News / Americas

Capriles Mocks 'Skin-Deep' Revolutionaries Ahead of Venezuela Vote

Venezuela's opposition leader and presidential candidate Henrique Capriles (C) greets supporters during a campaign rally in Caracas Apr. 1, 2013.
Venezuela's opposition leader and presidential candidate Henrique Capriles (C) greets supporters during a campaign rally in Caracas Apr. 1, 2013.
Reuters
— Venezuela's opposition presidential candidate tore into government leaders on Wednesday as false revolutionaries lining their pockets while professing faith to the late Hugo Chavez's radical socialism.
 
Trailing in opinion polls ahead of the April 14 vote, Henrique Capriles is attacking acting President Nicolas Maduro and other senior officials as a corrupt and incompetent coterie unable to solve Venezuelans' basic problems.
 
“They talk of socialism, but it's on the surface only. Look how those well-connected ones live, what they wear, what cars they go round in, how many bodyguards they have,” Capriles said.
 
“They are skin-deep socialists only. Their behavior, I'd say, is savage capitalism. They love traveling. During Easter, they were all off to La Orchila,” he added, referring to a military-run island in the Caribbean off Venezuela.
 
The 40-year-old state governor is trying to persuade voters that rival candidate Maduro is a far cry from Chavez, who died of cancer a month ago.
 
But passions are still running high over Chavez's death, Maduro is presenting himself as the president's “son” and “apostle” and “Chavista” supporters are largely expected to obey their beloved leader's dying wish to support Maduro.
 
Nevertheless, Capriles' attack on Wednesday went to the heart of a common complaint from rank-and-file "Chavistas" that senior officials are out of touch with the people's problems, and too concerned with feathering their own nests.
 
“My fight is against the corrupt ones,” Capriles added, in an unusual meeting with leftists who support him.
 
Class Politics
 
Perpetuating the class rhetoric common during Chavez's 14-year rule, Maduro and his supporters attack Capriles daily as a "little bourgeois" who is a puppet of Venezuela's wealthy elite and their friends in the United States.
 
Maduro, 50, is a former bus driver who rose to become Chavez's vice president, while Capriles, 40, comes from a wealthy family with extensive business interests.
 
The opposition candidate, who has governed populous Miranda state since 2008, said his record on building schools and anti-poverty measures spoke for itself.
 
“One ruling party leader said to me, 'Capriles, a single finger of yours is more revolutionary than the whole body of the candidate they have imposed on us,’” said Capriles, referring to a recent visit to the coastal town of Punto Fijo. “Our people should open their eyes and wake up ... What we have is bad leaders who have no idea how to resolve problems.”
 
Opinion polls give Maduro a formidable lead of between 11 and 20 percentage points over Capriles, but some analysts think the gap could narrow before election day.
 
On the campaign trail, Maduro has lacked the charisma of his former boss, but he has covered himself in Chavez symbols and images. Most of his rallies begin with a recording of Chavez singing the national anthem.
 
On Tuesday, sitting in the garden of the humble rural home where Chavez grew up, Maduro even said Chavez had appeared to him in the form of a little bird that flew above his head and sang to him while he was praying in a chapel.

“I felt his spirit, like a blessing, saying 'the battle starts today, onward to victory, you have my blessing,’” he said.
 
He repeated the story on Wednesday during a rally in the western Andean state of Tachira, condemning the mockery from opposition supporters that his tale had provoked. “God forgive them their bad ways and hatred,” he said.
 
As well as working-class credentials that play well with loyal “Chavistas” and the late president's personal blessing, Maduro has a well-financed state apparatus behind him.
 
He also has the goodwill of millions who have benefited from Chavez's oil-funded welfare programs, or “missions”.
 
Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves.
 
Capriles, who calls himself a “progressive” and has mainly center-left views and policy proposals, wants to follow Brazil's model of free markets with strong social welfare protection.
 
“They will never return!” Maduro thundered to the crowd in Tachira on Wednesday. “This victory will be for Chavez!”

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surge

Inaccurate claims suggest US will give amnesty to young migrants
More

US Disappointed in Netherlands' Release of Drug Trafficking Suspect

State Department spokesman says legitimate request made for Hugo Carvajal’s arrest under extradition treaty between US, Netherlands and Aruba
More

UN Panel Meets on Global Aging

HelpAge presents nearly 300,000 signatures calling for UN Treaty
More

Video Clock Ticking for Congress to Act on US Border Crisis

This week is lawmakers’ last chance before recess to respond to surge of undocumented children arriving at America’s southern frontier
More

US Considers Screening Youth in Honduras for Refugee Status

Officials say children could be interviewed before they make dangerous journey to US border, as tens of thousands of children from Central America have done already this year
More

Video President Asks Central American Leaders to Help Stop Migrants

Obama tells presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras it isn't lack of compassion, but obligation to obey immigration laws that is prompting US to turn back many migrants
More