Chavez’s fate lies in Venezuela’s divided barrios

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — The last time he ran for re-election, President Hugo Chavez won comfortably in Petare, one of Latin America’s biggest slums with nearly half a million people.

This time around, as Venezuelans vote Sunday, he may not.

Challenger Henrique Capriles — known as “El Flaco,” or “Skinny” — has built a surprisingly large following in what was once clear Chavez territory across Venezuela. The fervent support for the president among the working poor he’s graced with state largesse has eroded.

“‘El Flaco’ owns the street!,” Maria Hernandez, 62, shouted from her pane-less window as three foreign journalists climbed steps through a warren of red brick homes in a 1,500-family slice of Petare known as Jose Felix Ribas.

Read the full article at AP’s Big Story.