Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez unloaded on the opposition Wednesday, accusing them of lacking proposals and resorting to mimicry of his administration to gin up their popularity ahead of October’s presidential race.
His comments, transmitted by the Ministry of Communications, come as government supporters and officials are ramping up their attacks on a newly revitalized opposition.
“What are your ideas bourgeoisie?” Chávez asked during a televised meeting of the National Assembly. “Be honest bourgeoisie! Don’t come out with stories now to camouflage your anti-nationalist, enemy-of-the-people, anti-Bolivarian message!”
The outburst comes after Henrique Capriles Radonski, the governor of Miranda state, swept an opposition primary on Sunday and became Chávez’s chief rival for the presidency.
Capriles, 39, saw his popularity surge as he vowed to bring Venezuelans back together and reduce ideological tensions. In Wednesday’s speech, Chávez said that former Dictator Juan Vicente Gómez also talked of unity.
The coalition of opposition forces said more than 3 million of Venezuela's 18 million registered voters cast a ballot in Sunday’s open primary. Officials have accused the opposition of exaggerating the figures. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court Tuesday said voter records must be handed over, but the coalition said it is going ahead with plans to destroy the documents to protect voters from government retaliation.
Chávez, 57, has been in power for 13-years and his mix of nationalism and programs for the poor have given him strong approval ratings.
Capriles has told Chávez supporters that they have nothing to fear from his presidency and that he would continue, and even expand, some government programs – as long as they are effective.
On Wednesday, Chávez accused the opposition of trying to piggyback on his ideas.
“Do you want to look like Chávez bourgeoisie? You should take advantage of Carnival and dress up like a little Chávez,” he said.
The comments come as state-run television has been stepping up attacks. The La Hojilla talk show, which runs on state television, claims it has police documents that show Capriles was caught int a homosexual act in 2000. The show has also led the charges that the coalition resorted to fraud to drum up voter figures.