gilded elite, which used to influence public opinion through its monopoly grip on the capitalist media, is that the private TV channels were obliged to beam the rally live, including the leaders' speeches.
The opposition reacted as badly to its defeat as it usually does.
United Democratic Roundtable (MUD) legislator Maria Corina Machado called the Supreme Court decision "a well-directed coup against the Venezuelan constitution," adding that events were being "directed from Cuba and by Cubans."
Despite its best efforts to manufacture a crisis, the opposition's friends in Washington and Brussels weren't tempted to involve themselves directly.
European Union foreign policy high representative Catherine Ashton praised Venezuela's commitment to democracy, adding that "it is important that the constitution is respected and interpreted correctly and that an orderly form of government is preserved."
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said: "This is a decision that has to be made by Venezuelans for Venezuelans."
History has harsh lessons for those prepared to take similar assertions at face value, which underlines the importance of the Bolivarian mobilisation in response to the revolutionary leader's absence.
Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, a former Tupamaro guerilla, struck an appropriate note in telling his audience: "There's a man who's fighting a battle for his life, who is in all of your hearts, but, if he isn't here tomorrow - unity, peace and work, dear friends."
In response, Maduro delivered a fighting speech, warning of opposition manipulation to weaken the revolution.
"Yet however they come after us, we always beat them. Here we are ready to continue with this revolution," he said.
"Make no mistake, here the people have demonstrated their strength."
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