POSTED: Friday, July 13, 2012 - 8:30am
UPDATED: Friday, July 13, 2012 - 8:34am
NBC News — Thousands of Venezuelans turned out thursday night to support controversial President Hugo Chavez. Chavez is currently running for re-election in October.
Chavez arrived at the event on an open-top vehicle, marking the first of a series of campaign caravans he promised to complete around the nation. Supporters waved banners, posters and flags and threw confetti into the air. The 57 year old socialist leader has been in power since 1999.