Venezuelan politics get personal, divide families

By Michael Weissenstein

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, May 9 2013 12:03 p.m. MDT

An Opposition member carry a portrait of opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles on a highway in the Altamira neighborhood of Caracas, Venezuela, Monday, April 15, 2013. National Guard troops dispersed students protesting the official results of Venezuela's disputed presidential election. Opposition candidate Henrique Capriles has challenged his narrow loss to Nicolas Maduro and is demanding a recount. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela — A portrait of Hugo Chavez stares down from a black metal frame as Jose Pastano sips coffee after dinner with his sons in the slum house he shares with 17 relatives on the western edge of the capital.

Leaning forward in his chair, the retired bus mechanic chides his children for backing Venezuela's opposition, calling them "blind and deaf" and ungrateful for all that the late president had done for the country."

In a country evenly split between the ruling party and opposition, countless families have been torn apart by political divisions, mirroring tensions that have spilled out into in the street in sometimes bloody fashion.

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