Venezuela election race starts, opposition at disadvantage

VenezueVenezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro addresses the crowd of supporters lining up to pay their last respects to late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images
VenezueVenezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro addresses the crowd of supporters lining up to pay their last respects to late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Credit: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

Venezuela’s charged election race kicked off on Sunday with throngs attending mass at the coffin of deceased leader Hugo Chavez and vowing to back his preferred successor, Nicolas Maduro, over likely opposition contender Henrique Capriles.

The pair have until Monday to register their candidacies for the April 14 vote, which will determine whether Chavez’s self-styled nationalist-socialist revolution will live on in the OPEC nation, home to the world’s largest proven oil reserves.

Chavez died on Tuesday at age 58 after a two-year battle with cancer.

Former vice president Maduro, 50, a hulking one-time bus driver and union leader turned politician who echoes Chavez’s anti-imperialist rhetoric, is seen winning the election comfortably, according to two recent polls.

Maduro pushed a snap election to cash in on a wave of empathy triggered by Chavez’s death, and was sworn in as acting president on Friday to the fury of Capriles.

The boyish 40-year-old Miranda state governor, who often wears a baseball cap and tennis shoes, lost to Chavez in October. But he won 44 percent of the vote – the strongest showing ever by the opposition against Chavez.

Capriles has accused the government and Supreme Court of fraud for letting Maduro campaign without stepping down.

Although the ruling Socialist Party is favored to win, opposition supporters are trying to raise their spirits for a month of campaigning.

“There’s no reason to think that the opposition is condemned to defeat,” Teodoro Petkoff, an anti-government newspaper editor, said on his Sunday morning talk show.

Maduro has vowed to carry on where Chavez left off.

His first official meeting on Saturday was with officials from China, who Chavez courted to provide an alternative to investment that traditionally came from the United States.

He has adopted his mentor’s touch for the theatrical, accusing imperialists, often a Chavez euphemism for the United States, of killing the charismatic but divisive leader by infecting him with cancer.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.