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Capriles Radonski

English: Henrique Capriles Radonski, during a ...
 
Henrique Capriles Radonski (Spanish pronunciation: [enˈrike kaˈpɾiles raˈðonski], born 11 July 1972) is a Venezuelan politician and lawyer. From 2000 until 2008, Capriles was the mayor of Baruta Municipality of Caracas. In November 2008, Capriles was elected Governor of Miranda state, defeating Diosdado Cabello. After winning the election primaries in February 2012, Capriles became the opposition candidate for the 2012 Venezuelan presidential election.[2][3] Capriles is the grandson of Jewish Holocaust survivors[4] and a self-professed devout Catholic.[5] He is a member of the centre-right[6][7][8] Justice First party. Following the death of Hugo Chavez in 2013, Capriles ran again as the opposition candidate in the 2013 special presidential election, challenging interim President Nicolás Maduro, who was appointed after Chavez' death.
 
Personal life and family background
Capriles was born in Caracas, on 11 July 1972. He is the son of Monica Cristina Radonski-Bochenek and Henrique Capriles García.[9][10] Henrique was a successful businessman, and in the 1950s, he helped launch Kraft Foods' entry into Venezuela by inviting the vice-president of its Nabisco subsidiary and persuading him to do business there.[11] Capriles' father was from Curaçao, and Capriles' great-grandfather, Elías Capriles, was born in Curaçao in 1850.[12]
Capriles' paternal grandfather, Dr. Armando Capriles-Myerston, was of Sephardi Jewish descent, while Capriles' paternal grandmother, Laura Garcia-Arjona, was from a Catholic family, and was related to political leader Simón Bolívar.[9] Capriles' father was raised Catholic.[13][9] Capriles' mother was born in Venezuela, to Ashkenazi Jewish immigrants from Russia and Poland, who had left Europe during World War II; his grandmother's mother and father were murdered in the Treblinka extermination camp.[14][15] His maternal grandmother, Lili Bochenek de Radonski, spent 20 months in the Warsaw Ghetto.[16] His maternal grandfather, Andrés Radonski, was an engineer active in the cinema business in Poland, who after emigrating to Venezuela in 1947, opened his first cinema in Puerto La Cruz.[16][17] The company "Circuito Radonski" merged into Cinex in 1998.
Capriles' parents agreed to educate their children in the Catholic faith until they were old enough to decide for themselves. Capriles said his faith had developed over the years, but that his time in prison in 2004 had "brought him much closer to God".[18] Capriles has stated that he is a "fervent Catholic",[19][20] and in an interview in the runup to the 2008 gubernatorial elections, he said that his greatest hero in history was Jesus Christ.[21]
Capriles studied law at the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello and became a specialist in commerce law in 1994. He also studied tax law at the Central University of Venezuela,[22] and took courses at the IBFD International Tax Academy in Amsterdam, the Centro Interamericano de Administradores Tributarios in Viterbo, Italy, and Columbia University in New York. He is a member of the International Fiscal Association, as well as the World Association of Young Jurors and the Committee of Taxes of the Venezuelan American Chamber of Industry and Commerce (Venamcham). Capriles has work experience in the public sector, at SENIAT, Venezuela's revenue service, as well as the private sector, at law firms Nevett & Mezquita Abogados and Hoet, Peláez, Castillo & Duque.[22]

[edit] Political career

Capriles was elected to the Chamber of Deputies of Venezuela in the December 1998 elections, representing the party COPEI and becoming the youngest member of the Venezuelan parliament ever elected.[15][23] He served as its Vice president until it was dissolved by the Constitutional Assembly in August 1999 and as president of the Chamber of Deputies for two years.[10][24][25]
In 2000 Capriles co-founded the political party Justice First together with Julio Borges and Leopoldo Lopez.[26] (previously a Civil Association, founded in 1992).[27][28]

[edit] Mayor of Baruta (2000–2008)

In the July 2000 elections, Capriles was elected mayor of the Baruta Municipality, representing the party Justice First (Primero Justicia). He was re-elected in October 2004, receiving 79% of the vote, defeating the Chavista candidate, telenovela actor Simón Pestana. During his tenure he oversaw a sharp reduction in the local crime rate, from 4705 crimes at the beginning of his tenure to 976 in 2007.[26]
Capriles was Mayor of Baruta during the 2002 Venezuelan coup d'état attempt. On 12 April several incidents of violence occurred around the Cuban embassy (located in Baruta), as opposition protesters cut off water and electricity, smashed windows, damaged six Embassy staff vehicles, and blocked the Cuban ambassador, German Sanchez Otero, from leaving. Opposition supporters believed Chavez supporters had taken refuge in the embassy. Otero claimed that Capriles "should have used his authority as the mayor of Caracas' Baruta district to disperse the crowd of angry protesters"; Capriles said "he helped avert more violence by preventing protesters from storming the Embassy".[29][30] The same day, Interior Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin was illegally "detained" by Capriles' Baruta police.
Capriles was initially charged with illegally entering the Cuban Embassy by state prosecutor Danilo Anderson. Capriles claimed he was invited into the embassy, though the ambassador denied such an invitation. In March 2004, Anderson declared publicly that Capriles would be arrested; the warrant was annulled in early April.[31] In May 2004 Capriles was arrested on the orders of Anderson, on the grounds that Capriles might flee the country; he was released on probation in September, pending his trial.[32] Danilo Anderson, the prosecutor in the case was later murdered by right-wing extremists. In December 2006, Capriles was acquitted of the charge of fomenting violence in a siege of the Cuban embassy during the coup attempt, but five months later, his acquittal was annulled by the court of appeal, and the case was re-opened in October 2008.[33] The U.S. Department of State mentioned Capriles' case in its 2008 Human Rights report as a denial of a fair public trial, noting that the case was re-opened after the charges relating to a different incident in April 2002 (the illegal detention of Ramon Rodriguez Chacin,) had been dropped under President Hugo Chavez's December 2007 amnesty.[34][35] President Chavez's 2007 pardon of most coup backers ultimately cleared Capriles of all charges.[36][37]

