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Son of Shoah survivors to challenge Chavez

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(JTA) — Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, will challenge President Hugo Chavez in upcoming elections.

Capriles, 39, governor of the Miranda state, won a primary Sunday with 61 percent of the vote to become the unity candidate against Chavez, who has been in office for 13 years. Some 3 million voters participated in the country’s first-ever primary ahead of the Oct. 7 election.

Though Capriles’ maternal grandmother is Jewish, he was raised Catholic and he describes himself as a fervent Catholic.

“Because of my mother and grandmother, for Jews I’m Jewish, but I’m Catholic,” Capriles told JTA last year in an interview.

Capriles 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.”

Related story: Rival to Chavez, demonized for his Jewish roots, is opposition’s new hope in Venezuela

 

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