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Hugo Chavez elected to third term in Venezuela

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
October 8th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has been re-elected to another six-year term. Wining 54 percent of the vote, Chavez says that he will continue the socialist revolution in his oil-wealthy South American nation.

LOS ANGELES, CA  (Catholic Online) - His recent election victory could extend Chavez' rule to 20 years. Thousands of supporters lined the streets around the presidential palace in downtown Caracas. His youthful opponent, Henrique Capriles lost the election by more than 9 percentage points.

It must be noted that Chavez only got 135,000 more votes in the recent election than he did six years ago. The opposition boosted its tally by 1.85 million.

Capriles also narrowed Chavez's margin of victory to his smallest yet in a presidential contest. A state governor, Capriles had accused the incumbent of unfairly leveraging Venezuela's oil wealth, in addition to his near total control of state institutions.

The forthcoming term will let Chavez consolidate his control over Venezuela's economy by extending a wave of nationalizations and continue his support for left-wing allies in Latin America. The election victory has also guaranteed that Chavez will remain a dominant figure in modern Latin American history.

"Truthfully, this has been the perfect battle, a democratic battle," Chavez said of his victory, waving a replica of the sword of independence hero Simon Bolivar. "Venezuela will continue along the path of democratic and Bolivarian socialism of the 21st century."

It was a dramatic comeback for a leader who just a few short months ago feared for his life as he recovered from cancer. Since June of last year, Chavez has had surgery to remove tumors from his pelvic region in addition to chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Recent medical tests, he says, has shown no recurrence of cancer.

According to Venezuela's constitution, if Chavez were to die within the first four years of his term, then his vice president, Elías Jaua, would serve as president only until a special election is held.

If the Venezuelan president dies within the last two years of his term, the vice president serves as president until the end of the term.

Chavez has poured billions of dollars in oil revenues into anti-poverty programs and has used his humble roots and folksy oratory to build a close connection with the masses.

A retired lieutenant colonel who first gained attention with a failed 1992 coup, Chavez has become Latin America's principal anti-U.S. agitator. He has criticized Washington while currying favor with U.S. adversaries including Cuba and Iran.

Chavez may launch nationalizations in some largely untouched corners of the economy, including the banking, food and health industries. He took advantage of his landslide win in 2006 to order takeovers in the telecoms, electricity and oil sectors.

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