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Hugo Chavez wields Bolivar sword after election victory

Tomas Bravo / Reuters

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez holds the sword used by former military leader Simon Bolivar while celebrating from a balcony at Miraflores Palace in Caracas on October 7, 2012.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

Supporters of Hugo Chavez celebrate in downtown Caracas on Oct. 7, 2012. Chavez won re-election and a new endorsement of his socialist project Sunday, surviving his closest race yet after a bitter campaign against opposition candidate Henrique Capriles.

Ariana Cubillos / AP

Supporters of Hugo Chavez perform a mock funeral for opposition candidate Henrique Capriles as they celebrate in downtown Caracas on Oct. 7, 2012.

By NBC News staff and wire reports — President Hugo Chavez scored a comfortable election victory that could extend his rule to 20 years and vowed to deepen his self-styled socialist revolution after a bitterly fought race against a youthful rival who has galvanized Venezuela's opposition.

Slideshow: Hugo Chavez through the years

"Truthfully, this has been the perfect battle, a democratic battle," Chavez thundered from the balcony of the presidential palace on Sunday, waving a replica of the sword of independence hero Simon Bolivar. "Venezuela will continue along the path of democratic and Bolivarian socialism of the 21st century." Read the full story.

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