News / Americas

Venezuela's Capriles Vows to End Cuba Giveaways

Venezuela's opposition leader and presidential candidate Henrique Capriles (C) speaks during a meeting with students in Maracaibo, March 18, 2013.
Venezuela's opposition leader and presidential candidate Henrique Capriles (C) speaks during a meeting with students in Maracaibo, March 18, 2013.
Reuters
Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles on Monday vowed to end the OPEC nation's shipments of subsidized oil to communist-run Cuba, slamming acting President Nicolas Maduro as a puppet of Havana.

Capriles has berated Maduro as a weak imitation of the late Hugo Chavez, whose death two weeks ago convulsed the country and triggered the April 14 vote. The opposition also accuses the government of failing to fight crime and control inflation.

"The giveaways to other countries are going to end. Not another drop of oil will go toward financing the government of the Castros," Capriles said, referring to Cuba's present and past leaders, Raul and Fidel Castro.

"Nicolas is the candidate of Raul Castro; I'm the candidate of the Venezuelan people," Capriles said during a speech to university students in the oil-rich state of Zulia.

The election marks the first test of the "Chavismo" movement's ability to maintain the late leader's radical socialism after his death, and it will be crucial for regional allies that depend on Caracas for financing and cheap fuel.

A victory for Capriles, 40, would likely give global oil companies greater access to the world's largest crude reserves and offer investors more market-friendly policies after years of state-centered economics.

Venezuela's acting President Nicolas Maduro (L) speaks during an interview in Caracas, March 16, 2013, in this handout photo provided by the Miraflores Palace.Venezuela's acting President Nicolas Maduro (L) speaks during an interview in Caracas, March 16, 2013, in this handout photo provided by the Miraflores Palace.
x
Venezuela's acting President Nicolas Maduro (L) speaks during an interview in Caracas, March 16, 2013, in this handout photo provided by the Miraflores Palace.
Venezuela's acting President Nicolas Maduro (L) speaks during an interview in Caracas, March 16, 2013, in this handout photo provided by the Miraflores Palace.
Maduro, a 50-year-old former bus driver seen as having the advantage in the vote, has vowed to continue Chavez's economic model that included frequent nationalizations and heavy regulation of private enterprise alongside generous social welfare programs that underpinned his popularity.

The youthful Capriles, who lost to Chavez by 11 percentage points in 2012, faces a delicate balancing act to highlight the flaws of Chavez's governance without appearing to be attacking the former president or seeking to tarnish his legacy.

Henrique Capriles
 
  • 40 years old
  • Lost 2012 presidential election to Hugo Chavez
  • Governor of Venezuela's second-most populous state, Miranda
  • Jailed in 2002 for fomenting a protest near the Cuban Embassy, later acquitted
  • Was Venezuela's youngest legislator
  • Lawyer by training
  • Descendant of immigrants from Europe
He has exchanged furious barbs with Maduro since launching his candidacy and renewed his criticisms from last year's campaign over day-to-day problems such as unchecked crime, product shortages and high cost of living.

"Every day it's harder to find food, and every day food is more expensive," Capriles said. "This model is not viable."

He said halting cheap oil sales to Cuba would free up resources to boost public employee salaries by 40 percent to make up for inflation that is one of the region's highest.

Vicious Campaign

Ties to Cuba are likely to remain a central part of the campaign. Capriles for months accused authorities of compromising the country's sovereignty by letting Chavez govern for two months from a Havana hospital.

Venezuela provides close to 100,000 barrels per day of oil to Cuba in exchange for a host of services including doctors that staff free health clinics in slums and rural areas.

Supporters say it has helped expand access to health care, while critics call it a mere subsidy to the Castro government.

Maduro's frequent visits to the island during Chavez's two-month convalescence there led opposition leaders to joke that he had picked up a Cuban accent.

Thousands of people follow the funeral parade of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, March 15, 2013.Thousands of people follow the funeral parade of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, March 15, 2013.
x
Thousands of people follow the funeral parade of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, March 15, 2013.
Thousands of people follow the funeral parade of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, March 15, 2013.
The emotional outpouring of affection for Chavez following his March 5 death, along with ample use of government television broadcasts, has helped give Maduro a leg up in the race.

