Surging opposition threatens Venezuela’s Chavez By Valeria Pacheco (AFP) – 7 hours ago CARACAS —
Hundreds of thousands of backers of opposition candidate Henrique Capriles have thronged the streets in Venezuela’s capital, echoing his rising threat to President Hugo Chavez’s re-election. “I want to thank you all. Because I think this is the biggest rally Caracas has ever seen,” glowed Capriles to the massive crowd as he wrapped up his campaign not far from the presidential palace Supporters roared: “You see it; you feel it: President Capriles!” “Look at that mass of people; Chavez is screwed now,” one young man shouted. “Why does he think he can be president for his whole life anyway?”
The telegenic former governor of Miranda state has compared himself to David fighting Goliath. And he hopes he can emulate the Bible story of the boy who felled the mighty giant before becoming king of Israel. “I ask you, the Venezuelan people, to judge: who is part of the process of change. And who was sickened by power, clung to it and deceived the Venezuelan people?” an emotional Capriles shouted Sunday.
Chavez meanwhile tried to play down the deaths of two Capriles supporters in Barinas on Saturday. “I urge all of you, Venezuelans, not to bring violence into the campaign. It should be done vote by vote, with ideas, and in peace,” Chavez stressed. After breezing through past elections, Chavez entered the last week of campaigning against a rival who has gained ground in opinion polls.
The leftist leader, in power for almost 14 years, is vying for a fourth term in office that would extend his presidency by another six years, but Capriles wants a major upset on October 7. Chavez, who used the country’s oil wealth to reduce poverty, [……Yeah, abolutely no bias here.… ] brushed aside his last rival in 2006 by taking almost 63 percent of the vote.