Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles
Photo: AP
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Photo: EPA

Jewish descendent to run against Chavez in elections

Venezuelan Opposition Leader Henrique Capriles, grandson of Polish fugitives from Nazi persecution, faces daunting task to end Chavez's 13 year rule

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles, an offspring of Polish fugitives from Nazi persecution, easily won a primary election on Sunday to become the unity candidate against President Hugo Chavez, vowing to end 13 years of socialist rule that he said has left the OPEC nation in crisis.


Despite being a grandson of Jewish Holocaust survivors, Capriles does not identify himself as a Jew but rather as a Catholic man.


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Part of a new guard of young opposition leaders, Capriles has cast himself as a fresh face in a country dominated by Chavez's militant leftism and constant confrontation.


חזית אחידה של האופוזיציה על הבמה (צילום: רויטרס)

Venezuelan opposition triumphs (Photo: Reuters)


Capriles' candidacy had a firm start as unexpectedly high participation of nearly 3 million people in the primary vote signaled the opposition can mobilize supporters ahead of the October 7 presidential election.


The 39-year-old, center-left state governor's bid was further bolstered by a show of unity among other candidates from the opposition, which for years suffered from internal disputes that ultimately benefited Chavez.


עצרת הניצחון בוונצואלה, הלילה (צילום: AP)

Victory rally in Venezuela (Photo: AP)


Yet with Chavez riding high in polls, still popular among the poor and spending massively on welfare projects, Capriles will need to go beyond the vague promises and feel-good factor of his primary campaign if he is to unseat the president.


"This is about the unity of all Venezuelans that want progress," Capriles told thousands of cheering supporters gathered outside his campaign headquarters on Sunday night.


His strong showing, winning 62% of the primary vote, will likely lift Venezuelan bonds, which react well to any news suggesting a change from Chavez's state-centered economic model.


Capriles has promised to address the day-to-day concerns of Venezuelans such as high crime, unemployment and constantly rising prices, and spend less time on ideological crusades.


He has indicated he will steer Venezuela's international alliances away from Chavez's faraway, ideologically motivated friendships with Iran, Belarus, Syria and other anti-US governments.




פרסום ראשון: 02.13.12, 10:17
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