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The five people trying to unseat Hugo Chavez

February 12, 2012 |  4:30 am


Venezuelans go to the polls Sunday to decide who will try to unseat Hugo Chavez, the flamboyant leftist who has led the country for 13 years. Five people are competing to take on Chavez. Who are they?

Henrique Capriles -- A Miranda state governor who has promised to help both business and the poor. He praises the policies of former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. He recently criticized a lack of transparency in how Venezuela is using $30 billion in Chinese loans.

Pablo Perez -- A Zulia state governor who argues that he alone can guarantee an orderly transition if Chavez loses. Perez is backed by two established political parties, which could help or hurt him. Three years ago, he and other governors joined Capriles in complaining that Chavez had hijacked resources.

Maria Corina Machado -- A congresswoman seen as the boldest opponent of Chavez. She accuses pro-government gangs of harassing her and endorses "popular capitalism" over socialism. When she won her seat two years ago, Machado said voters had rejected "Cuban-style communism."

Diego Arria -- A former United Nations official who asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Chavez for crimes against humanity, claiming he had evidence of assassinations and torture.

Pablo Medina -- A former Chavez supporter who broke with the president over concerns that changes to the constitution gave him too much power. A year and a half ago, he argued on television that Chavez should be investigated for treason.

Chavez has said he doesn't care which one of them wins on Sunday, arguing that whoever wins will be "the candidate of imperialism," the Associated Press reported.


Chavez losing natural constituency

Mexican ambassador and wife briefly kidnapped in Venezuela

Chavez holds parade to commemorate 1992 overthrow attempt

-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: Venezuelan presidential candidate Henrique Capriles greets supporters in Merida on Friday. Credit: Guillermo Suarez / European Pressphoto Agency