Venezuela Votes in Chavez's Toughest Test
Henrique Capriles could topple enigmatic president
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 7, 2012 7:30 AM CDT
Members of the Bolivarian militia, a militia created by President Hugo Chavez estimated to number more than 100,000 who do not report to the armed forces, stand at a checkpoint in the 23 de Enero neighborhood...   (Rodrigo Abd)

(Newser) – Just try sleeping in on Election Day in Hugo Chavez's Venezuela: Trucks blared reveille to awaken voters today as Chavez's crusade to transform Venezuela into a socialist state was put to the stiffest electoral test of his nearly 14 years in power. Later, folk music poured from loudspeakers, mixed with a recording of Chavez's voice saying "those who love the homeland come with me." Chavez's challenger, 40-year-old Henrique Capriles, united the opposition for what has become a contest between two camps that distrust each other so deeply there are concerns whether a close election result will be respected.

The stakes couldn't be higher. If Chavez wins a new six-year term, he gets a free hand to push for an even bigger state role in the economy, further limit dissent, and continue to befriend rivals of the United States. If Capriles wins, a radical foreign policy shift can be expected along with an eventual loosening of state economic controls and an increase in private investment.

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Showing 3 of 10 comments
Oct 7, 2012 4:55 PM CDT
He will use any means possible to stay in control of that oil. He's not going anywhere.
Oct 7, 2012 3:23 PM CDT
where are the other comments?
Oct 7, 2012 10:57 AM CDT
What an idiotic idea!!..Venezuela controlled by a Venezuelan!!??...preposterous!!..LOL...Hugo is out of touch. He is old fashioned. Nowdays all developing nations are "Democratized". Owned by the blood sucking leeches in the World Bank, British Petroleum, and of course the long arm of Uncle Sam. What on earth is Hugo thinking!!?? ..That Venezuela, it's infrastructure and it's natural resources belong to Venezuela and controlled by a Venezuelan?..Hey Hugo, just ask Muammar Gadaffi how THAT turned out for him...