Presidential candidates take shots at each other in Venezuela

Caracas, Apr 7 (EFE).- Ruling-party presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro and opposition presidential hopeful Henrique Capriles took turns ripping each other on the campaign trail in Venezuela.

Maduro told Indians during an appearance Saturday in the southern state of Amazonas that an opposition win in the April 14 elections would mean the loss of their lands.

"If they win, they would come here and take away the lands of the indigenous people, they hate the people, they are connected to the evil of love of money ... because they are the bourgeoisie, we are the people," Maduro said during a rally in Amazonas, where the majority of residents are Indians.

Maduro said he was ready to start governing immediately and made the decision "as acting president, and certainly as president as of April 15," to create a "special corporation for the full development of Amazonas."

The development agency will have a fund of 100 million bolivares (nearly $16 million) and start operating on Monday, Maduro said.

Capriles, meanwhile, called on Venezuelans to look at how well officials calling themselves socialists lived and accused government officials of stealing.

"The connected ones (government officials) who say they are socialists ... say they govern for the people and look after the people and all that other stuff, look at how they are doing, look at how they dress, look at how they live and where they live now," Capriles said at a campaign rally in the western state of Falcon.

"The ones who today are hiding behind the image of the (late) president (Hugo Chavez)" are "incompetent and inefficient," the opposition candidate said.

Capriles told supporters in Coro, the capital of Falcon, that they should "start building a united country right now."

Maduro, Capriles and five other candidates are vying to serve out the 2013-2019 term of Chavez, who died March 5 after a nearly two-year battle with cancer.