Capriles — the grandson of Jews who survived the World War Two Holocaust in Poland — defines himself as a center-left “progressive” who admires Brazil’s “modern left” model of free-market economics with a strong social conscience.
The attacks against him foreshadow a tough election battle in the polarized South American OPEC member nation, where Chavez has strong support among the poor and denounces opponents as representatives of a discredited, super-rich elite.
The most furious accusations have come from state media commentator Mario Silva, who often targets Chavez’s foes on his late night TV show, “The Razorblade.”
‘The Enemy is Zionism’
Silva insulted opposition leaders and then read out a purported police document reporting Capriles was caught in a car having sex with another man in 2000.
Capriles denied the allegation and said the document was falsified. Police have not commented.
Another state radio commentator, Adal Hernandez, wrote a vitriolic profile of Capriles, highlighting his Jewish family background and titled: “The Enemy is Zionism.” Capriles, a practicing Catholic, has not responded to the profile.
One cartoon, retweeted on Wednesday by a senior Chavez aide, showed Capriles in pink shorts with a Swastika on his arm, squaring up to a much larger, muscular Chavez. He often talks emotionally of his grandparents’ escape from Nazi repression.
Factbox: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
Capriles comes from a wealthy family but pointedly spends more time in a T-shirt in shantytowns than in his office, and he is seeking to project himself as above the mud-slinging.
“I wasn’t elected to fight with anyone but to solve problems,” said Capriles, who won nearly two-thirds of the 3 million votes cast in Sunday’s primary. “The only confrontation I want is against violence, unemployment, corruption and other problems in Venezuela.”
What has Chavez worried is that the opposition is united.
Chavismo’s Attack On Capriles And The Opposition Begins With Force has a capture of the page where the anti-Semitic article was posted, and a translation.