Above: President-Elect Nicolas Maduro (UN Photo/Lou Rouse)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Acting President Nicolas Maduro has won Venezuela’s presidential election by a narrow margin, according to preliminary results from the country’s National Electoral Council.
Maduro, who was the hand-picked successor of the late Hugo Chavez, won with approximately 50.66 percent of the vote.
Challenger Henrique Capriles Radonski finished second by a narrow margin, taking home around 49.07 percent of the vote.
The race was close enough that both sides initially claimed victory in the hours leading up to the release of the first official tallies. The day also saw charges of fraud, along with an alleged attack on Maduro’s Twitter account.
In a statement released by Venezuela’s government information agency, Maduro said “democracy is the power of the majority.”
“We are going to build a country of peace, of love for all,” he said.
That seems to be a continuation of the left-wing economic policies of Chavez that have led to domestic discord but much regional support, particularly in the Caribbean.
The Caribbean had been anxiously watching the Venezuela vote in large part due to the PetroCaribe Agreement, which provides significantly discounted oil through concessionary loans to many countries in the region.
For now, it seems that agreement will see no changes.
The statement said the government would strengthen the “progressive processes that exist in most South American countries,” including PetroCaribe and the ALBA alliance.
Several Caribbean countries, including Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, are members of ALBA. Haiti has also expressed interest in joining.