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In areas loyal to Chavez, anger at "traitors" questioning result
SHOTLIST : CARACAS, VENEZUELA, 15 APRIL 2013, SOURCE: AFPTV SOUNDBITE 1, Elisabeth Torres, kiosk owner (Spanish, 17 sec) "Well there are lots of people who should have revealed themselves when they got here, because they're hypocrites, people who say they're with the process but they're not" (In Spanish: "Bueno hay muchos que deben haberse volcado cuando llegaron ahi (silencio) bueno porque son personas hipocritas, personas que dicen estar en el proceso pero no lo estan") SOUNDBITE 2, Sireg Gomez, primary school teacher (Spanish, 22 sec) "Remember that within Chavism there's everything, there's excluded people, there are qualified people, there are middle class people, we're diverse, that's the point, and suddenly there are people who think that because the man (Maduro) didn't go to university it's a problem, lots of people stigmatized him because he was a bus driver" (In Spanish: "Acuerdate que nosotros dentro del chavismo hay de todo, hay exluidos, hay gente preparada, hay clase media, somos diversos, para eso estamos, y de repente pues hay gente que considera que porque el hombre no tiene una academia no es un obstaculo, muchos tildaron de que como el fue chofer") SOUNDBITE 4, Celso Briceño, carpenter (Spanish, 18 sec) "The elections were close but Maduro won, and I think the opposition candidate should accept it already because if Capriles had won Maduro would have accepted it" moi, si Capriles avait gagné Maduro aurait accepté" (In Spanish: "Les elecciones fueron estrechas pero gano Maduro, y creo que el candidato de la oposicion ya deberia de aceptarlo porque yo te digo que si hubiera ganado Capriles Maduro acepta") -VAR of the sanctuary of Chavez, with banners saying "Saint Hugo Chavez of the 23" -VAR of the 23 de enero area -VAR of campaign posters of Maduro and Chavez -VAR of a man on a motorbike ------------------------------------------ AFP TEXT STORY: Venezuela-vote,newseries-WRAP Venezuela under pressure for Maduro victory recount by Laurent Thomet =(GRAPHIC+PICTURE+VIDEO)= ATTENTION - ADDS Capriles, OAS on recount, White House /// CARACAS, April 15, 2013 (AFP) - Venezuela plunged into uncertainty Monday, with acting President Nicolas Maduro due to be proclaimed the winner of a tight election to succeed the late Hugo Chavez despite international pressure for a recount. After Chavez dominated elections for 14 years, his political heir barely defeated opposition rival Henrique Capriles -- by just 235,000 votes -- in a nation deeply divided by the late president's oil-funded socialist revolution. Information Minister Ernesto Villegas invited supporters to gather in a central Caracas square to celebrate with Maduro when he receives the official victory proclamation from the National Electoral Council (CNE). But Capriles -- who defied expectations by winning 49.1 percent of the vote in Sunday's election, just shy of the 50.7 percent for Maduro -- refused to concede defeat until the CNE conducts a recount. "As long as every vote has not been counted, we have an illegitimate president," Capriles wrote on Twitter. The Organization of American States backed calls for a recount, while the White House said an audit would be an "important, prudent and necessary step." OAS chief Jose Miguel Insulza offered to send OAS election experts to help. "In a context of deep division and political polarization, as shown by the electoral process, the leader of the OAS made a fervent call for a national dialogue to help calm the mood of the Venezuelan society," the OAS said in a statement. Around the world, Chavez's closest allies -- from Cuba to Ecuador and Russia -- congratulated their friend's handpicked political heir, one month after the charismatic leader lost his battle to cancer aged 58. Riding a wave of grief over his mentor's death, Maduro had led opinion polls by double digits ahead of Sunday's vote, but Capriles ran an energetic campaign that tapped into deep discontent over rampant crime and economic weakness. Both candidates pledged during the campaign to recognize the result. But Capriles -- who accepted defeat when Chavez beat him by 11 points in October polls -- said he had a list of some 3,200 "incidents" that took place during the vote. The acting president said he was open to an audit of the vote but he called his victory "fair, legal, constitutional." "Mission accomplished Comandante Chavez. The people fulfilled its pledge," Maduro, a 50-year-old former bus driver who rose to foreign minister and vice president, told cheering supporters at the Miraflores presidential palace. Before dying, Chavez had urged Venezuelans to vote for Maduro if he was unable to return to power. During the campaign, people chanted "Chavez, I swear, my vote is for Maduro," but enthusiasm appeared to have waned at the 11th hour. At a newspaper stand in the capital's business district of Chacao, known as a Capriles stronghold, supporters of the 40-year-old state governor said they wanted a recount. "We want a review of the vote so that we can move forward, so that we are clear whether we lost," said 56-year-old public accountant Oswaldo Gomez. Under the constitution, a recall referendum can be called after the third year of a presidency if 20 percent of voters' signatures are gathered. Across town, in Caracas' historic center, Maduro supporters said the opposition must accept defeat. "The numbers don't lie. The little bourgeois should recognize the result given by the CNE," said Nahem Machado, a 41-year-old construction worker. Ignacio Avalos, a sociology professor at Central University of Venezuela, said the nation was in a "very delicate situation." "Such a thin difference in a country that is so extremely polarized is hard to deal with politically," Avalos said. "The big challenge, however this finishes, is how to become one country again, with its conflicts and contradictions." The burly, mustachioed leader vowed to continue the oil-funded policies that cut poverty by almost half to 29 percent through popular health, education and food programs. But Chavez's self-declared "son" faces a litany of problems: South America's highest murder rate, with 16,000 people killed last year, chronic food shortages, high inflation and recurring power outages. His victory would be a relief to leftist allies in Latin America and fellow anti-Western regimes beyond, especially communist Cuba, which relies on generous oil shipments from Venezuela to keep its economy afloat. Cuban leader Raul Castro said his ally's victory "shows the strength of the ideas and work of Comandante Hugo Chavez." lth/sst
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