Venezuela: Chavez’s rival gains ground in Venezuela election push | Reuters

The crowds are bigger, his speeches slicker, and Venezuela’s young opposition leader Henrique Capriles is on a roll in a final, frenzied push to end President Hugo Chavez’s socialist rule. With just 12 days left before the OPEC nation’s presidential election, the 40-year-old state governor is whipping up crowds like never before, creeping up in the polls and becoming increasingly aggressive in his attacks on Chavez’s policies. “We’ve never had a candidate like him,” gushed shopkeeper Andrea Gomez, 42, screaming at Capriles like a teenage girl at a pop concert as he went by, blowing kisses during an open-top cavalcade along the Caribbean coast north of Caracas. “It’s like Chavez in 1998, when he won the presidency. But Henrique has surpassed that. He is closer to the people.”

Venezuela: The Venezuelan Election Deserves Our Attention | Forbes

There is a crucial election about to take place in Venezuela. Basic issues of freedom and economic liberty are at stake for the Venezuelan people. And with Venezuela being both our largest oil provider and a chief anti-American aggressor with alliances in Iran, Syria and Russia amongst others, this election is not only critical for us but much more so than policymakers in DC have acknowledged or realized. Democratic challenger Henrique Capriles could surely change the direction of the Venezuela. He is poised to serve as a much-needed positive force in shaping Venezuela’s future as a cooperative member of the international community if he is elected on October 7th. The head of Venezuela’s oil workers union, the United Federation of Oil Workers, said just yesterday that his members are not even entertaining the idea of a Chavez defeat. “It is impossible for Capriles to win this year…We the working class will not allow it.”

Venezuela: Hugo Chavez Opposition Concerned About Forces Present on Election Day | Fox News

The campaign of Venezuelan presidential candidate Henrique Capriles said they are concerned about the presence of pro-Chavez groups like Colombian guerrillas who are known to operate at numerous polling sites and can intimidate voters. Campaign manager Leopoldo Lopez said they identified a total of 77 voting centers where they believe armed forces, Colombian guerrillas or paramilitary groups are present in the area. That’s out of a total of more than 13,800 voting centers nationwide. Lopez told reporters the opposition turned over the list to electoral officials and asked to meet with them as well as military officers who are in charge of security for the Oct. 7 presidential election.

Venezuela: Venezuela’s foreign policy decisive in presidential election | El Universal

Foreign diplomatic missions appointed to Venezuela are closely keeping track of the Venezuelan political process as the effects of the results of the upcoming Venezuelan presidential election will extend beyond the country’s borders. After 14 years in office and hoping to extend such period to 20 years, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez represents the continuity of his foreign policy, which aims at privileging those countries with common ideological interests or opposing US interests.

Venezuela: High stakes in Venezuelan election | The Guardian

In today’s Venezuela, to be a rightist is out of fashion. The streets of Caracas are lined with posters showing the face of the businessman and political leader Henrique Capriles, the opposition candidate for the presidency. In one picture he appears with a baseball cap featuring the colours of the country’s flag and an open smile, as if to advertise some toothpaste. Above it, a legend says: “Below and left.” “Below and left” is one of the possible places in the ballot card where voters can mark their choice, but it is something else too: the political space that Capriles seeks to fill to surmount his disadvantage against Hugo Chávez. Throughout the campaign, Capriles – a rightist businessman – has presented himself as a progressive man, a politician who tries to recover Chávez’s discourse from the opposite side of the street. Recently he has sought to reinforce this image by purporting to be a defender of the working class.

Venezuela: Voting drill in Venezuela | Al Jazeera

Sunday’s unusual “mock”elections are meant to test Venezuela’s newest innovation to its electronic voting system. Coming from a country where we still have to mark ballots by hand, fold them and then stuff then into cardboard boxes, this system is really quite state of the art. A machine now verifies a voter’s identification with his or her thumb print. It must be the same thumb print that appears on a person’s national identification card. After about 15 seconds, the machine gives the green light to go to the actual voting booth. There, you find a touch screen system to select the candidate of choice: President Hugo Chavez of the Unified Socialist Party of Venezuela, or his rival Enrique Capriles of the opposition United Coalition. Just touch your candidate’s photo and another screen asks you to select YES or NO. It is very fast, easy and designed to make multiple voting impossible.

Venezuela: Chavez has apparent money edge | KWES

Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles typically runs his presidential campaign by jogging through Venezuela’s small towns, reaching out to supporters with both hands and climbing aboard the back of a flatbed truck to speak to hundreds of people. By contrast, President Hugo Chavez brings large sound trucks, a production team and a fleet of buses that carry supporters and government employees to plazas to cheer him on by the thousands. A little more than a month ahead of Venezuela’s Oct. 7 election, Chavez enjoys clear advantages over his challenger in campaign funding and media access. While neither campaign has revealed how much it’s spending, Capriles says he is in a “David vs. Goliath” contest, facing a well-financed incumbent backed by an even richer government. “We’re fighting against two checkbooks. There’s no way to compete economically speaking,” said Rafael Guzman, who is in charge of finances for the opposition coalition. He accused the government of using money from the state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela SA, and a separate development fund, Fonden, to support Chavez’s campaign and bankroll projects aimed at boosting his support.

Venezuela: Thumbprint Scanners Intimidate Voters, Hugo Chavez Opponents Say | Fox News

Forget voter ID laws–Venezuela is using thumbprint readers at its ballot boxes. But with President Hugo Chavez facing his tightest re-election race yet, some of his opponents say the devices may scare away voters, adding to fears about the fairness of the vote scheduled for Oct. 7. The country’s electoral council has long used fingerprint scanners at the entrance to polling places to ensure voter identification. But this year, the readers will be hooked to the electronic voting machines themselves. Citizens must press down a thumb to activate the ballot system. Some say they fear that could let the government know how each person votes. “If the thumbprint makes the machine work, how do you know it doesn’t end up being recorded who you voted for?” asked Jacqueline Rivas, a 46-year-old housewife.

Venezuela: Chavez and Capriles set for election battle | BBC

Now it is official. Hugo Chavez and Henrique Capriles will contest Venezuela’s presidential election in October. In fact, the formal registration of the two candidates – Mr Capriles on Sunday and Mr Chavez by Monday’s deadline – merely confirms what had long been expected. But the registration removes any lingering, albeit tiny, doubt over whether President Chavez, beset by health problems, would be on the ballot. Although campaigning does not officially begin until 1 July, there have already been plenty of election-related events.

Venezuela: Election Official Says Venezuelan Courts Targeting Chavez Rivals | Nasdaq

An electoral official in Venezuela said Wednesday that criminal investigations against possible challengers to President Hugo Chavez’s re-election bid suggest “a strategy of the government to choose who will be his opponent in the presidential elections.”

Vicente Diaz, the lone director of the National Electoral Council who is sympathetic to the opposition, said a number of the leading candidates to run against Chavez have faced accusations that critics say are baseless and meant instead to dim their political prospects.

Venezuela: New Ballot Presented in Venezuela | Inside Costa Rica

The President of the National Electoral Council (CNE), Tibisay Lucena, presented a new ballot paper that will be used in the 2012 presidential and regional elections. According to Lucena, the new ballot is remarkable because of its size and voter-friendly features.

“It is very large and thus has more space for electronic voting machines, with voters required to press a button to chose their favourite candidate or party, after which a light will be turned on to ratify the process,” said Lucena, speaking on the Televen television program “Jose Vicente Hoy” on Sunday.