Daily Israel Report
Show More

OpEds


Capriles Pledges To Do Away With Controversial Chavez Diplomacy

Venezuelan opposition candidate drew hundreds of thousands at rally, has outlined his foreing policy changes.
By Amiel Ungar
First Publish: 10/3/2012, 2:03 AM

Caracas Capriles Rallly
Caracas Capriles Rallly
Reuters

Win or lose, the Venezuelan opposition candidate Enrique Capriles Rodanski has mounted the biggest threat to the rule of Hugo Chavez outside of the latter's cancer condition.

The monster opposition rally in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas two days ago, that drew hundreds of thousands, has fed the hopes of the opposition that they are on the verge of an upset.

A sign of the opposition leader's growing confidence has been his recent forays into foreign policy.

Capriles has spoken beforehand about Hugo Chavez' global pretensions, but generally in a domestic context. He accused Hugo Chavez of squandering the country's resources on foreign grandstanding, when the money could have been better devoted to domestic needs.

As the campaign closes, Capriles has pledged to reverse some of Hugo Chavez' signature foreign policy initiatives.

He has told the Russian ambassador that under his administration, Venezuela would not be a major market for Russian arms sales.

He has criticized his country's demonstrative association which such pariah regimes as Iran and Belarus.

In a meeting with the president of Colombia, Capriles promised to and the country's two-faced policy to anti-government Colombian guerrillas. “A government led by us would accelerate the Colombia peace process. A progressive government in Venezuela will stop being a refuge for rebels, for armed groups.”

These attacks on Venezuelan foreign policy may have compelled Chavez to seek an opening to the United States,, a country that he has frequently derogatively referred to as the "Empire".

Chavez claimed that if he had the vote, he would vote for Barack Obama - and hoped that Obama reciprocated the same sympathies for him.

Another sign of Capriles' optimism is his announcement that he has already selected a vice president and a defense minister. The latter is reputed to be an active general.

The conduct of the Armed Forces will be a key in the event that Chavez will refuse to respect a Capriles victory. He could then dispatch his supporters into the streets, including paramilitary forces that are modeled after the Iranian Basij.