  Governor of Miranda state

In the Venezuelan regional elections, 2008 Capriles was elected Governor of Miranda state, defeating Diosdado Cabello. During his tenure Capriles invested in education, opening 39 schools by 2011, compared to 7 under the previous governor.[26] Capriles passed on the governorship of the state of Miranda to the Secretary General of Miranda, Adriana D'Elia, on 6 June 2012, in compliance with Venezuelan law which states an incumbent governor can not opt for the presidency of the nation. He was elected again on 16 December 2012, beating former Vice President Elías Jaua. [38]
Henrique Capriles said that if he had to define a political position, he considered himself as centre-left. [39]

 2012 Presidential election

Capriles was selected in primaries held in February 2012 as the opposition candidate against Hugo Chávez in the presidential elections to be held in October 2012; he won the opposition primaries with 1,900,528 (64.2%) votes of the 3,059,024 votes cast (votes abroad not included).[40]
Capriles named former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as his political inspiration.[15] However, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva endorsed Chávez in the 2012 election.[41]
In February 2012 Capriles was subject to what some foreign journalists characterized as vicious[5] attacks by state-run media sources.[42][43] The Wall Street Journal said that Capriles "was vilified in a campaign in Venezuela's state-run media, which insinuated he was, among other things, a homosexual and a Zionist".[44][5] A 13 February 2012 opinion article published on the web site of the state-owned Radio Nacional de Venezuela, titled "The Enemy is Zionism"[45] mentioned Capriles' Jewish ancestry & a meeting he had held with local Jewish leaders,[4][5][42] saying, "This is our enemy, the Zionism that Capriles today represents ... Zionism, along with capitalism, are responsible for 90% of world poverty and imperialist wars."
Underpinning Chavez's popularity are his Bolivarian Missions anti-poverty programs. Chavez's flagship "Mision Barrio Adentro" provides free medical care using thousands of doctors from Cuba. While the success of Barrio Adentro has been tarnished of late, with some clinics empty and in disrepair, it remains "massively popular" among the poor majority. Opposition presidential hopeful Henrique Capriles Radonski has said he would be "mad" to end the slum projects. "The missions belong to the people..." Chavez during the 2012 campaign, countered, "It's a lie that the bourgeoise will continue the missions if they win. They will destroy them. They will get rid of the Cubans and they will privatize health again," he added in a telephone call to state TV.[46]
On 7 October 2012, Capriles lost the election against then President Hugo Chávez.[47]

  April 2013 special election

Capriles challenged the Venezuelan interim president, Nicolás Maduro Moros, for the presidency on 14 April 2013. Nicholás Maduro defeated Capriles with 50.66% of the vote.

 Campaign positions

Education
Capriles made education one of the main topics of his agenda.[48][49]
Economy
According to Bloomberg, Capriles "favors former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's mix of market-friendly economic policies combined with income redistribution".[50] However, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva endorsed Nicolás Maduro for the 2013 election, In his endorsement of Maduro, Lula said "Maduro will carry on Chávez’s grand hope of transforming Venezuela into a more just country where oil wealth is shared with those suffering most in society." In the near term, a Maduro win would be best,” said Jose Augusto de Castro, head of Brazil’s Foreign Trade Association, Key infrastructure projects launched during the 14 years of Chavez’s government, from the Caracas metro expansion to bridges across the Orinoco river that divides Venezuela, are run by Brazilian firms like Odebrecht.[51]
Capriles is a member of the center-right[6][7][8] Justice First, he declared he would analyse all contracts signed with China, Russia and any other nation and only continue those that are good for Venezuela. He also declared he will progressively liberalize currency controls to promote exports and invest more in agriculture.[52]
Foreign Policy
Capriles stated in an interview with Reuters that he would move relations away from countries like Belarus and Iran. He also stated that a Capriles government would "accelerate the . . . peace process" between Colombian rebel group FARC and the Colombian government.[53]
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