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Chavez Denounces US “Economic Plan” Against Venezuela

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez yesterday responded to comments made last week by U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice who accused him of “destroying” Venezuela “economically, politically.” Chavez said it showed there was now an “economic plan against Venezuela.”

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Venezuela Expands Regulation of Food Production

Maria Cristina Iglesias, the Minister of Light Industry and Elias Jaua, the Minister of Agriculture, announced yesterday that the government will begin regulating all prices in the production chain of meat. Also, Chavez announced that food distributors could be nationalized if they resist these newest measures.

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Venezuelan Government and Verizon Agree to Telecom Nationalization

The Venezuelan government and New York-based Verizon Communications signed a memorandum of understanding for the government’s purchase of the private company’s majority stake in the Venezuela's largest telecommunications company CANTV.

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Venezuelan Government Announces Elimination of Tax on Meat

The Venezuelan Government announced yesterday that it would remove value added tax (VAT) on meat and other foodstuffs in a set of new measures aimed at curbing inflation. The measures also include agricultural subsidies for some basic products, and two decree laws to combat food hoarding.

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Venezuela Issues $5 Billion in Bonds, Investment Rating Improves

Ricardo Sanguino, head of the Venezuelan National Assembly’s finance commission, announced Wednesday that the government planned to issue US$5 billion (€3.85 billion) in bonds, as part of a drive to curb a growing rise in the inflation rate.

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Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Bishop, Slam Rice over Comments on Venezuela

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro yesterday rejected comments made by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice on Wednesday, which accused Chavez of “destroying” Venezuela. Monsignor Lückert of Venezuela's Bishop's Conference said Rice's claim US officials met with Church offials was a "lie."

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Venezuela and Electric Company Sign Memorandum for Nationalization

Venezuela’s state owned oil company PDVSA agreed to purchase a majority stake in EDC, Venezuela’s largest electric company, for $739 million. The agreement was formalized in a memorandum of understanding with AES, the U.S.-based company that currently owns 82.14% of EDC

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Venezuela’s Electoral Council Rules Referendum Petition Signatures to be Kept Secret

Venezuela’s National Electoral Council (CNE) yesterday announced that it will protect the identity of anyone signing a recall referendum petition to revoke the mandates of publicly elected officials, and will instead use fingerprints to verify the information supplied by referendum petitioners.

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Foreign Minister: Venezuela Rejects U.S. Blackmail in Fight Against Drugs

Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro stated yesterday that Venezuela will not give in to U.S. “blackmail” in the fight against drug trafficking. Monday the U.S. State Department had announced that it was cutting Venezuela’s anti-drug trafficking aid of $2.2 million due to Venezuela’s supposed lack of cooperation in the anti-drug effort.

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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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