News Guide: Venezuela's presidential vote

Associated Press Modified: October 6, 2012 at 12:31 pm •  Published: October 6, 2012

— If Chavez wins and he has truly beaten cancer, he would have at least until 2019 to cement his political legacy. Opponents say that would likely mean an acceleration in the erosion of civil liberties. Chavez has been a leading voice against U.S. influence in Latin America, though his clout has waned since his mid-2000s heyday.

— If Capriles wins, he would become Venezuela's youngest president ever. He would likely reopen the spigot to non-state foreign investment by halting expropriations of private companies. OPEC says Venezuela has the world's largest proven oil reserves, and Capriles says he would manage the oil industry differently. He says the state-owned oil company PDVSA, which critics allege has become an inefficient patronage machine, would remain under government control but be better managed.

— Chavez has been in office longer than any other elected president in Latin America, amassing almost complete control of the government. Human rights and press groups call him repressive for actions such as forcing an opposition-aligned TV station off the air. Chavez's supporters say he has paid more attention to the poor than any politician who came before him. They say Capriles will turn his back on the poor.