News / Americas

Chavez Spirit Lives On in Venezuelan Election Campaign

Late President Chavez's Spirit Lives On in Venezuelan Election Campaigni
X
April 11, 2013 8:26 PM
Although President Hugo Chavez died of cancer earlier this year, he is still at the center of the Venezuelan presidential election campaign. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Caracas, the former president's image is everywhere, his successor Nicolas Maduro refers to himself as Chavez's son and supporters are being urged to vote once more to protect his legacy.
Brian Padden
Although President Hugo Chavez died of cancer earlier this year, he is still at the center of the Venezuelan presidential election campaign.  The former president's image is everywhere, his successor Nicolas Maduro refers to himself as Chavez's son and supporters are being urged to vote once more to protect his legacy.

An eternal flame marks the entrance of the National Pantheon, where the late President Hugo Chavez's body has been laid to rest.  Every day, hundreds of his most loyal supporters, like Milagros Rodriguez, come to pay their last respects.

“Chavez is my heart and my life. I identify with him, and he will always be in all of us.  We are Chavez and Chavez is everyone who has an awareness of a free Venezuela and real socialism,” said Rodriguez.

A government building in Caracas displays a poster with an image of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Apr. 11, 2013.A government building in Caracas displays a poster with an image of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Apr. 11, 2013.
x
A government building in Caracas displays a poster with an image of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Apr. 11, 2013.
A government building in Caracas displays a poster with an image of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Apr. 11, 2013.
While President Chavez is gone, his image is still everywhere in Caracas - from wall paintings to old campaign posters to a small memorial in a poor neighborhood of the city.

And in the presidential election, Chavez's memory and popularity are key components of the campaign.

Former Vice President Nicolas Maduro regularly invokes the late president and once said Chavez’s spirit came to him as a tiny bird while he was on the campaign trail.

Campaign advertisements also show Chavez looking down on his chosen successor from heaven.

For many of the late president's supporters, this election is not about Maduro or his opponent Henrique Capriles or even about high inflation or rampant crime in the country.

As high school student Willmaira Flores says, it is about defending President Chavez's legacy.

“Chavez wasn't just a person. He was a movement and the students understood that. We know what we've been through, what our parents have been through, and now we are here with all the benefits we must defend,” said Flores.

Political science professor Gabriel Reyes, at Andres Bello Catholic University, in Caracas, says it was a strategic decision early on by the Maduro Campaign to make the election about the spirit of Chavez.

“It is a message that has been planned, and they are trying to take the motive why they should vote for him out of the earthly context," he said. "Because if the reason were rational or earthly it would be really difficult for them to win.”

And so far it seems to be working.  President Maduro holds a significant lead over Capriles in the polls leading into Sunday's election.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Mexico Launches Special Police Force to Guard Economic Activity

New 5,000-member force will be part of federal police, and it will focus on protecting agriculture, mining, and oil and gas production against criminal groups
More

Colombia Army, Rebels Meet Face-to-Face at Peace Talks

Sit-down in Havana, Cuba, is first time in 50-year conflict that active-duty officers, FARC members have talked peace together
More

Peru's Congress Fails to Ratify Humala's New Cabinet

Key conservative allies withheld their votes, failure underscores president's waning political power as economy slows
More

US Judge Calls Argentina Debt-Swap Plan 'Illegal'

But, Judge Thomas Griesa stopped short of holding country in contempt, saying that would not help resolve dispute that led to nation's second default in a dozen years
More

Brazil Presidential Race Gets One More Candidate

Environmentalist Marina Silva to join contest for Socialist Party candidate; vote to be held October 5
More

Guatemalan General Killed in Copter Crash Near Mexico Border

General Rudy Ortiz was among five people killed; cause under investigation; weather said to have been possible factor
More