After a long struggle with cancer and facing a tough battle for
reelection, President Hugo Chavez prays with
supporters at a
rally in Zulia State, Sept. 30. The election is Oct. 8.
Reelection Fight, Hugo Chavez Plays 'Obama Card' (La VozMundo, Venezuela)
"I hope this
doesn't damage Mr. Obama. But if I were from the United States, I would vote
for him. ... Obama is a good man. I think that if he were from Barlovento or some Caracas neighborhood, he would cast his vote
In different ways and in a tense atmosphere after shooting deaths
of three opposition activists, Venezuela President Hugo Chavez and his challenger,
Governor Henrique Capriles began their last week of
campaigning today for the election to be held next Sunday.
Chavez appeared in a TV program hosted by his former vice
president, Jose Vicente Rangel, where Chavez urged Venezuelans to make no
mistake, "what is at stake is the life of the nation." And later, at
a campaign event on the east coast of Lake Maracaibo, in Zulia State, Chavez offered
an unexpected nod to his counterpart in the United States, Barack Obama.
During the program, Chavez said in the U.S. presidential
election, he supports Obama. And Chavez said that if Obama lived in Venezuela, he
would "undoubtedly" vote for him.
"I hope this doesn't damage Mr. Obama. But if I were
from the United States, I would vote for him," Chavez said.
"Obama is a good man. I think that if he were from Barlovento or some Caracas neighborhood, he would cast his vote
For his part, Capriles, at a
packed rally in downtown Caracas, called on Venezuelans to "make a balance
sheet" of the nearly 14 year-reign of the Chavez Government, and promised "a
week from now" to start the "building a Venezuela of progress."
"I ask you: do you really want your fatherland, your
sons and your daughters, your grandchildren and your grandchildren, to belong to
us," the president asked, and saying, "Then vote for Chavez, because
Chavez is not only me; we all are. Vote for the fatherland, don't make a mistake."
"We must win, because what is at stake is the life
of the country. Yes, let us not fall into a [complacent] triumphalism. We must
win with a comfortable majority of votes, because that is the most powerful
antidote to the destabilizing plan walking over there," he said in the televised
interview, which lasted an hour and a half.
The president criticized opposition groups that, in his
opinion, "have had to disguise themselves by claiming to be on the left"
to win votes, and he wondered aloud, "who is it that has helped the ruling
bourgeois in favor of the majority?" the state news agency AVN him.
Capriles' criticism, and his
eventual victory, "suits the owners of large private enterprises - the big
bourgeoisie" Chavez explained. "But the upper middle class should
vote for Chavez, because we guarantee familial tranquility."
Later, he described himself as "a loving rebel, a positive
rebel," because, he said he is building a "new constitutional order,
a new political order, a new social order, a new economic order."
Meanwhile, Capriles asked on a
crowd overflowing Bolivar Avenue in Caracus to, "make
its balance sheet," because "they know that things aren't going well,"
and he said that "on October 8 (the day after the election) there will be
no defeated people in Venezuela" because, there is no room for division"
and that, "the losers will be a violent group. "