The 44-year-old governor of Miranda state kept to the high road during most of his political career, including his two unsuccessful tries for president, losing first to the late Hugo Chavez in 2012, and then in a photo-finish loss to current President Nicolas Maduro in the 2013 contest to be Chavez’s successor.
In both presidential races, he refused to respond in kind to nonstop, scurrilous insults lobbed his way by Chavez, Maduro and their supporters. Many of the jibes can’t be repeated in a family newspaper but nonetheless were broadcast over government-controlled news media.
“Those who make insults pay a price…. People who don’t measure their words suffer the consequences,” Capriles said in an interview prior to the October 2012 election against Chavez. “Venezuelans are tired of the politics of insults and recriminations.”
But in recent days, as once-prosperous Venezuela descends deeper into chaos — with mass protests against food scarcities, rising crime and Maduro’s autocratic style — Capriles has adopted a more radical stance. …