CARACAS, Venezuela (JTA) — The governor of Venezuela’s Miranda state, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, said he will challenge President Hugo Chavez next year.
Henrique Capriles Radonski, 38, said he wants to be “president of all Venezuela.” The state of Miranda includes part of Caracas, the capital.
Capriles said he will seek the endorsement of what has been a divided opposition. In an effort to field a unified candidate, the opposition has scheduled a primary for February.
Capriles is not Jewish, but nonetheless has been the target of anti-Semitic attacks. In 2009, pro-government supporters dressed in red surrounded the Governor’s House and painted swastikas on the yellow outer walls. During the governor’s race in 2008, government-aligned media described Capriles as a member of the “Jewish-Zionist bourgeoisie” and “genetically fascist.”
“Capriles Radonski is not a member of the community, he was raised a Catholic,” said a member of the Jewish community. “His grandparents are Shoah survivors and he has very good relations with the kehillah.”
Polls in recent months show the popular governor leading the pack of other potential opposition candidates.