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Communications Minister Rejects CPJ Report on Venezuela

Venezuela’s Minister of Communications and Information, Willian Lara, yesterday rejected a report by the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) which accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of “controlling, intimidating and censoring the media.”

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Venezuela Commemorates 15th Anniversary of Chavez’s 1992 Coup Attempt

Hugo Chávez

Thousands of Venezuelans clad in red T-shirts and caps marched through Caracas yesterday, to commemorate the fifteen year anniversary of a military coup attempt led by Hugo Chavez, then a Lieutenant Colonel in the Venezuelan Armed Forces.

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Chavez Takes Up Energy Conservation

His ambitious social programs are built on Venezuela's petroleum wealth, but President Hugo Chavez is increasingly talking up environmental causes and urging the world to cut back on oil use to fight global warming.

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Venezuela's Chavez Sets Oil Fields Takeover for May; Says Bush Should Resign

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced the government’s planned takeover of the Orinoco belt oil fields, and the re-nationalization of the electricity sector at an international press conference yesterday. He also responded to U.S. President George W. Bush’s “concerns” over Venezuelan democracy.

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Venezuelan Legislature Allows President to Pass Laws by Decree for 18 Months

Venezuela’s National Assembly passed a so-called “enabling law” today, which will allow President Chavez to pass laws by decree in eleven different areas for a period of 18 months. Chavez had asked for the enabling law earlier this month, saying it is needed to accelerate the process of transforming Venezuela’s state and economy into “21st century socialism.”

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Venezuela Rejects Negroponte’s “Concerns” Over its Democracy

The Venezuelan government issued a statement yesterday rejecting comments made by a senior U.S. official, John Negroponte, who called Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez “a threat to democracy” in Latin America.

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Venezuelan Government to Triple Agriculture Budget for 2007

According to Venezuela’s Minister of Land and Agriculture, Elias Jaua, President Chavez approved of an additional $800 million for supporting agriculture in Venezuela, which represents an increase of more than triple the currently budgeted amount.

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Venezuela's Chavez Demands Respect from Mexico's Calderon

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez demanded respect from his Mexican counterpart, Felipe Calderon, during his weekly program, Aló Presidente, yesterday, and denied that his government planned to seize private property.

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Chavez Appoints Presidential Council for Venezuelan Education Reform

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez appointed the Presidential Council for the education reform initiative “morals and enlightenment” (Moral y Luces) yesterday, the third of five “motors” that are set to propel the new era in the Bolivarian process.

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Venezuelan Unemployment Drops to Lowest Rate in Chavez’s Presidency

Venezuela’s National Statistics Institute released its unemployment data yesterday, saying that unemployment had dropped to 8.4% in December 2006, which is 0.5% lower than the same month in 2005.

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Venezuelan Television Workers to Propose Management Plan for RCTV’s Airwaves

Marcela Máspero, a National Coordinator for the pro-government union federation UNT, announced yesterday that workers of the private opposition-aligned Radio Caracas Televisión (RCTV) station were working on a proposal to manage the station themselves when its broadcast concession expires.

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Venezuelan Legislature Rejects US Official’s Comments on Enabling Law

Reacting to comments by Tom Casey, the spokesman of the U.S. State Department, Venezuela’s National Assembly issued a strongly worded statement last Saturday, rejecting his assessment of the so-called enabling law the legislature is about to pass.

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Chavez’s Weekly Show Returns, Gas Price Rise Announced

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s weekly program, Aló Presidente, returned yesterday after a five month break. During the program Chavez announced—among a wide range of other things—proposals for a gas price hike, a new tax on luxury goods, and the acceleration of the nationalization of the country's largest telecommunications company.

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Venezuela and Brazil Agree To 1st Phase of Transcontiental Gas Pipeline

Venezuela and Brazil signed a declaration to begin the first phase of the Great Southern Gas Pipeline late last week. The declaration is the first concrete document on the viability and future of the pipeline, which, if completed will be the largest such gas pipeline in the world.

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Venezuela Pushes for Change of Mercosur at Summit

President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez said yesterday at the 31st Mercosur Summit in Río de Janeiro, Brazil, that its objective should be to profoundly change the organisation into one which truly develops the region and its people.

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