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Anti-U.S. Chavez leads Venezuelan race

President Hugo Chavez commanded a wide lead before Venezuela's election on Sunday, setting the stage for the self-styled revolutionary to intensify his anti-U.S., leftist crusade in Latin America.

His rival Manuel Rosales, the governor of an oil-producing state in the west of the OPEC nation, trails by double-digits in most polls because he has made little headway eroding Chavez's overwhelming support among the majority poor.

If the polls showing Chavez has close to 60 percent support prove right, he vows to use re-election with a strong mandate to scrap term limits and to rule for decades atop a single-party that he wants to create from the cacophony of groups he now heads.

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