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Venezuelans Set to Vote for New President

  • VOA News

Venezuela's interim President Nicolas Maduro attends a ceremony marking the Day of the National Revolutionary Militia, also called Bolivarian militias, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Apr. 13, 2013.

Venezuela's interim President Nicolas Maduro attends a ceremony marking the Day of the National Revolutionary Militia, also called Bolivarian militias, in Caracas, Venezuela, Saturday, Apr. 13, 2013.

Venezuelans choose a new president Sunday in a special election to find a successor to the late Hugo Chavez.

The campaign has been unusually bitter, full of personal insults and strong language from both candidates.

Acting President Nicolas Maduro goes into the election after seeing his double-digit lead in the polls shrink considerably. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles accused him and the Chavez government of doing little to solve Venezuela's economic problems, food shortages, and soaring crime rate.

Maduro says he will continue what he calls the Chavez revolution, which supporters say used oil wealth to lift millions out of poverty.

Hugo Chavez died last month after a two year long battle with cancer.

Chavez was a staunch socialist who was first elected president in 1998. He earned the enmity of the United States and others for such policies as nationalizing major companies and courting world leaders such as Fidel Castro, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi. The opposition accused him of becoming a dictator, but he was revered by many of Venezuela's poor.
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