Chavez has packed the Supreme Court and the army with his supporters, seized control of the country's wealth and introduced a penal code that criminalizes dissent. Anyone who opposes him faces violence or prison.
"I spent 20 days without looking at the sun, the air, the sky," said Capriles, the Baruta mayor who was once thrown into solitary confinement for opposing Chavez.
Pictures showing violence against anti-Chavez protestors no longer are allowed to be shown on public or private Venezuelan television; the government claims it's protecting children from scenes of violence.
"Our own journalists don't know whether they can show whatever it is they are trying to cover," said Ana Christina Nunez, legal counsel for Globovision, the country's only 24-hour news channel.