by WorldTribune Staff, April 18, 2017
Henrique Capriles, the once-restrained opposition leader in Venezuela who accepted past defeats despite signs of fraud, has now turned to social media to get his message out.
In a flurry of messages sent out from his social media account over the last week, Capriles accused Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and his officials of being “corrupt narcos,” of “overthrowing democracy,” of promoting riots and encouraging looting, the Los Angeles Times reported on April 16.
Capriles claims Maduro is “abhorred” by Venezuelans for what he described as “paramilitary” assaults on peaceful protesters.
In a recent tweet, “he seemed to encourage police, the national guard and soldiers to mutiny and resist the government’s orders to restrain protesters,” the Times report said.
While he may be taking a page straight from the Trump playbook, Capriles won’t have the same opportunity to pull off a stunning election victory.
On April 7, the nation’s comptroller general disqualified Capriles from running for any public office until 2032, alleging, without offering proof, that he misused public funds as governor of Miranda state.
Last week, the U.S. State Department joined a host of domestic and international critics in condemning the disqualification of Capriles, “the most viable opposition challenger to Maduro … as a means of keeping him out of elections.”
The 44-year-old Capriles has launched two unsuccessful tries for president, losing first to Hugo Chavez in 2012, and then in a photo-finish loss to Maduro in the 2013 contest to be Chavez’s successor.
But, “given widespread discontent with the Maduro regime, Capriles stood a good chance in next year’s presidential election of beating Maduro or whoever the nominee might be of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, which was founded by Chavez and is now headed by Maduro, a former bus driver,” the Times report said.
Despite what analysts say are repeated attempts to silence him, Capriles continues to speak out.
In a column written for the Spanish newspaper El Pais, analyst Alfredo Maza said Capriles has “returned to the street and is using unheard of terms in his discourse.”
“He calls the regime a dictatorship. In moments of high emotion, he calls it a narco-dictatorship,” Maza wrote. “The intelligence of Capriles has been to wait for just the right moment to put himself in front of the opposition.”