Venezuelans Elect Hugo Chavez Successor Amid Hope and Dread

Henrique Capriles, Leader With Jewish Roots, Vies for Post

Day of Destiny: Opposition leader Henrique Capriles prepares for presidential election in Venezuela.
getty images
Day of Destiny: Opposition leader Henrique Capriles prepares for presidential election in Venezuela.

By Reuters

Published April 14, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

Chavez’s fourth presidential election win in October saw record turnout of 80 percent. This time, though, both sides worry that participation could be lower because of election fatigue.

Many Venezuelans could be forgiven for feeling like they are stuck in a never-ending campaign. Opposition primaries early last year were followed by the ailing president’s dramatic re-election, and then a vote to choose state governors in December.

Maduro has cloaked himself in the imagery of Chavez and calls himself the late president’s “son.” At events around the nation, supporters chanted “With Chavez and Maduro, the people are safe!” and “Chavez, I swear to you, I’ll vote for Maduro!”

At every rally, Maduro played a video of Chavez naming him as successor in December - “my firm opinion, clear like the full moon, irreversible” - in his final speech to Venezuelans.

POST-CHAVEZ CHALLENGES

If Maduro wins, he will immediately face big challenges as he tries to stamp his authority on a disparate ruling coalition while lacking his predecessor’s charisma, or the healthy state finances that Chavez enjoyed in last year’s race.

It is hard to forecast how he might do things his own way. Like many senior officials, Maduro was passionately loyal to Chavez and never expressed a different opinion in public.

Supporters say he could use his background as a union negotiator-turned-diplomat to build bridges, perhaps even with the United States after tensions during Chavez’s 14-year rule.

But there has been little sign of his softer side on the campaign trail. Maduro’s rhetoric has veered from outraged - alleging opposition plots to kill him using mercenaries - to light-hearted, such as poking fun at his often-cited tale of how he was visited by Chavez’s spirit in the form of a bird.


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!
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • 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.