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

Australia-Cambodia Resettlement Agreement Raises Concerns

Agreement calls for Cambodia to accept refugees in return for $35 million in aid and reflects Australia’s harder line approach towards asylum seekers and refugees More

India Looks to Become Arms Supplier Instead of Buyer

US hopes India can become alternative to China for countries looking to buy weapons, but experts question growth potential of Indian arms industry More

Earth Day Concert, Rally Draws Thousands in Washington

President Obama also took up the issue Saturday in his weekly address, saying there 'no greater threat to our planet than climate change' 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.
Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?i
X
Steve Sandford
April 17, 2015 12:50 AM
Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Sierra Leone President Koroma Bemoans Ebola Impact on Economy

In an interview with VOA's Shaka Ssali on Wednesday, President Ernest Koroma said the outbreak undermined his government’s efforts to boost and restructure the economy after years of civil war.
Video

Video Protester Lands Gyrocopter on Capitol Lawn

A 61-year-old mailman from Florida landed a small aircraft on the Capitol lawn in Washington to bring attention to campaign finance reform and what he says is government corruption. Wednesday's incident was one in a string of security breaches on U.S. government property. Zlatica Hoke reports the gyrocopter landing violated a no-fly zone.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.
Video

Video Sidemen to Famous Blues Artists Record Their Own CD

Legendary blues singer BB King was briefly hospitalized last week and the 87-year-old “King of the Blues” may not be touring much anymore. But some of the musicians who have played with him and other blues legends have now released their own CD in an attempt to pass the torch to younger fans... and put their own talents out front as well. VOA’s Greg Flakus has followed this project over the past year and filed this report from Houston.
Video

Video Iran-Saudi Rivalry Is Stoking Conflict in Yemen

Iran has proposed a peace plan to end the conflict in Yemen, but the idea has received little support from regional rivals like Saudi Arabia. They accuse Tehran of backing the Houthi rebels, who have forced Yemen’s president to flee to Riyadh, and have taken over swaths of Yemen. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA, analysts say the conflict is being fueled by the Sunni-Shia rivalry between the two regional powers.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Better Lives Sought for Larimar Miners in Dominican Republic

Blue-green stone's existence on Caribbean island seen as both a boon and a curse for those looking for jobs in impoverished southwestern mountains
More

Antibiotic Resistance Found in Isolated Amazonian Tribe

Yanomami villagers in Venezuela offer rare chance to see what microbes likely shared our bodies before civilizations evolved
More

Brazil's Olympic Host Rio Has Phones Cut Due to Unpaid Bills

Brazilian telecoms firm Oi SA says it cut Internet and telephone lines after state government racked up debt of $55.7 million in unpaid bills
More

Pope Considering Cuba Stop During US Trip but No Decision

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit New York, Philadelphia and Washington in the last week of September
More

India and Canada Look Forward to Deeper Ties

Modi was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Canada in 42 years
More

Colombian Rebels Blame Government for War's Rising Death Toll

But FARC rebels declined to say whether they had broken their own ceasefire with recent attack that killed 11 government soldiers
More