April 13, 2013 (TSR-Mercopress) – Diego Maradona, a close friend of the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, whom he visited on several occasions, had announced he would travel to Caracas in support of the final leg of Maduro’s campaign for next Sunday’s election.
Standing next to Maduro in the rally’s stage he also played a part by shooting some footballs to the crowd signed with his name.
However the most striking of Maradona presence was the red ‘Chavista colour’ shirt he was wearing with the Argentine and Venezuelan flags and three very clear lines: “Maduro President”; a second, “Chavez Comandante” and finally “Cristina 2015”.
Although not official, but strongly suggested, the most militant supporters of the Argentine president have argued she deserves a third consecutive four year mandate, currently banned under the constitution.
For this an amendment must be passed by Congress, which needs a special majority, enabling her to bid for a third mandate, in October 2015.
However first Cristina Fernandez must overcome the October 2013 hurdle of mid term elections when half the Lower House and a third of the Senate seats must be renewed, and thus ensure that her coalition with the support from other smaller and provincial parties are sufficient to pass the constitutional amendment.
Cristina Fernandez so far has not said a word for or against the initiative, but knowing her style and strong character, it is hard to believe that her closest supporters would not fathom the waters without her consent.
Whatever the result, Maradona has made it official: Cristina 2015 and in the land of the Chavistas, the best friends of her and her deceased husband Nestor Kirchner.
Maradona joins the Venezuelan campaign in support of Chavism and Maduro
The former star player Maradona, an avowed supporter of Latin American so called ‘pink tide’ leaders, including Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Chávez, arrived in Caracas to back Maduro’s final path to Sunday’s voting process.
Meanwhile, Argentine-Venezuelan singer Ricardo Montaner showed up at opposition candidate Henrique Caprile’s rally in the city of Maracaibo on Wednesday in support of the challenger.
Most opinion polls give acting President Nicolás Maduro a strong lead thanks to Chavez’s endorsement and the surge of grief and sympathy over his death from cancer last month.
In related news Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman and his Venezuelan counterpart Elías Jaua rejected comments made by Venezuelan presidential candidate Capriles over an alleged hefty financial debt that the Argentine government has with that country.
“None of that makes any sense,” said Timerman, while Jaua stated that the bilateral agreements were “legitimate and sovereign.”
The opposition candidate, who lost last year’s election to late president Hugo Chávez and is now running against Maduro said during a televised interview that Argentina owes 13 billion dollars to Venezuela, and put the blame of the economic crisis on these “gifts,” as an “inefficient” way of managing resources.
When asked about these statements, Timerman replied: “This only shows Capriles’ ability to confuse people, because none of what he says makes sense.”
“The Bolivarian revolution will prevail, and our agreements with Argentina were legitimate and sovereign. We will not return to the past, the right-wing party that that candidate represents used to sell oil to the United States for five dollars. Never again!” Jaua said emphatically.
Both diplomatic officials met on Wednesday yesterday for lunch at the Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires.
During his first visit to the country as Foreign minister, Jaua confirmed his government’s intention to “deepen relations with Argentina,” adding that Maduro’s administration will help with the recovery of the YPF oil refinery that caught fire during last week’s storm in La Plata.
“Maduro wishes to send his condolences to all the victims of the floods,” said Jaua.
Presidential elections in Venezuela are scheduled to take place on Sunday after Chávez died on March 5. Chávez was a key ally of the Argentine government since Néstor Kirchner took office in 2003.