Wednesday, March 20th 2013 - 07:46 UTC

Venezuelan presidential candidate Capriles pledges “not another drop of oil to Cuba”

Venezuelan opposition presidential candidate on Monday vowed to end the OPEC nation's shipments of subsidized oil to the Castro brothers regime in Cuba, slamming acting President as a puppet of Havana.

Polls show Capriles trailing acting president Maduro by a wide margin

Capriles has berated Nicolas 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 populism 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.

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

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, food 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% to make up for inflation that is one of the region's highest.

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 staffs 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.

The respected local pollster Datanalisis gave Maduro 46.4% versus 34.3% 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.
 

10 comments Feed

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1 Mendoza Canadian (#) Mar 20th, 2013 - 10:22 am Report abuse
About time....there is hope for the people of Venezuela...
2 Vuggevise (#) Mar 20th, 2013 - 10:39 am Report abuse
To be honest, it is a little like the Liberal Democrats in the UK always promising heaven and earth, in the full knowledge that they will never win an election and will therefore never have to live up to their manifesto commitments.

Capriles has no realistic chance of getting himself elected, so he can say anything he likes to grab the headlines.
3 Anglotino (#) Mar 20th, 2013 - 10:42 am Report abuse
Still torn!

Who gets the shitty end of the stick?

There is a lot of future economic pain to be had in Venezuela due to Chavez's ineptitude.

I'm sorta hoping that Maduro wins and the whole pack of cards falls on top of him. Probably will be the quickest way to de-chavismo Venezuela.
4 ChrisR (#) Mar 20th, 2013 - 11:16 am Report abuse
3 Anglotino

Exactly.
5 Ayayay (#) Mar 20th, 2013 - 05:32 pm Report abuse
Kinda dumb, gentle transitions are better transitions. Cubans are their medical force too.

Maduro winning (& he will win) means the shortages, the devals, everything will be taken as a sign that these policies are unsustainable, without an entertaining figure behind it.
6 Socialismo (#) Mar 20th, 2013 - 06:01 pm Report abuse
The only thing that looks as if it will COLLAPSE is the broken,hungry economies of UK and Western Europe.The Venezuelan economy will grow by 6 % this year.It grew by 5% last year........
7 Anglotino (#) Mar 20th, 2013 - 07:01 pm Report abuse
Yes Socialismo that is exactly what is happening!

PMSL at people who fall for propaganda.
8 GeoffWard2 (#) Mar 20th, 2013 - 08:22 pm Report abuse
Nicholas Maduro's special police force in Venezuela is largely Cuban.
The police have been told to shadow Capriles 24/7, in order 'to keep him safe'.
Capriles announces “No oil for Cuba!”
The 'protectors' might just fail to protect him from the 'lost bullet'.
Just a thought.
9 ChrisR (#) Mar 20th, 2013 - 09:23 pm Report abuse
8 GeoffWard2

I think that was always the intention of the bus driver so that he can say 'I told you the CIA killed him!'
10 Socialismo (#) Mar 20th, 2013 - 09:27 pm Report abuse
Capiles said no oil for Cuba?That's strange.Capriles and his CIA backed thugs do not own the oil,it is the VENEZUELAN people who will make it clear that he and his fascists will never rule Venezuela again

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