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Capriles massive rally in Caracas but still trailing Maduro will less than a week

Monday, April 8th 2013 - 04:51 UTC
Full article 22 comments
The opposition candidate in the wine-coloured vest of the country’s national football team The opposition candidate in the wine-coloured vest of the country’s national football team
Maduro, the burly former bus driver plays music and warns of the Maracapana curse  Maduro, the burly former bus driver plays music and warns of the Maracapana curse

With less than a week for 14 April, hundreds of thousands of supporters on Sunday crammed Caracas' streets in what Venezuelan opposition presidential hopeful Henrique Capriles, trailing in the polls, called a fast-changing tide.

“Today, we are winning this contest,” Capriles, the 40-year-old governor of Miranda state, told masses of faithful, despite polls showing him as many as 20 points behind acting President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro, 50, is a burly former bus driver and ex vice president who was the anointed successor of late president Hugo Chavez before his death from cancer last month.

Opposition leaders say Maduro has used sympathy for Chavez and the late president's state political machinery to bolster his campaign. But Capriles, a telegenic distance runner whose female fans have endearingly nicknamed “Skinny,” was not ready to give up based on polls.

And in fact, his mass support on the capital's streets had him professing confidence that victory, was within reach.

“Just three short weeks ago, they were saying that this was impossible,” Capriles said, urging supporters: “Give me your vote of confidence, because I want for this country -- which wants change -- to be able to achieve it.”
Capriles, in a wine-coloured shirt the colour of the national football squad's, spoke after masses of his backers thronged the rally from eight separate points around the capital.

He took aim at the Venezuelan government's close relationship with the Castro brothers’ regime in Cuba, resented by many Venezuelans for the vast resources, billions of dollars a year, bestowed on Cuba, and fired.

“You can go ahead and win elections in Havana. I am going to win the elections here in Venezuela,” Capriles said jabbing at Maduro.

Reaching out to supporters of the late president Chavez, Capriles also urged them to cross over to his side. “Vote for me,” he said. ”Nicolas (Maduro) is not Chavez; I am not the opposition,“ Capriles insisted. ”I am the solution.“

On Thursday Maduro accused the opposition of plotting to sabotage the national power grid to cause a blackout ahead of the election.

He repeated the claim on Saturday, adding that he was aware that one of the leaders of Capriles' Justice First party had met with an employee of the US Embassy in Caracas to discuss plans for ”a general blackout“ in the state of Bolivar, where most of Venezuela's electrical power is generated.

Maduro also put a curse on citizens who do not vote for him in next week's election, likening Capriles to Spanish conquerors fighting indigenous people in the 16th Century.

A centuries-old curse, said Maduro would fall on those who did not vote for him.

Wearing a local indigenous hat at a rally in Amazonas state, a largely jungle territory on the borders of Brazil and Colombia, Maduro said: ”If anyone among the people votes against Nicolas Maduro, he is voting against himself, and the curse of Maracapana is falling on him.“

He was referring to a 16th Century battle when Spanish colonial fighters defeated indigenous fighters decisively.

”If the bourgeoisie win, they are going to privatise health and education, they are going to take land from the Indians, the curse of Maracapana would come on you,” the candidate underlined.

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  • GeoffWard2

    If I had to vote in a bus driver able to lay curses of the dead on the electorate and see spirits of the dead in birds, I would be very afraid or think him very stupid.

    We shall see if the voting populace of Venezuela turns out to be very afraid and stupid, or sane and sensible.
    Or perhaps they know enough of the man to be both very afraid and sensible.
    If the latter, we will see the continuance of this dictatorship, but if they overcome their fear we may yet have a proper election on our hands.

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 10:38 am 0
  • Mendoza Canadian

    Wake up Venezuela...this might be your last chance for real freedom for a very long time.

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 10:47 am 0
  • Anglotino

    I'm laughing so hard! A curse?

    Anyway, I can't believe Capriles has been causing all these blackouts in Venezuela for months now and Maduro hasn't done anything about it.

    Being so burly (fat?) he hasn't had time to run the country since he...... started running the country.

    Anyway I hope no one tells Maduro to wear gloves when he is handed the stick after winning....... we all know what's on that end of the stick.

    Apr 08th, 2013 - 11:11 am 0
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