Venezuela election: Chavez and Capriles launch campaigns
Venezuelan presidential rivals Hugo Chavez and Henrique Capriles have formally started campaigning for October’s election.
Mr Chavez, seeking a third term at the age of 57 but physically weakened after a battle with cancer, met supporters in the central state of Carabobo.
Mr Capriles, 39, was visiting border regions to underline his message that remote communities have been neglected.
Opinion polls suggest that Mr Chavez has a double-digit lead.
Under his left-wing rule, the oil-rich country has followed an economic and foreign policy which put it at loggerheads with Washington.
Oil revenues have allowed him to fund programmes for the poor, but critics accuse him of populism and authoritarianism.
“My God, give us health and life to lead these people to victory!” Mr Chavez wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
In Carabobo, he greeted crowds of supporters from a lorry, waving and blowing kisses.
In a tweet of his own, Mr Capriles called the campaign a “countdown to opening the door to the future”.
Pictured: Hugo Chavez, seen here in a mural in Caracas, has been in power since 1999