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U.S. Intelligence Director Negroponte Slams Venezuela

Negroponte accused the Chavez government of spending millions on an extravagant foriegn policy and of suffocating democracy in Venezuela. Venezuelan officials reacted by pointing out that Negroponte is one of the shadiest characters in the Bush administration.

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Venezuela Lowers Foreign Debt by $4.7 Billion

Venezuela plans to spend $4.7 billion to buy back a portion of its external debt. The debt buy-back will lower Venezuela´s total foreign debt burden by 15.2% and will free up as much as $600 million in interest payments.

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Venezuela to Reopen Natural Gas Program for Cars

Venezuela intends to reopen its vehicular natural gas program, announced PdVSA Director Asdrubal Chávez last week. The program promises environmental and economic benefits for the South American country.

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Opposition Groups Begin Organizing For December Presidential Election

Opposition groups break into two overlapping camps as they discuss the conditions on which they will run in the upcoming election.

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Church and Business Decline to Help Select New Venezuelan Electoral Council

Both Venezuela's Episcopal Conference, which represents the Catholic church in Venezuela, and Fedecamaras, which represents Venezuela's largest businesses, declined to participate in the nomination process for a new electoral council.

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Chavez Dismisses 3 Ministers Connected with Food Problems in Venezuela

Three ministers, all of whom have been involved in recent problems and irregularities related to food production and distribution in Venezuela, are being asked to leave.

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Chavez Threatens Opposition with Referendum on Third Term in Office

During his weekly Sunday television show, President Chavez said that if the opposition boycotts the December presidential elections, he might propose a referendum that would amend the constitution and allow him to run a third time as president.

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Venezuelan Opposition Case Thrown Out of International Criminal Court

The prosecutor in charge of exmining the evidence for a case against President Hugo Chavez, for crimes against humanity, dismissed the case, saying that plaintiffs had privuded insufficient evidence for a trial.

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US Secretary of State Reverses Brief Thaw in Relations with Venezuela

Shortly after a positive meeting between the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State and Venezuela's Ambassador to the U.S., Condoleezza Rice made strong statements against Venezuela that accused Chavez of influencing other countries away from democracy. The Bush government seeks to create "united front" against Chavez in response.

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Venezuela’s Telecommunications Commission Sanctions 22 Media Outlets

Conatel, Venezuela’s Telecommunications Commission, has sanctioned 22 media outlets for alleged violations of the Law of Social Responsibility, mostly involving failure to submit broadcast tapes.

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Venezuelan Military Officers Charged with Corruption

17 military officers were charged with corruption for embezzling $1.3 million from a sugar plantation in the state of Barinas. The Minister of Agriculture denied he new about the charges a year ago, as some had reported.

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Venezuela Buys More Argentine Debt

Venezuela recently bought over $300 million in Argentine debt, apparently part of a strategy to help Argentina replenish its reserves after an IMF payoff and to increase regional integration.

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Final Deadline Passes for US Missionaries to Leave Venezuela

The deadline for missionaries from the New Tribes evangelical group has passed, causing most of them to leave Venezuela. Last November, accusing them of spying and of imposing values on indigenous populations, President Chavez gave the group three months to leave the country.

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Venezuelan Government and CITGO Launch Low-Cost Heating Oil Program in Delaware

State homeless shelters and 20,000 people in Delaware will benefit from more than 1 million gallons of oil provided by CITGO under Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's heating oil assistance program.

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Venezuela and US Want Better Relations in Spite of Recent Controversy

Venezuelan President Chavez said his government is willing to change the state of relations if the US "shows some respect for Venezuela. Venezuela's US Ambassador complains of lack of acces to State Department officials for weeks.

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