CARACAS, Thursday May 05, 2011 | Update
Capriles Radonski joins four candidates for primaries

"A new stage has started" in Venezuela, Miranda state governor said

The opposition leader with stamina gets ready for the competition (File photo)
Thursday May 05, 2011  09:52 AM

On your marks, get set, ready, go! The presidential race as far as the opposition is concerned is gaining strength as more competitors are joining it.

Central Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles Radonski took on Tuesday, May 3, "one step forward" in his own words. "I expect to be the president of all Venezuelans!" Capriles Radonski said at the Tuy Valleys, where he led a ceremony for the delivery of certificates for the construction of housing units to 800 people.

"Rather than being the president of a grouping, I expect to become the president of all Venezuelans; of whoever has a dream; whoever is positive of the possibility of moving forward and making progress; whoever thinks that this is the best land, Bolívar's homeland," the state governor said.

"I am not using the colors of a party," the leader of opposition Primero Justicia (PJ) party clarified. "I would like Venezuela to be like my cap: yellow, blue and red. Such is the Venezuela dreamed of by most Venezuelans," he added.

According to Capriles Radonski, the country is edging closer to the end of a "cycle." At this moment, "there is no room for fear. The only thing to be afraid of is backwardness, instead of advancing and making progress," he admonished.

"A new era is commencing for all Venezuela, to bring in hope, peace; to carry a message of progress for all our people in every last nook and cranny."

Throughout his speech, the PJ leader was adamant that his proposal is far from demeaning any faction. "I hope that all of us can build on a Venezuela for everyone alike," stubbornly repeated the former speaker of the defunct Chamber of Deputies and ex mayor of Baruta municipality.

Setting their sights on February
After coming to terms and sorting out the date of primaries, February 12, 2012, and waiting for the rules on the internal campaign and the establishment of the electoral committee of the Unified Democratic Panel (MUD), the roll of opposition candidates is getting thicker.

Before Capriles Radonski formally voiced his intention of running for president on behalf of the opposition in 2012, the list already included his counterpart in Táchira state, César Pérez Vivas; Caracas Metropolitan Mayor Antonio Ledezma and former Zulia state governor Oswaldo Álvarez Paz.

However, the list is not all-inclusive yet. There is much uncertainty about Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT), the opposition political party that got most votes last September 26 in the parliament election.

UNT has not shown its card for the primaries. As Manuel Rosales, its founder and former candidate for president, is exiled in Peru, current Zulia state governor Pablo Pérez has emerged as a choice to be borne in mind. But Rosales has expressed his willingness to come back and take part in the contest for the presidency.

Nor has Acción Democrática party cleared the issue. They have talked about the potential establishment of a social democratic bloc comprising UNT and Ledezma's Alianza Bravo Pueblo for one single candidate for this ideological current.

A ban from running for public office would take Leopoldo López, the leader of Voluntad Popular, out of the game.

Central Carabobo state governor Henrique Fernando Salas Feo has not dismissed the idea of being a candidate; whereas Eduardo Fernández, the candidate for opposition Copei party in 1988, seems to play "she loves me, she loves me not." However, the race cannot wait for a final decision. It started already.

Translated by Conchita Delgado

A foretaste of homegrown jihad

Three Venezuelans and five Trinidadians will stand trial on January 26 under the suspicion of being involved in alleged Muslim terrorist activities in Venezuela.  After nine months in prison, the defendants will appear in court to face charges of terrorism brought against them by the Attorney General Office.

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