Election 2012: Postcard from Caracas

Published 12:52 PM ET, Tue October 23, 2012
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Barack Obama received a somewhat surprising endorsement in early October when Hugo Chavez called said, "I'd vote for Obama." In 2009, Chavez shook hands with the president and gave him the book "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" during a summit. AFP/Getty Images
The two countries have had a contentious relationship for years, but in 2012 they have something in common -- a general election. Chavez recently won a third consecutive term as president of Venezuela. Here, supporters celebrate after receiving news of his victory in Caracas on October 7. AFP/Getty Images
Journalist Girish Gupta says Venezuela is still recovering from the hangover of the brutal campaign between Hugo Chavez (pictured in a Caracas mural) and opposition challenger Henrique Capriles. AFP/Getty Images
Gupta says Chavez welcomed his opponent to the ring in February by calling him a "low-life pig" who would be "pulverized" -- and there were no debates in Venezuela as Chavez felt Capriles was below him. Here, a poster of Capriles is defaced by Chavez supporters. AFP/Getty Images
Gupta says some Venezuelans are alarmed by Romney's anti-Venezuela rhetoric. The Republican hopeful branded the Chavez government a "threat to national security" earlier this year, adding that Chavez had spread "dictatorships and tyranny throughout Latin America." AFP/Getty Images
Romney's running mate, Paul Ryan, has said their administration would be "tough on Chavez," a message that resonates with Venezuela's hard-line opposition to the president that has helmed the country since 1999. Getty Images
Despite Chavez's recent endorsement of Obama, not everyone approves of the job Washington is doing. Here, protesters hold a poster reading "killers of Libyan people" with portraits of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Caracas, Venezuela, on April 13, 2011. AFP/Getty Images
The lubricant between Caracas and Washington is the world's highest oil reserves, says Gupta, which Chavez is sitting on. Some analysts believe Obama is more willing to tolerate the higher gas prices Venezuela needs in order to keep its oil-dependent economy from collapsing. Getty Images/File
The nadir of recent U.S.-Venezuela relations came in 2006, when Chavez called then-president George W. Bush "the devil" at the United Nations General Assembly. Getty Images
But after years of shaky relations, Chavez appears prepared to start again, saying: "With the likely triumph of Obama, and the extreme right defeated both here and there [in the U.S.], I hope we can start a new period of normal relations." AFP/Getty Images