Henrique Capriles Radonski

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This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Capriles and the second or maternal family name is Radonski.
Henrique Capriles Radonski
Henrique Capriles Radonski from Margarita island.jpg
Governor of Miranda
Assumed office
29 November 2008
Preceded by Diosdado Cabello
Mayor of Baruta
In office
30 July 2000 – 26 November 2008
Preceded by Ivonne Attas
Succeeded by Gerardo Blyde
Vice President of Congress
In office
23 January 1999 – 22 December 1999
Preceded by Ixora Rojas
Succeeded by Position abolished
President of the Chamber of Deputies
In office
23 January 1999 – 22 December 1999
Preceded by Ixora Rojas
Succeeded by Position abolished
Personal details
Born (1972-07-11) 11 July 1972 (age 44)
Caracas, Venezuela
Political party Copei (Before 2000)
Justice First (2000–present)
Other political
Democratic Unity Roundtable (2008–present)
Alma mater Andrés Bello Catholic University
Central University of Venezuela
Religion Roman Catholicism[1]

Henrique Capriles Radonski (Spanish pronunciation: [enˈrike kaˈpɾiles raˈðonski]), more commonly known as Henrique Capriles, is a Venezuelan politician and lawyer, currently serving as 36th Governor of Miranda. Born in Caracas on 11 July 1972, he received a degree on law from the Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, and later tax law from the Central University of Venezuela. Capriles first ventured into politics at age 26, when he became the youngest member ever elected of the Venezuelan parliament. He secured a seat into the Chamber of Deputies in the 1998 parliamentary elections, under the Christian democratic party Copei. He served as Vice President of the Congress and President of the Chamber of Deputies until their dissolution by the Constitutional Assembly in August 1999.

In 2000, he co-founded the political party Primero Justicia, alongside politicians Julio Borges and Leopoldo Lopez, and ran successfully for the mayorship of the Baruta municipality in the regional elections held in July 2000, and later for the governorship of the Miranda state in 2008. Capriles became the opposition candidate at the 2012 and 2013 presidential elections, and faced then-President Hugo Chávez and Vice President Nicolás Maduro respectively. His defeat in 2012 marked the first loss of his political career. Maduro narrowly defeated Capriles in the 2013 elections, a result that sparked controversy and debate admist the opposition's claims of electoral fraud.[2] Between both presidential campaigns, Capriles successfully secured his re-election as Governor of Miranda during the 2012 regional elections. He has repeatedly been the target of smear campaigns by political opponents who seek to capitalize on homophobic and antisemitic currents in Venezuelan society.[3]

Capriles Radonski is of Sephardi Jewish and Ashkenazi Jewish descent; his grandparents immigrated from Russia and Poland during World War II. However, he considers himself a devout Catholic, revealing that his greatest hero in history was Jesus Christ. Capriles dated Venezuelan actress Erika de la Vega between his first and second tenure as Mayor. Prior to his political career, he worked in the public and private sectors at several tax and law firms of Venezuela. Capriles is a member of the International Fiscal Association.

Personal life[edit]

Henrique Capriles was born in Caracas on 11 July 1972. His parents are Mónica Cristina Radonski-Bochenek and Henrique Capriles García.[4][5] His maternal grandparents were Ashkenazi Jews who immigrated from Russia and Poland following World War II. His great-grand parents were murdered by the Germans in the Treblinka extermination camp during World War II. His maternal grandmother, Lili Bochenek, lived for 20 months in the Warsaw Ghetto.[4] Capriles’s paternal grandfather, Armando Capriles-Myerston, was a Sephardi Jew.[4]

Capriles’s father was a successful businessman.[4] In the 1950s, he helped launch Kraft Foods' entry into Venezuela by inviting the vice-president of its Nabisco subsidiary and persuading him to invest in the country.[6] His maternal grandparents, Andrés Radonski and Lili Bochenek, migrated to Venezuela in 1947. Andrés was an engineer active in the cinema business in Poland; he opened his first cinema several years later, in the eastern city of Puerto La Cruz.[7] The company operated under the name Circuito Radonski. It was merged in 1998 alongside Venefilms and Grupo Blanco to create the country's largest cinema chain, Cinex.[8]

Capriles was raised a Catholic. His parents agreed to educate their children in the Catholic faith "until they were old enough to decide for themselves" as a "compromise".[9] Capriles has continued as a "fervent Catholic" through his adulthood, commenting that his greatest hero in history was Jesus Christ.[10] Capriles enrolled at the Andrés Bello Catholic University to study commerce law. He received his degree in 1994, and then continued studies at the Central University of Venezuela. He received a degree in tax law several years later.[11] He took additional studies at the IBFD International Tax Academy in Amsterdam, the Pan American Center of Tax Managers in Viterbo, and Columbia University.[11] He is a sitting member of the International Fiscal Association and the World Association of Young Jurors.[11]

