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A roar of protest envelopes Venezuela as opposition calls for vote recount (+video)

Fireworks and clanging pots and pans are Venezuela's post presidential election soundtrack. Tensions have been steadily rising since the electoral council announced Maduro's slim victory over Capriles.

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"Here we don't negotiate with the bourgeoisie. Here there is revolution," said Maduro in a national television address. "And if [the opposition] continues with violence, I am ready to radicalize the revolution."

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Maduro told his supporters to light fireworks and prohibited a planned opposition protest march scheduled for Wednesday in Caracas, calling it "a chronicle of a coup foretold.”

The president-elect's increasingly harsh rhetoric and hard-line stance is seen by some as an attempt to consolidate power now that his party is faced with the absence of the charismatic Chávez.

"He's trying to occupy a position that's not his," says Eloy Torres, a political science professor at Santa María University and a former Chávez administration diplomat who long worked under Maduro when he was foreign minister.

Mr. Torres, who says he has been taken aback by Maduro's tone since election results came in, adds that rather than resolving the conflict "he's pouring gasoline on the fire."

Capriles in a press conference yesterday told Maduro to "calm down a bit." Fearing potential future clashes, Capriles called off a march scheduled for today in favor of further cacerolazos – the popular Latin American protest involving the banging of pots and pans. 

"Whoever is involved in violence is not part of this project, is not with me," he said at a news conference.

While it remains to be seen if it can hold steam, Capriles seems intent on continuing his campaign for a recount. Analysts say that regardless of the outcome, the efforts present serious difficulties for the future of Maduro's presidency.

Maduro faces an uncertain future, says Carlos Romero, a political scientist at the Central University of Venezuela. Mr. Romero points to similar scenario in 2000 in Peru when then-President Alberto Fujimori was forced to resign, or in the case of the 2006 Mexico election, when then-President Felipe Calderón managed to survive a recount but then faced political strife when his opponent refused to recognize the results.

"You can’t say where the Venezuelan case is going to go, the only thing we can say is that unexpectedly close results like this bring more problems," says Romero.


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