Hundreds of thousands of supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have gathered for his final rally, ahead of next Sunday’s vote. An outspoken critic of the US Bush administration, he told the crowd: “On December 3, we are going to defeat the most powerful empire on earth by knockout.”
Most opinion polls give the self-styled revolutionary a wide lead, meaning he looks poised for another term of office in Venezuela, which remains the fourth-largest exporter of oil to the United States. Doing his best to stop him is opposition candidate Manuel Rosales, who has also wound up his campaign. He used his closing rally to criticize the president for providing significant financial help abroad.
“The money that they give away to other countries, I will redistribute to the people of Venezuela so that they can work and study,” he said.
Undaunted by the opinion polls, Rosales predicts he will triumph, telling supporters: “The real surveys, not the ones that have been bought, show that within a few days Venezuela will have a new president.”