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Capriles’ camp said Chavista loyalists in the judiciary put them at glaring disadvantage by slapping the campaign and broadcast media with fines and prosecutions that they called unwarranted. Only one opposition TV station remains and it was being sold to a new owner Monday.

At rallies, Capriles would read out a list of unfinished road, bridge and rail projects. Then he asked people what goods were scarce on store shelves.

Capriles showed Maduro none of the respect he earlier accorded Chavez.

Maduro hit back hard, at one point calling Capriles’ backers “heirs of Hitler.” It was an odd accusation considering that Capriles is the grandson of Holocaust survivors from Poland.

Maduro focused his campaign message on his mentor: “I am Chavez. We are all Chavez.”

He will face no end of hard choices for which Corrales, of Amherst, said he has shown no skills for tackling.

Maduro has “a penchant for blaming everything on his ‘adversaries’ — capitalism, imperialism, the bourgeoisie, the oligarchs — so it is hard to figure how exactly he would address any policy challenge other than taking a tough line against his adversaries.”

Venezuela’s $30 billion fiscal deficit is equal to about 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Many factories operate at half capacity because strict currency controls make it hard for them to pay for imported parts and materials. Business leaders say some companies verge on bankruptcy because they cannot extend lines of credit with foreign suppliers.

Chavez imposed currency controls a decade ago trying to stem capital flight as his government expropriated large land parcels and dozens of businesses.

Now, dollars sell on the black market at three times the official exchange rate and Maduro has had to devalue Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar, twice this year.

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Associated Press writers Fabiola Sanchez, Jorge Rueda, E. Eduardo Castillo and Christopher Toothaker in Caracas and Vivian Sequera in Valencia contributed to this report.