Henrique Capriles, Venezuela's 'Rock Star' With Jewish Roots, Fights Uphill Campaign

Opposition Runs 'Against a Ghost' After Hugo Chavez Death

Henrique Capriles makes campaign speech. He’s drawing big crowds but polls say the annointed successor of strongman Hugo Chavez is ahead in the Venezuelan presidential race.
getty images
Henrique Capriles makes campaign speech. He’s drawing big crowds but polls say the annointed successor of strongman Hugo Chavez is ahead in the Venezuelan presidential race.

By Reuters

Published March 26, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 3 of 4)

One of his taunts - “Nicolas, don’t get dressed up, you’re not going anywhere!” - is a popular chant at opposition rallies.

Maduro, who calls himself an “apostle” of Chavez and names his mentor at every turn during his own events, has tried to turn the scorn back on Capriles.

“For every 10 words, he names me nine times. He’s obsessed,” Maduro told a crowd in western Zulia state. He joked that his rival wakes up thinking about him and urged supporters to learn a new song called the “Nicolas dance” that lampoons Capriles.

HOW TO “BEAT A GHOST”?

Beyond the rhetoric, Capriles is trying to present a radically different vision of government to the Chavez-style socialism that Maduro vows to continue.

A centrist politician who admires Brazil’s model of free-market economics with strong welfare policies, Capriles vows to end social polarization and economic nationalizations while keeping the best of Chavez’s anti-poverty projects.

He wants to stop preferential alliances with Venezuela’s most controversial foreign friends of the Chavez era - Iran, Belarus, Syria and Cuba for example - in favor of improving ties with Latin American neighbors and “democratic” nations.

In Maturin, Capriles was preceded on stage by various local residents who presented complaints that ranged from lack of toilet paper in the shops to unfair distribution of oil revenue.

As well as attacking Maduro, that is the opposition’s second main campaign offensive: presenting themselves as the only force with the will to tackle Venezuelans’ myriad daily problems.

“What’s the point of having the biggest oil reserves in the world if people still live in homes with mud floors,” Capriles told locals in Maturin, where many work in the oil industry.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • "A few decades ago, it would have been easy to add Jews to that list of disempowered victims. I could throw in Leo Frank, the victim of mob justice; or otherwise privileged Jewish men denied entrance to elite universities. These days, however, we have to search a lot harder." Are you worried about what's going in on #Ferguson?
  • Will you accept the challenge?
  • In the six years since Dothan launched its relocation program, 8 families have made the jump — but will they stay? We went there to find out:
  • "Jewish Israelis and West Bank Palestinians are witnessing — and living — two very different wars." Naomi Zeveloff's first on-the-ground dispatch from Israel:
  • This deserves a whistle: Lauren Bacall's stylish wardrobe is getting its own museum exhibit at Fashion Institute of Technology.
  • How do you make people laugh when they're fighting on the front lines or ducking bombs?
  • "Hamas and others have dredged up passages form the Quran that demonize Jews horribly. Some imams rail about international Jewish conspiracies. But they’d have a much smaller audience for their ravings if Israel could find a way to lower the flames in the conflict." Do you agree with J.J. Goldberg?
  • How did Tariq Abu Khdeir go from fun-loving Palestinian-American teen to international icon in just a few short weeks? http://jd.fo/d4kkV
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.