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US Moves to Thwart Spain’s Military Equipment Sale to Venezuela

Spanish firms continue to make plans for $1.6 billion sale of aircraft and boats to Venezuela, even as Washington raises objections. In public statements, Venezuela highlights the political importance of the deal, while Spain focuses on its commercial nature.

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Venezuela to Launch $100 Billion Investment Plan

Chavez announced that Venezuela will engage in a massive investment program, of $20 billion over five years, to invest in public infrastructure. The funds will come entirely from the country's oil industry and from excess foreign currency reserves.

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Venezuela’s Attorney General Mounts Legal Challenge to Controversial Penal Code

Attorney General Isaias Rodriguez asked Venezuela's Supreme Court to nullify almost the entirety of a recent controversial reform of the penal code. This reform stiffened punishment for many crimes and allowed the opposition to argue that the government is interested in stifling free speech and protest.

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Argentina and Venezuela Strengthen Links

Argentinean President Nestor Kirchner came to Venezuela yesterday and signed a deal to build a gas pipeline between the two countries. Kirchner also confirmed Venezuela’s entry to the South American trade bloc Mercosur next month.

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Venezuela’s Electoral Council Concedes to Many Opposition Demands

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) announced changes in voting procedures after meeting with opposition groups and other government agencies. The changes included auditing a much higher percentage of paper ballots, not using fingerprint scanners, and providing media access to all candidates.

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Thousands in Massachusetts To Get Cheaper Oil

A subsidiary of the Venezuelan national oil company will ship 12 million gallons of discounted home-heating oil to local charities and 45,000 low-income families in Massachusetts next month under a deal arranged by US Representative William D. Delahunt, a local nonprofit energy corporation, and Venezuela's president, White House critic Hugo Chávez.

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Venezuelan Legislator Says Anderson Murder Suspect Tried to Bribe Judge

Nicolas Maduro, the President of Venezuela's National Assembly, said that Ravell, the director of one of the main oppositional TV stations, participated in a meeting with one of the accused in the Anderson murder, to plan a $3 million bribe for the judge in the case. Ravell denied such a meeting ever took place.

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U.S. Claims It Fulfilled Venezuela’s F16 Maintenance Contract

According to the U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, the U.S. government has complied with its obligations to service Venezuela's F16 fighter aircraft. A Venezuelan government spokesperson, though, said that this maintenance was limited and did not cover weapons systems.

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Economic Growth in Venezuela Continues With 9.8% for 3rd Quarter

Venezuela's Central Bank released economic growth figures for the 3rd quarter of 2005, which indicate that the economy grew by 9.8% relative to the same quarter in the previous year. Private sector growth outpaced the public sector and non-oil sector out-paced the oil sector.

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CITGO to Begin Discounted Heating Oil Distribution to Poor U.S. Communities

Venezuela's program to distribute discounted heating oil to poor U.S. will begin over the thanksgiving holiday, when the Venezuelan-owned oil company Citgo begins its distribution to communities in Boston and New York.

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Mexico-Venezuela Dispute Continues, Despite Thaw Efforts

Mixed signals emerged in the dispute between Venezuela and Mexico, with an aide to Mexico's president saying the case was closed and Mexico's foreign ministry still demanding an apology, which Venezuela's foreign minister said was unaccaptable.

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Workers on Hunger Strike in Venezuelan Subway Project

Twenty five workers are on the 17th day of a hunger strike over the project to extend line 3 of the Caracas Metro, one of the Chavez government's signature infrastructure projects. They and other workers are demanding union recognition and money owed by their employer Geobrain.

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Key Suspect in Venezuelan Prosecutor's Murder Turns Himself In

Nelson Mezerhane, a prominent Venezuelan businessman and part-owner of one of the country's main opposition television stations, turned himself. following a week-long police effort to arrest him. His first hearing has been delayed.

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Venezuela and Mexico Withdraw Their Ambassadors

Venezuela withdrew its ambassador from Mexico while Mexico withdrew its ambassador from Venezuela. The moves were made as rhetoric between the two countries heated up, with each accusing the other of being disrespectful in the wake of the recently concluded Summit of the Americas.

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Chavez Rejects Community of Andean Nations and Embraces Mercosur

President Hugo Chavez said yesterday Venezuela will gain much more from closer links to Mercosur than to the Community of Andean Nations, or CAN. "Venezuela has nothing to gain from the current Andean Community, nothing," said Chavez.

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