Venezuelans are heading to the polls in what is considered one of Latin America’s most important elections in years. After 14 years in power, the polarizing and controversial socialist President Hugo Chávez faces his toughest challenger yet — the center-right candidate Henrique Capriles. When Chávez came to power in 1999 he was the first a wave of left-wing Latin America leaders known as the “Pink Tide” to gain high political office in the region.
Along with Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa, Chávez has established a firm ideological base in the region based on a strong opposition to the United States, support for Cuba’s Fidel Castro, a nationalizing of many sectors of the economy and the pursuit of socialist policies under his so-called “Bolivarian Revolution.”
Chávez’s policies and social reforms have won him the adulation of many of Venezuela’s underprivileged, but he has become a pariah for the country’s business class and the U.S. government. Capriles has posited himself throughout the election season as a moderate voice a reason who will return democracy to Venezuela.
Full Article: Venezuelan Elections: The Stakes Are High | Fox News Latino.