News / Americas

Venezuela's Next President to Face Economic Challenges, Social Divide

Henrique Capriles, Venezuela's opposition leader and governor of Miranda state, addresses the media in Caracas March 10, 2013.
Henrique Capriles, Venezuela's opposition leader and governor of Miranda state, addresses the media in Caracas March 10, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Pamela Dockins
An intense political battle is under way in Venezuela as opposition leader Henrique Capriles gears up to challenge acting President Nicolas Maduro in the April 14 presidential election.  Analysts say the winner of the race will face daunting challenges in rebuilding the country following the March 5 death of longtime leader Hugo Chavez from cancer.

Supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles cheered after he told them he would fight for Venezuela, no matter the costs.

If elected, he could face a challenge in keeping that promise.

Council of the Americas Vice President Eric Farnsworth says President Chavez did not leave the country in good shape for a successor.

"President Chavez left Venezuela burdened with a huge amount of debt which is going to be difficult to service," said Farnsworth. "He left an economy that is highly dependent on one product, oil, and if that continues, that is going to be a problem.”

Ray Walser is a policy analyst for Latin America at the Heritage Foundation.  He tells VOA the opposition may seek a more balanced, representative democracy.  But, he says it will also have to work on eliminating "rhetoric."

"Just getting rid of all of the hate rhetoric that was so much a part of the Chavez movement. Chavez, 'if you are with me, you’re ok.  If you’re not with me, you are the lowest, vilest form of life there is.'  This is the polarizing rhetoric," said Walser.

Walser says regardless of who wins the election, the new government will have to deal with a deeply divided country.

"Basically you have a divide between those who are accepting an authoritarian model, which is basically a model of Chavismo, and those who would like to see the restoration of a democratic system, separation of powers," he said.

He says all stratas of society are represented on both sides of the divide.

Farnsworth says the late President Chavez did manage to tap into a "deep vein" of history, hope and aspiration that has run across Latin America for many years.

That could bode well for acting President Maduro.  He served as Chavez's vice president and was named as his provisional successor.

Opposition leader Capriles lost the last presidential election to Chavez.  Capriles called Maduro's inauguration as acting president a "constitutional fraud."

Both Walser and Farnsworth commented on VOA's Encounter program.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Summit to Protect Oceans Opens

Oceans called fundamental to life
More

Actress Lupita Nyong'o is People's 'Most Beautiful' Woman

Oscar winner, 31, lauded for role in '12 Years A Slave' says she 'never dreamed' she would be praised for her looks and land on cover of weekly magazine
More

Violent Protests Erupt Near Rio's Tourist Attractions

The rioting was sparked after word spread that the body of Douglas Rafael da Silva Pereira, a dancer on Brazil's Globo television network, had been discovered
More

Russia Expels Canadian Diplomat

Reports say first secretary's expulsion in Moscow is in retaliation for deportation of Russian military attache from Russian Embassy in Ottawa
More

Photogallery Fans Pay Tribute to Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Mexico City

Colombian Nobel laureate author died in Mexico on Thursday at age 87
More

Venezuelan Protesters Burn Leaders in Effigy

Hundreds take to streets of Caracas Easter Sunday demanding ‘resurrection of democracy; President Maduro’s image among those burnt
More