Millions of bereaved supporters have lined up before Chavez's remains to pay respects to a leader who was loved by many of the country's poor but reviled by adversaries who called him a fledgling dictator.

Maduro Lead

Two recent opinion polls showed Capriles trailing Maduro.

Nicolas Maduro

  • Venezuelan vice president, Hugo Chavez's chosen successor
  • Former foreign minister
  • Was a member of assembly that drafted a new constitution after Chavez's 1998 election
  • Campaigned for Mr. Chavez's release from prison in the 1990s
  • 50 years old, former bus driver
Respected local pollster Datanalisis gave Maduro 46.4 percent versus 34.3 percent for Capriles in a survey carried out before Chavez's death.

He enraged Maduro by accusing him of repeatedly lying about the late president's two-year battle with cancer, and of then cynically using his death as a campaign tool. He later apologized to Chavez's family if his words had offended them.

Maduro last week described a plot by "far right" U.S. elements linked to two senior former members of the George W. Bush administration to kill Capriles.

Both officials denied the charges.

You May Like

Islamic State Survivor: A Yazidi Girl's Tale

Sarah Said Haydar, captured a year ago while fleeing Islamic State onslaught in northern Iraq, was so traumatized by militants, she sought to end her own life More

EU, US Applaud Kosovo Law on Special Court

Joint statement says lawmakers' decision to address allegations of war crimes 'demonstrated their commitment to the rule of law and to honor international agreements' More

ASEAN Ministers to Push for S. China Sea Agreements

According to documents obtained by VOA Khmer, ministers will stand up for 'freedom of navigation, unimpeded lawful maritime commerce, trade and over flight' More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Walter Teague, III from: Maryland
March 19, 2013 9:28 PM
A real journalist would research just what would change if Capriles did cut off the cheap oil to Cuba in return for thousands of health care workers, also much less expensive than the too scare local professionals. The "critics call it a mere subsidy to the Castro government."? I doubt these critics need to avail themselves of free or cheap local clinics. So why should they care if poorer Venezuelans lost out. Capriles argues a 40% increase to some workers. Sounds like phony math and once again, disinterest or even dislike of the "poor," whether they are Venezuelan or Cuban.

by: Davi from: Brasil
March 19, 2013 8:15 AM

If Nicolas Maduro is a puppet of Havana,
then Capriles is a puppet of D.C.

by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
March 18, 2013 9:26 PM
Capriles needs to stick to the bread and butter issues, like bettering the life of all Venezuelans, improving Universities and schools to make sure that Venezuelans do not have to end up in Cuba for any complex medical treament. And why did not Maduro send Chavez to Europe for treatment? like to Germany or Britain, instead of Cuba; Cuba is a country with very good basic medicine, but very old medical procedures and techniques for complex illneses, compared to Europe and even the USA . Cuba laggs behind technologically very significantly, and notwithstanding their hard working doctors, they just do not have the resources to carry out medical frontier procedures and cure/help very ill patients. Who is the beneficiary of Chavez's death- MADURO.
I am suspicious, Maduro sending Chavez to Cuba was a death sentence for Chavez, in my opinion, because Cuba is not in very good economic shape, thus can't afford the best that modern medicine has to offer. Maduro at best is not very knowledgeable, at worst he did not really care about Chavez's survival; in either case he will not ensure that Venezuelan's get the most out of their dwindling natural resouce outputs. Venezuela needs an educated, visionary technocrat, or Venezuela, notwithstanding its oil, will continue its steadly declining economic situation; people have less and less. Both Capriles and the people need to wake up!

by: Nick from: USA
March 18, 2013 7:25 PM
The Associated Press look like help the promotion for the communist in Venezuela. All the ad show first for then.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Tradei
X
Robert Carmichael
August 04, 2015 3:07 PM
Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Cambodia Makes Progress Curbing Bear Trade

Cambodia’s wild bears are under unprecedented pressure. Their native forests are being cut down at record rates, and China's huge demand for traditional medicine has made them targets. But experts say Cambodia's conservation efforts are setting an example that has put it well ahead of its neighbors in protecting bears. Robert Carmichael reports for VOA from Phnom Penh.
Video

