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He also vowed that he would serve only one six-year term; Mr. Chavez abolished the two-term limit for the presidency and has vowed to serve until 2031.

Calling the U.S. a “great country,” Mr. Perez said he would replace Mr. Chavez’s proudly anti-American posture with a “win-win” relationship based on trade and other common interests.

“I believe that relations between the United States and their allies should be deeper relationships, always respecting the sovereignty of each nation,” he said. “A relationship that is based on fighting drug trafficking and money laundering, guaranteeing respect for human rights - these are common interests that we have.”

But he called on the U.S. to take a more active role in its own hemisphere, where China is increasing its investment and Middle Eastern extremists have been operating for years.

“I believe with regard to Latin America the United States has not provided the due attention that this continent warrants,” Mr. Perez said. “I believe that with my presidency, we would need to re-establish a settled situation in the Americas with economic growth and strong democracies.”