Political career[edit]

Early years and Chamber of Deputies (1995-1999)[edit]

Capriles first ventured into politics between 1995 and 1998, when he aided his cousin, deputee Armando Capriles, in the writing of laws for the Bicameral Commission of Energy of the then-existing Congress of the Republic.[12] Armando, who was a partisan of the Christian democratic party Copei, later offered Henrique the possibility of being a candidate for a seat at the Chamber of Deputies at the 1998 parliamentary elections, affiliating with Copei (Social Christian Party). Capriles accepted, and successfully secured a seat at the Congress in representation of the Zulia state.[12] He became the youngest member ever elected to the Venezuelan parliament,[13] and later held the positions of Vice President of the Congress and President of the Chamber of Deputies.[12]

In August 1999, the Constitutional Assembly abolished Capriles' seat, and dissolved the Congress. Capriles criticized Chavez's new constitution, stating at the time, "This is a corrupt constitution that will leave Venezuela backward and poor", while further denouncing the centralized power that it granted the president.[14]

Mayor of Baruta (2000–2008)[edit]

The Congress was replaced by the National Assembly, and new deputees were elected in a general election held, in 2000. That year, Capriles founded the political party Primero Justicia, alongside politicians Julio Borges and Leopoldo Lopez,[12] although the entity had already existed as a civil association since 1992.[15][16] He did not run for a seat at the newly created Assembly; however, he and Leopoldo Lopez pursued the mayoralties of the Baruta and Chacao municipalities, respectively, at the regional elections held in July 2000. Lopez won with 51,5% of the vote, whereas Capriles received 62,9%.[12] Borges secured a seat in the National Assembly. As mayor, Capriles focused on the reduction of crime within his municipality, as well as on improving the overall infrastructure of the area.[12]

In 2002, President Hugo Chávez was the target of a failed coup d'état that removed him from office on 11 April 2002, after several days of violent protests in Caracas. The coup, triggered by major political discontent in a sector of the Venezuelan population, was initially staged by members of the military and the Venezuelan Federation of Chambers of Commerce (Fedecámaras), represented by its president Pedro Carmona, who was declared the interim president. The following day, the Cuban embassy, located in Baruta, received severe damage, caused by opposition protesters who cut off the water and electricity supply, smashed windows, damaged six staff vehicles, and blocked the Cuban ambassador, German Sanchez Otero, from leaving. The same day, Interior Minister Ramon Rodriguez Chacin was detained by the municipal police.[17][18]

Chávez returned to the presidency on 13 April 2002. Capriles then faced charges as a result of the attacks on the embassy. In March 2004, Danilo Anderson publicly declared that Capriles would be arrested; the warrant was annulled in early April. 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.[17][18] In December 2006, Capriles was acquitted of the charge of fomenting violence in the 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.[17][18] The U.S. Department of State mentioned Capriles' case in its 2008 Human Rights report as a denial of a fair public trial.[19]

Governor of Miranda (2008–present)[edit]

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.[12] 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 cannot run for the presidency of the nation. He was elected again on 16 December 2012, beating former Vice President Elías Jaua.[20]

2012 presidential election[edit]

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).[21]

Capriles named former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as his political inspiration.[22] However, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva endorsed Chávez in the 2012 election.[23]

In February 2012, Capriles was subjected to what some foreign journalists characterized as attacks by state-run media sources.[24][25] The Wall Street Journal said that Capriles "was exposed in a campaign in Venezuela's state-run media, which insinuated he was, among other things, a homosexual and a Zionist".[26][27] A 13 February 2012 opinion article published on the web site of the state-owned Radio Nacional de Venezuela, titled "The Enemy is Zionism"[28] mentioned Capriles's Jewish ancestry and a meeting he had held with local Jewish leaders,[24][27][29] 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." Chavez himself had repeatedly denied allegations of tolerating or promoting anti-Semitism.[27]

On 7 October 2012, Capriles lost the election to then-President Hugo Chávez.[30]

2013 presidential election[edit]

Henrique Capriles in Cumaná, Venezuela, prior to the 2013 presidential elections.

