Henrique Capriles, the opposition candidate in Venezuela’s upcoming election, has hit out at his main rival for labelling his supporters “heirs of Hitler”.
Acting president Nicolas Maduro, the man most likely to win the election and succeed Hugo Chavez, said: “The heirs of Hitler are leading a campaign in Venezuela against the Cuban people.”
Mr Capriles, whose Polish great-grandparents were killed at Treblinka, responded: “Does he know who Hitler was? If he does, then what he said was atrocious, because he’s saying that those who do not think like him are killers.”
While Mr Maduro has cast himself as an “apostle” and “son” of Mr Chavez, Mr Capriles says his rival has used “state media machinery” to “manipulate” the electorate.
Polls give Mr Maduro a 14 to 22 point lead.
“We’re fighting a president-candidate, all the oil dollars… and of course the myth they want to create around Chavez,” said Carlos Ocariz, Mr Capriles’s campaign director.