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Another Venezuelan Opposition Leader Withdraws Support, Claiming Capriles is a “Photocopy” of Chavez

Caracas, September 30th 2012 ( –  Aldo Cermeno, ex-governor of Falcon state and ex national secretary of one of the largest opposition parties, Copei, said on Friday that he will now support president Hugo Chavez and that opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles is “tricking the Venezuelan people” .

Cermeno, speaking at a press conference in Caracas, said, “Capriles uses double speak... I think his campaign is deceitful towards the Venezuelan people”.

Cermeno said that there is “tremendous” discontent and confrontations within the opposition around the country over the fact that Capriles’ party, First Justice (PJ) is excluding others from its presidential campaign, and “putting the interests of its party above those of the country”.

Capriles was chosen as a candidate for the umbrella grouping of opposition parties, the MUD, in February this year, in primary elections that many, including members of the opposition, claimed were forged.

“In the face of this...situation... I have made a decision... from my position as a democratic Christian, I’m going to go with the candidature of President Hugo Chavez, because he has sufficient willingness, sense, and magnanimity for the country,” Cemeno said.

He added later that, “I’m convinced there’s no going back, my figures say that President Hugo Chavez will win [the 7 October elections]”.

Cermeno also claimed that, based on a conversation he had with Capriles in Paraguana, Falcon, the discourse that Capriles has been using in public is “false”, and his message is a copy of president Hugo Chavez’s one.

While publically Capriles has claimed he would maintain the social missions were he to be elected, and while has used left wing discourse of justice and equality, a document revealed by other opposition members showed that his real government plan is a neoliberal one that would involve opening up of the economy to more private investment, and the reduction of state funding for public services and communal council projects.

“Between the photocopy and the original the people will vote for the original, and the original is Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias,” Cermeno said.

“He who hopes to run a country, without recognising his own personal history, is using a mistaken strategy,” Cermano added.

Cermeno was a member of Copei for 49 years, and was expelled from the party after his comments on Friday. Copei, in an official statement, clarified that Cermeno’s comments were his individual opinion and not representative of the Copei party and blamed Cermeno’s declarations on the national government’s “ distract and confuse Venezuela, as a result of [the national government’s] desperation, as they are losing”. Poll companies, both private and public, are giving Chavez a double figure lead over Capriles.

Apart from Cermeno, recently three other opposition leaders; Hermann Escarra, David De Lima, and William Ojeda have also publically criticised Capriles and the difference between his discourse and his real government plan. Capriles also had to fire a top campaign aide in mid-September after a video showed him accepting a large bribe, and four small parties withdrew their support for Capriles around the same time.

Published on Sep 30th 2012 at 4.42pm