Capriles faced interim president Nicolás Maduro in a presidential election on 14 April, 2013. Voters gave Maduro—who had assumed the role of acting president since Chávez's death—a narrow victory over Capriles. Capriles rejected the results of the election, claiming election irregularities and calling for a full audit of the election results. Maduro said he would accept an audit of the election results; the election board did not agree to opposition demands for a total recount.[31]


  1. ^ Kelemen, Jasmina (9 June 2011). "Anti-Jewish slurs hound Venezuelan presidential hopeful". jweekly.com. Retrieved 15 February 2012. 
  2. ^ BBC Staff (19 April 2013). "Nicolas Maduro sworn in as new Venezuelan president". BBC.com. United Kingdom: British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  3. ^ http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-election-capriles-idUSBRE83008Y20120401
  4. ^ a b c d "Reporte Capriles" (in Spanish). Caracas: Diario El Universal. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  5. ^ de la Rosa, Alicia (12 February 2012). "Henrique Capriles wins opposition primaries in Venezuela". El Universal (in Spanish). Caracas: Diario El Universal. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Conoce - Historia" (in Spanish). Kraft Foods. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  7. ^ Associated Press (12 February 2012). "Perfil Capriles, el joven rival de Chávez". El Universal (in Spanish). Mexico City: Compañía Periodística Nacional. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  8. ^ "Corporativo". Cinex. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  9. ^ Giusti, Roberto (19 February 2012). "El insulto es el recurso de un boxeador agotado, grandote y pesado". El Universal (in Spanish). Caracas: Diario El Universal. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  10. ^ "25 preguntas a Henrique Capriles Radonski". El Universal (in Spanish). Caracas: Diario El Universal. 4 November 2008. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  11. ^ a b c "Henrique Capriles Radonski" (in Spanish). Mayorship of Baruta. 2004. Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 17 February 2012. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Henrique Capriles Radonski". Tal Cual (in Spanish). Caracas: Editorial La Mosca Analfabeta. 13 October 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  13. ^ "Capriles cruises to victory in Venezuela's primary election". CNN.com. Cable News Network, Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Murdock, Deroy (14 December 1999). "VIEW FROM THE U.S.: Power grab has some Venezuelans worried: A6". The Windsor Star. 
  15. ^ "Historia" (in Spanish). Caracas: Primero Justicia. Retrieved 7 June 2012. 
  16. ^ Nunez, Ingrid; Pineda, Nury (2003). "Nuevos Partidos, Nuevos Liderazgos: Primero Justicia". Cuestiones Politicas (30). January 2003. p45-74.
  17. ^ a b c Toothaker, Christopher (20 October 2008). "Chavez foe goes to trial; blames election politics". Associated Press. LexisNexis. (subscription required (help)). 
  18. ^ a b c Morsbach, Greg (20 June 2006). "Venezuela mayor tried over siege". BBC News. United Kingdom: British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 3 February 2010. 
  19. ^ Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (25 February 2009). "2008 Human Rights Report: Venezuela". 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  20. ^ BBC Staff (17 December 2012). "Hugo Chavez allies win 20 of 23 Venezuela governorships". BBC News. United Kingdom: British Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 5 January 2013. 
  21. ^ "A total of 3,040,449 votes were cast in opposition primary election". El Universal. 13 February 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  22. ^ Grainger, Sarah (13 February 2012). "Venezuela poll: Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles". BBC News. 
  23. ^ (Spanish) Correo del Orinoco, 22 March 2012, Lula Da Silva respalda reelección del presidente Hugo Chávez
  24. ^ a b Devereux, Charlie (20 February 2012). "Chavez media say rival Capriles backs plots ranging from Nazis to Zionists". Bloomberg. Retrieved 21 February 2012.  Also available from sfgate.com
  25. ^ Cawthorne, Andrew (1 April 2012). "Insight: The man who would beat Hugo Chavez". Reuters. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  26. ^ Vyas, Kejal; Jose de Cordoba (15 February 2012). "Chávez rival hit by state attacks". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  27. ^ a b c "Henrique Capriles Radonski: Hugo Chavez Foe A Target Of Anti-Semitism". The Huffington Post. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  28. ^ "Anti-Semitic article appears in Venezuela". Anti-Defamation League. 17 February 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2012.  Includes English translation of Venezuelan National Radio article.
  29. ^ "Chavez allies attack new opponent Capriles as Jewish, gay". MSNBC. 15 February 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  30. ^ "Venezuela's Chavez re-elected to extend socialist rule". Reuters. Retrieved 8 October 2012. 
  31. ^ "Venezuela's Capriles refuses to accept Maduro victory until election audit". Russia Today. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Ivonne Attas
Mayor of Baruta
Succeeded by
Gerardo Blyde
Preceded by
Diosdado Cabello
Governor of Miranda