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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Video Dehydration Is Top Killer of Southern Arizona's Migrants

US Border Patrol's search and rescue unit launches 'blue blinking light of life program' - a series of poles strategically placed throughout desert that emit high-intensity blue light
More

United States Steps up Pressure on Guatemala over Labor Rights

Trade representative says Obama administration would push ahead with legal action under free trade agreement to make Guatemala meet international standards
More

Video US Attempts Crackdown on Trafficking Along Southern Border

Nogales, Arizona, notoriously known as 'tunnel city,' used by traffickers to smuggle humans, narcotics into US and Border Patrol responds with new technologies
More

Video Arizona Non-Profit Helps Keep Dehydrated Migrants Alive

The Sonoran Desert, a common crossing point for illegal immigrants, is one of North America's hottest places
More

Colombian National Pleads Guilty to Killing of US Drug Agent

Andres Garcia entered plea of guilty at district court in southeastern state of Virginia; will be sentenced in December
More

Attack on Colombian Police Kills 7

Defense ministry vows to 'maintain and intensify' operations against armed groups, drug traffickers following the attack
More