Chavez opponent cited for being gay, Jewish

Wow. You think we've got dirty, ultra personal politics, here's the tack being taken by Chavez loyalists in Venezuela against the recently nominated opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.


The most furious accusations have come from state media commentator Mario Silva, who often targets Chavez's foes on his late night TV show, "The Razorblade."

Silva insulted opposition leaders and then read out a purported police document reporting Capriles was caught in a car having sex with another man in 2000.

Capriles denied the allegation and said the document was falsified. Police have not commented.

Another state radio commentator, Adal Hernandez, wrote a vitriolic profile of Capriles, highlighting his Jewish family background and titled: "The Enemy is Zionism." Capriles, a practicing Catholic, has not responded to the profile.

One cartoon, retweeted on Wednesday by a senior Chavez aide, showed Capriles in pink shorts with a Swastika on his arm, squaring up to a much larger, muscular Chavez. He often talks emotionally of his grandparents' escape from Nazi repression.

Capriles comes from a wealthy family but pointedly spends more time in a T-shirt in shantytowns than in his office, and he is seeking to project himself as above the mud-slinging.

"I wasn't elected to fight with anyone but to solve problems," said Capriles, who won nearly two-thirds of the 3 million votes cast in Sunday's primary. "The only confrontation I want is against violence, unemployment, corruption and other problems in Venezuela."

Nasty stuff. I question Mr. Capriles' strategy of remaining above the fray. He is bringing the proverbial knife to a gun fight and will be overmatched unless he starts responding - perhaps not so personally, but there are ways to cut down Chavez without being nasty.

Otherwise, Chavez will have his surrogates making the voters believe just about anything about the candidate by the time of the election in October.