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Chavez claims election victory defeats int'l coalition against him

(Xinhua)

17:20, October 10, 2012

CARACAS, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Tuesday that his success in Sunday's elections was a victory over not only his rival candidate, but also an international coalition against him.

In his first public speech, Chavez said he considered the international funding for Henrique Capriles, his main opponent, as an interference in the country's domestic affairs, and vowed to continue the program of what he called the "21st-century socialism."

During his previous tenure, Chavez has become Latin America's main anti-U.S. vocal critic, denouncing Washington as decadent and war-mongering.

Over the years, Chavez has used Venezuela's cheap oil to build alliances with like-minded governments, including Cuba, whose leader Raul Castro was among the first foreign leaders to congratulate him on re-election.

Chavez, who has been reelected to a third six-year term, also mocked accusations that he was leading an autocratic government, saying "if somebody wants to see a vigorous and solid democracy, they should come to Venezuela."

The former paratrooper described the elections as "a perfect battle," with the participation of more than 80 percent of eligible voters, the highest turnout in recent years.

The United States acknowledged "differences" with Chavez but congratulated the Venezuelan people on the peaceful elections.

Critics said Caracas' relations with Washington were likely to remain tense, though Venezuela continued to sell oil to the United States over the years.

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