Hundreds of thousands of people on Saturday marched in Caracas to support opposition presidential candidate Manuel Rosales, whose populist campaign has focused on reducing crime and redistributing oil wealth.

Rosales, governor of the oil-rich Zulia state, trails leftist President Hugo Chavez by around 20 percentage points in most private polls ahead of the December 3 election.

Chavez is a close ally of Cuba and fiercely opposes the Bush administration even though Venezuela provides around 12 percent of U.S. oil imports.

Opposition sympathizers donning Venezuela’s signature red, yellow and blue patriotic colors joined the march, which spanned some 12 miles across most of the capital city.

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