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Poverty and Unemployment Down significantly in Venezuela in 2005

Accoridng to Venezuela's National Institute of Statistics, unemployment and poverty have both been dropping significantly in 2005. Unemployment is now at 11.5% and income poverty at 38.5%. These figures are said to be a direct result of the consistent economic growth for the past two years.

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Venezuela to Expel U.S. Evangelical Group

Venezuela will expel the U.S. evangelical group New Tribes Mission, which has been active in indigenous communities along the southern border with Colombia and Brazil since 1946, President Hugo Chávez announced Wednesday.

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Venezuela Rejects Criticism of Inter-American Press Association

The Inter-American Press Association, an association of media outlet owners, issued a report at its annual meeting in which it once again accused the Chavez government of stifling freedom of the press. Vice-President Rangel dismissed the report, saying that the IAPA has disqualified itself from making such judgements.

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Energy Minister Denies Venezuela is Planning to Buy Argentinean Nuclear Reactor

Following a report in the Argentinan newspaper Clarín that Venezuela was pursuing the purchase of an Argentinean nuclear reactor, Venezuela's Minister of Energy and Petroleum declared the report to be false and that Venezuela was merely looking to explore how it could train for and study nuclear technology in cooperation with Argentina.

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Venezuelan Officials Call Pat Robertson’s Latest Comments “Crazy”

Venezuelan officials, including the Vice-President, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the U.S., and the President of Venezuela’s National Assembly, emphasized the ridiculousness and irrationality of Pat Robertson’s latest comments about Venezuela that he made on CNN.

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Pro-Chavez Union Leaders in Venezuela Urge Chavez to Do Better

Orlando Cirinos, one of the leaders of the pro-government union federation UNT and Ramon Machuca of the pro-government steel workers union, both recently strongly criticized Chavez for not paying enough attention to workers' concerns.

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Venezuelan Government Says 96 Campesinos were Assassinated 1999 to 2004

Reacting to complaints from peasant organizations, the Attorney General's office presented results of an investigation into the assassination of numerous peasant leaders and found that 96 such leaders have been assassinated in Venezuela in the past six years. Only a small fraction of these have led to prosecutions.

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Communities in Venezuela Receive Cash for Urban Regeneration Projects

At a recent event, President Chavez distributed $36 million for community-led urban renewal projects. The money goes to urban land committees, which have shot up throughout the country with the purpose of acquiring land titles to their self-built homes.

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Venezuela’s Central Bank Confirms it Deposited $20 Billion in Swiss Bank

Venezuela's Central Bank director confirmed that Venezuela has indeed transferred $20 billion of its foreign reserves from the U.S. to European banks in the past four months. He said that the decision was purely economic and was made without pressure from the President.

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Venezuelan Court Releases 2 Officers and 38 others Involved Destabilization Plan

A Venezuelan military court released 2 officers and 38 civilian colombians who were being held since May 2004 for their involvement in a plan to attack the presidential palace. The trial will proceed against four other officers and 62 colombians, who are considered to have been directly involved in the plan.

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Venezuela Proposes New Anti-Drug Trafficking Agreement to the U.S.

During a TV interview, Interior Minister Jesse Chacon renewed a proposal to the U.S., that Venezuela would be willing to re-start its cooperation in fighting drugs, as long as all police operations are undertaken by Venezuelan officials. This type of agreement is already in place with all other countries involved in drug control in Venezuela.

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Venezuela to Invest in Refineries in Brazil and Argentina

Venezuela reached separate agreements with both Brazil and Argentina to invest in refineries. The refineries will allow Venezuela to export more oil to Brazil and Argentina and will contribute to the regional energy integration of Latin America, according to President Chavez.

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Venezuela Withdraws Foreign Reserves from U.S.

President Chavez announced that Venezuela has withdrawn all its foreign reserves from the U.S. and deposited them in European banks, due to "threats" from the U.S. Chavez also suggested that south American nations deposit their reserves in a South American bank.

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6th World Social Forum Expects 80,000 to Come to Venezuela

Edgardo Lander, a spokesperson for the organizing committee of the 6th WSF in Caracas, presented plans for the event and said that 80-100,000 participants are expected this year. Lander presented the planning, following a meeting with Venezuela's Vice-President, to request logistical help.

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Venezuela’s Ambassador: “Posada Carriles is the Osama Bin Laden of Latin America”

Reacting to the denial of a deportation order for Luis Posada Carriles, Venezuela's Ambassador to the U.S. called Posada the "Osama Bin Ladin of Latin America" and said that the U.S. was exercising double-standards in the war against terrorism.

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