Hugo Chavez tells Venezuelans to buy juice, not Coca-Cola or Pepsi


President Hugo Chavez speaks after receiving a Brazilian delegation in the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas on July 25, 2012.

Hugo Chavez may soon be known as “Jugo” Chavez.

The Venezuelan leader is urging people to buy locally made fruit juice – jugo in Spanish – instead of sugary sodas produced by foreign companies.

During a recent televised speech, Chavez told Venezuelans to buy Uvita, a grape juice made by state-owned Corpozulia, instead of Coca-Cola or Pepsi, not because it is healthier but as a way to boost domestic consumption and reduce the country’s excessive reliance on imports, the Associated Press reported.

“This juice is tasty,” Chavez was quoted by Noticias 24 as saying.

Chavez regularly offers advice to his supporters during his marathon speeches, which television networks are required by law to broadcast.

The health of the economy is an important issue in the upcoming presidential election.

Venezuela suffers from nosebleed-high inflation and frequent shortages of power and basic consumer goods, which the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles is seeking to use to his advantage.

But an even more important issue in this year’s presidential race is whether Chavez will live long enough to cast his vote.

With less than three months until the October 7 poll, Chavez has been working hard to convince Venezuelans that he is fit and healthy enough to serve another six years in the top job.

The 57-year-old has been receiving treatment for an unspecified cancer that was first diagnosed in June 2011.

Most polls show the socialist leader, who has ruled oil-rich Venezuela for the past 13 years, has a comfortable lead over Capriles.

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