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Venezuela Advances in Dialogue with Landowners for Land Reform

President Chavez announced that negotiations with land owners of large tracts of idle land is proceeding well and that several have agreed to turn over portions of the land to the government for redistribution to poor farmers.

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France and Venezuela Agree to Promote “Multipolar” World, Says Chavez

On Chavez's third stop in his tour of Europe, in France, he said that France and Venezuela share the same vision for international politics, of creating a multi-polar world, in which no country would dominate world affairs.

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Corruption Report Claims Business as usual in Venezuela

Transparency International released its Corruption Perception Index this week and ranked Venezuela as one of the most corrupt countries. Venezuela's ranking, though has changed little since the index was first created and Venezuelan government officials reacted by saying that the organization was deliberately trying to discredit the Chavez government.

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Venezuela Increases Spending Social Programs and Balances Budget

The Finance Minister, Nelson Merentes, presented President Chavez's 2006 budget proposal to the National Assembly. According to the proposal, spending would increase by 27% over the previous year and 41% is slated for social programs. For the first time in decades, most of the revenue will come from non-oil taxes.

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Chavez Promotes Venezuelan Cooperation with Europe and Opposition to US in Italy

On the second leg of his tour of Europe, Chavez went to Italy, where he promoted Latin American cooperation with Europe. At the 60th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture organization Chavez accused the U.S. of being responsible for being a threat to life on earth.

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Ibero-American Summit Brings Benefits for Venezuela and Cuba

The Ibero-American summit, which included nearly all heads of state of Latin America, plus Portugal and Spain concluded in Salamanca, Spain over the weekend, with a statement supporting the extradition of Posada Carriles from the US and a call for an end to the US blockade of Cuba, among other issues.

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Uruguay Announces Venezuela will be a Full Member of Mercosur

Uruguay's Foreign Minister announced at the start of the 15th Ibero-American Summit that Venezuela will be admitted as full member of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur) as of December of this year. The move further advances Latin American integration, since Venezuela is also a full member of the Community of Andean Nations.

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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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