Henrique Capriles, Venezuelan With Jewish Roots, Must Make Up Ground in Vote

Opposition Leader Running Uphill Against Chavez Legacy

Running Behind: Henrique Capriles is running hard in the race to succeed the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. He still has some ground to make up.
getty images
Running Behind: Henrique Capriles is running hard in the race to succeed the late Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. He still has some ground to make up.

By Reuters

Published April 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

After beating Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles in last year’s presidential election, Hugo Chavez telephoned him and courteously quipped: “You made me get out and work hard!”

Now in his second campaign for the OPEC nation’s top job, the tireless Capriles has again pushed himself to the limit to ensure his new rival and election favorite, Chavez’s protege Nicolas Maduro, does not have an easy path to victory.

“I’m shedding my skin for Venezuela,” Capriles, 40, roared this week at the final rallies of a passionate campaign where he has re-energized opposition backers still upset about his loss against the socialist Chavez last October.

“My body and bones may be hurting, but my heart is bursting with emotion - this isn’t euphoria, it’s hysteria for change!” he said at a rally in eastern Venezuela during an almost manic criss-crossing of the country in search of votes.

After beating Capriles in October for his fourth presidential election victory, the cancer-stricken Chavez’s health deteriorated quickly and he died on March 5.

He had named Maduro as his chosen heir before undergoing his last cancer operation in December, and a surge of emotion over his death has given Maduro a huge boost ahead of the election on Sunday.

Fighting to counter that, Capriles has drawn huge crowds, lost weight, gone hoarse and swapped last year’s cautious respect for Chavez with gleefully irreverent attacks on Maduro.

Lambasting him daily as a “liar,” “incompetent” and member of a “corrupt” elite, Capriles has mocked the acting president for calling an ancient curse on the heads of opposition voters and claiming Chavez had appeared to him in the form of a bird.

From wearing the red colors of the ruling Socialist Party or logo of the state oil company, to saying his little finger had more revolutionary fiber than Maduro’s whole body, Capriles’ new aggression has delighted supporters.

Yet all local polls still show him behind, albeit with a gap shrinking to below 10 points in some weekly surveys.


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!
  • "If Netanyahu re-opens the settlement floodgates, he will recklessly bolster the argument of Hamas that the only language Israel understands is violence."
  • Would an ultra-Orthodox leader do a better job of running the Met Council?
  • So, who won the war — Israel or Hamas?
  • 300 Holocaust survivors spoke out against Israel. Did they play right into Hitler's hands?
  • Ari Folman's new movie 'The Congress' is a brilliant spectacle, an exhilarating visual extravaganza and a slapdash thought experiment. It's also unlike anything Forward critic Ezra Glinter has ever seen. http://jd.fo/d4unE
  • The eggplant is beloved in Israel. So why do Americans keep giving it a bad rap? With this new recipe, Vered Guttman sets out to defend the honor of her favorite vegetable.
  • “KlezKamp has always been a crazy quilt of gay and straight, religious and nonreligious, Jewish and gentile.” Why is the klezmer festival shutting down now?
  • “You can plagiarize the Bible, can’t you?” Jill Sobule says when asked how she went about writing the lyrics for a new 'Yentl' adaptation. “A couple of the songs I completely stole." Share this with the theater-lovers in your life!
  • Will Americans who served in the Israeli army during the Gaza operation face war crimes charges when they get back home?
  • Talk about a fashion faux pas. What was Zara thinking with the concentration camp look?
  • “The Black community was resistant to the Jewish community coming into the neighborhood — at first.” Watch this video about how a group of gardeners is rebuilding trust between African-Americans and Jews in Detroit.
  • "I am a Jewish woman married to a non-Jewish man who was raised Catholic, but now considers himself a “common-law Jew.” We are raising our two young children as Jews. My husband's parents are still semi-practicing Catholics. When we go over to either of their homes, they bow their heads, often hold hands, and say grace before meals. This is an especially awkward time for me, as I'm uncomfortable participating in a non-Jewish religious ritual, but don't want his family to think I'm ungrateful. It's becoming especially vexing to me now that my oldest son is 7. What's the best way to handle this situation?" http://jd.fo/b4ucX What would you do?
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • 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.