Oct. 4 - The economy is in focus as Venezuela prepares for its presidential election. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
As Hugo Chavez faces the toughest presidential election of his political career, the government is unleashing a flood of state spending to win over undecided voters. This comes from a President who has nationalized companies like the French-Colombian owned supermarket Exito with a promise of relief for consumers. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) PRESIDENT HUGO CHAVEZ SAYING: "We have expropriated, right? The belongings, properties, deposits, transport and the constructional improvements that make up the supermarket chain [have been] nationalized." But with inflation sometimes hitting more than 25 percent, some feel that government measures have done little to help their wallets. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) CARACAS RESIDENT MARIELA GONZALEZ SAYING: "Everyday you go and buy something and today you buy it at one price, tomorrow at another. You have to walk a lot just to be able to find a more or less good price." Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles is promising to change all that vowing -- to end the vision of a state-led economy. Most polls have Chavez in the lead. But the opposition leader has had more momentum in the final days of the campaign and is confidently predicting victory.