Video Growing Number of E. Jerusalem Palestinians Seek Israeli Citizenship

Most Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have long rejected the option of full Israeli citizenship, seeing it as a betrayal to their political cause - the formation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. But as that dream remains elusive, more and more Palestinians are applying for Israeli citizenship. Zlatica Hoke reports the decision is hard for many Palestinians who say they have to be pragmatic about it.
Video

Video With No Money, More Students, African Universities Struggle

Academics from around the African continent converged in Johannesburg last week for the African Universities Summit, a chance to tackle some of the major issues facing higher education in Africa today. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Iraqi Yazidis Fear Death of Their Community

A year ago on August 3, Islamic State militants stormed the homelands of Iraq’s Yazidi minority, killing hundreds of men and enslaving thousands of women. The scenes of desperate Yazidi families crowding on the top of Sinjar mountain without food or water spurred Kurdish fighters into action, an emergency airlift and the start of the U.S. airstrike campaign against the Islamic State Sunni extremists. VOA's Sharon Benh reports from northern Iraq.
Video

Video Bangkok Warned It Soon Could Be Submerged

Italy's Venice and America's New Orleans are not the only cities gradually submerging. The nearly ten million residents of the Bangkok urban area now must confront warnings the city could become uninhabitable in a few decades. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from the Thai capital.
Video

Video Inclusive Gym Gets People With Disabilities in Fitness Spirit

Individuals with special needs are 58 percent more likely to be obese than the general population. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they also have an increased likelihood of anxiety, depression and social isolation. But a sports club outside Washington wants to make a difference in these people's lives. With Carol Pearson narrating, VOA's June Soh reports.
Video

Video Wisconsin's Voter ID Law Still Mired In Controversy

Voter ID laws have sparked controversy across the US. More than 30 states enacted laws requiring citizens to show identification before they vote. Against fierce opposition, the state of Wisconsin recently enacted one the most restrictive voter ID laws in country. As Jeff Swicord reports, no one can predict its impact as the 2016 election nears.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Hailed as Highly Effective

At last, there's a way to end the suffering from the Ebola epidemic that has ravaged West Africa for more than a year. Researchers say the vaccine is so effective, there may never be a major outbreak of Ebola again. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Special Olympics Show Competitors' Skill, Determination

Special Olympics competitions will wrap up Saturday in Los Angeles, and the closing ceremony for athletes with intellectual disabilities will be held Sunday night. In a week of competition, athletes have shown what they can do through skill and determination. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Shooter’s Grill: Serving Food with a Touch of the Second Amendment

Shooter's Grill, a restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, attracts visitors from all over the world as well as local patrons. The reason? Waitresses openly carry loaded firearms as they serve food, and customers are welcome to carry them, too. VOA's Enming Liu and Lin Yang paid a visit to Shooter's Grill, and heard different opinions about this unique establishment.
Video

Video Despite Controversy, Business Owner Continues Sale of Confederate Flags

At Cooter’s, a store in rural Sperryville, Virginia, about 120 kilometers west of Washington, D.C., Confederate flags are flying off the shelves. The red, white and blue battle flag, with 13 white stars representing the Confederate states, was carried by southern forces during the U.S. Civil War in the 1860s. The South had seceded from the Union over several key issues of disagreement, including slavery. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

US Asks Venezuela to Scrap Ban on Opposition Candidates

State Department criticism comes as US, Venezuela have opened cautious rapprochement in past few months to try to improve relations after more than a decade of acrimony
More

Helicopter Crash Kills 16 Police Officers in Colombia

US-made UH-60 Black Hawk crashes while taking part in counternarcotics operation in department of Antioquia
More

Venezuela Ruling Party Games Twitter for Political Gain

President Nicolas Maduro's approval ratings may be languishing below 30 percent, but on Twitter he's as popular as Pope Francis - or so it would seem
More

Venezuela Prevents Opposition Leader From Running

Election officials reject Maria Corina Machado's attempt to register as a candidate Monday for upcoming congressional elections
More

Mexico City Mayor Vows Full Probe of Journalist Slaying

Journalist groups had expressed fears authorities would not consider Ruben Espinosa's murder as being related to his work, even though colleagues say he fled state he covered fearing for his safety
More

Puerto Rico Defaults on $58M Debt Payment

Payment was due Saturday, default is first in country's 117 years as a United States possession
More