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

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Russia’s Prosecutor General to Review Legality of Baltics Independence

Move, announced Tuesday, has alarmed Baltic States and strained even further their increasingly tense ties with Moscow More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups 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.
Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Interneti
X
Mike O'Sullivan
June 30, 2015 8:20 PM
Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Syrians Flee IS Advance in Hasaka

The Syrian government said Monday it has taken back one of several districts in Hasaka overrun by Islamic State militants. But continued fighting elsewhere in the northern city has forced thousands of civilians from their homes. In this report narrated by Bill Rodgers, VOA Kurdish Service reporter Zana Omer describes the scene in Amouda, where some of the displaced are taking refuge.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video S. Korea Christians Protest Gay Rights Festival

The U.S. Supreme Court decision mandating marriage equality nationwide has energized gay rights supporters around the world. Gay rights remain a highly contentious issue in a key U.S. ally, South Korea, where police did a deft job Sunday of preventing potential clashes between Christian protesters and gay activists. Kurt Achin reports from Seoul.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.
Video

Video In Syrian Crisis, Social Media Offer Small Comforts

Za’atari, a makeshift city in Jordan, may be the only Syrian refugee camp to tweet its activities, in an effort to keep donors motivated as the war in Syria intensifies and the humanitarian crisis deepens. Inside the camp, families say mobile phone applications help hold together families that are physically torn apart. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Global Chatter Greets US-Cuba Announcement

Reactions range from move ‘incentivizing a police state’ and ‘caving to Castro’ on the one hand, to ‘necessary step’ and ‘new era of possibility’ on the other
More

Video Before Obama, a Long History of Attempted US-Cuba Detente

Despite more than half a century of official animosity, secretive attempts to broker something like this week's rapprochement have failed
More

Puerto Rico Power Company Forced to Sell Bonds Amid Crisis

Move to obtain capital, avoid defaulting on a $415 million debt payment due Wednesday with worsening economic crisis in US territory
More

US Urged to Keep Up Pressure on Cuba Rights

Communist government continues to hold dozens of political prisoners, tightly restricts freedom of expression, uses threats, intimidation to discourage critics, according to activist groups
More

US, Cuba Move to End Decades of Political Isolation

After years of slow political thaw, Presidents Barack Obama, Raul Castro take first steps toward ending decades of hostility, and last vestige of Cold War struggle
More

Presidential Candidates Weigh In on US Cuba Policy

Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton has been strong supporter of administration's decision to seek normalized relations with Cuba
More