Venezuelan presidential candidate optimistic about his chances

Rick Moran
Henrique Capriles, the charismatic state governor with the celebrity wife is drawing huge crowds in the final week of campaigning against the rule of Hugo Chavez. Capriles candidacy has united the opposition to Chavez for the first time in more than a decade and in a fair election, might possibly even defeat the dictator.

But it is unlikely Chavez will allow that to happen. The Telegraph's Philip Sherwell details why:

On his first day in office, he said, he would halt the "gifts" of free or heavily-subsidised oil to Mr Chavez's left-wing ideological allies in Cuba and Nicaragua. Nor would there be any more discount deals to sympathetic Western leaders such as Ken Livingstone, a Chavez admirer who as London mayor negotiated cheap oil from Caracas for the capital's buses.

The cosy relationship with Iran would end, Mr Capriles added, and he would also review the land expropriations conducted under Mr Chavez's agrarian reform "fiasco" - including the seizure of estates from Britain's Vestey Group.

"We have so many problems here in Venezuela, but Chavez's priority is to create his own world revolution," he said.

"His land reform programme has been a disaster and he sends billions of dollars of oil abroad each year, but there are hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who have problems putting food on the table.

"For Chavez, that is not important. What matters to him is building what he calls his 21st century socialism."

Capriles is set to undo Chavez's legacy and it is doubtful he will let that happen. Chavez has the entire electoral machinery in his control and is experienced in stealing as many votes as he needs to win.

Still, Capriles is hopeful:

And against what once seemed like imposing odds, is he confident? "I have never lost an election yet," he told The Sunday Telegraph. "I am a winner. Let's just say that."

We'll find out next Sunday.


Henrique Capriles, the charismatic state governor with the celebrity wife is drawing huge crowds in the final week of campaigning against the rule of Hugo Chavez. Capriles candidacy has united the opposition to Chavez for the first time in more than a decade and in a fair election, might possibly even defeat the dictator.

But it is unlikely Chavez will allow that to happen. The Telegraph's Philip Sherwell details why:

On his first day in office, he said, he would halt the "gifts" of free or heavily-subsidised oil to Mr Chavez's left-wing ideological allies in Cuba and Nicaragua. Nor would there be any more discount deals to sympathetic Western leaders such as Ken Livingstone, a Chavez admirer who as London mayor negotiated cheap oil from Caracas for the capital's buses.

The cosy relationship with Iran would end, Mr Capriles added, and he would also review the land expropriations conducted under Mr Chavez's agrarian reform "fiasco" - including the seizure of estates from Britain's Vestey Group.

"We have so many problems here in Venezuela, but Chavez's priority is to create his own world revolution," he said.

"His land reform programme has been a disaster and he sends billions of dollars of oil abroad each year, but there are hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who have problems putting food on the table.

"For Chavez, that is not important. What matters to him is building what he calls his 21st century socialism."

Capriles is set to undo Chavez's legacy and it is doubtful he will let that happen. Chavez has the entire electoral machinery in his control and is experienced in stealing as many votes as he needs to win.

Still, Capriles is hopeful:

And against what once seemed like imposing odds, is he confident? "I have never lost an election yet," he told The Sunday Telegraph. "I am a winner. Let's just say that."

We'll find out next Sunday.