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Henrique Capriles: 'I am a democrat'

Venezuela's opposition leader explains why peaceful political change is necessary and still possible.

Last updated: 30 Aug 2014 13:26
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Earlier this year, opponents of Venezuela's leftist government built barricades and took to the streets demanding political and economic change.

The opposition faction leading the demonstrations was hoping this would spark a popular uprising to force the resignation of Hugo Chavez' successor, President Nicolas Maduro.

I don't believe there is any way to achieve change if you do not incorporate the poor, the people who are most needy, those who are most dependent on the government, those whose lives really do depend on who is in the government.

Henrique Capriles

Discontent over widespread shortages, the world's highest inflation rate, and uncontrollable crime fuelled the protests and speculation that Venezuela's leftist revolution was finally crumbling.

But instead, Leopoldo Lopez, one of the most prominent opposition leaders, was imprisoned and is now facing trial for inciting violence - an irony to many since he is a direct descendant of Simon Bolivar, Venezuela's War of Independence hero, known as the Liberator.

Another opposition leader, Maria Corina Machado, was stripped of her seat in the government-controlled congress.

After more than 40 deaths during weeks of bloody clashes, the protests fizzled.

Now, Venezuela's opposition movement is at a critical juncture marred by bitter internal disputes. Some are openly suggesting it could completely disappear and that it is almost impossible anyway to confront an authoritarian government bankrolled by billions of petro-dollars. 

But Henrique Capriles, Venezuela's opposition leader, disagrees. He still believes peaceful political change is possible in Venezuela. Capriles ran in the presidential elections last year, and lost after election fraud - at least that is what his supporters say.

So what is next for the political future of the country?

Governor Henrique Capriles talks to Al Jazeera about recent protests in Venezuela, the split in the opposition, and his sharp differences with his former allies. He also lays out his strategy for change in Venezuela.

Talk to Al Jazeera  can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Saturday: 0430; Sunday: 0830 and 1930; Monday: 1430.    

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Al Jazeera
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