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Chavez rival questions if he's really socialist

Tuesday, September 11, 2012    

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CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The Venezuelan opposition's candidate in next month's presidential election is ridiculing President Hugo Chavez for claiming to pursue socialist policies that care for the poor.

Henrique Capriles says that nearly 14 years under the fiercely anti-capitalist Chavez have resulted in Venezuela having one of the world's highest murder rates, violence-plagued prisons and crumbling hospitals.

The opposition leader says, in his words, "if they're socialists, I'm Marxist-Leninist."

Capriles accuses Chavez of wasting Venezuela's oil wealth through fuel supply deals with allied nations that involve long-term, low-interest financing. Chavez disputes that characterisation.

Capriles made the remarks yesterday during a speech in which he laid out his plans if he wins the October 7 vote. Among those pledges, Capriles says he would work to reduce inflation and raise the minimum wage.

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