Chavez vows 'much stronger' socialist drive

Associated Press
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Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez hold up an image of him during a campaign caravan from Barinas to Caracas, in Sabaneta, Venezuela, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. Venezuela's presidential election is scheduled for Oct. 7. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is pledging to redouble his efforts to create a socialist system if re-elected in this Sunday's election.

Chavez says that his government so far has, in his words, "laid the foundations of 21st century socialism." Chavez said if he wins another six-year term he will begin a "much stronger" drive toward socialism.

Chavez spoke on Monday during a campaign stop in his native town of Sabaneta in the country's rural western plains.

Rival candidate Henrique Capriles has ridiculed Chavez for claiming to pursue socialist policies, saying the government has failed to solve problems such as a soaring murder rate, blackouts and crumbling infrastructure.

Capriles also is accusing the government of acting as "an accomplice" to leftist Colombian rebels.