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Another Key Venezuelan Opposition Party Drops Out of Election

Despite internal divisions, Venezuelan Opposition party Justice First decides to drop out of the elections after three other key parties do. The decision nearly split the party, which says that those members that want to run, may still do so.

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Three Key Venezuelan Opposition Parties Declare Withdrawal from Elections

Retreating from an earlier commitement to participate in the elections, AD, Copei, and Proyecto Venezuela, three important opposition parties announced that they would not participate in the Dec. 4 elections for the National Assembly unless the Electoral Council makes major changes or postpones the vote.

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Venezuela’s Electoral Council Agrees to Opposition Demand

Reacting to the threat that some opposition parties would withdraw their candidates from the National Assembly elections this Sunday, CNE President Jorge Rodriguez announced yesterday that fingerprint scanners that are supposed to prevent fraud will not be used.

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Venezuela and Spain Proceed with Military Deal, Despite US protest

The Spanish and Venezuelan Defense Ministers signed a deal for the sale of Spanish military equipment to Venezuela earlier today. The agreement comes after U.S. objections, which Chávez labeled “interference…by the imperialist government of the United States.”

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Venezuela and Colombia Gas Pipeline to Promote Regional Integration

Colombian President Álvaro Uribe’s visit to Venezuela has resulted in a $230 million gas pipeline agreement. Uribe and Chávez confirmed the strong ties between their two nations, and hopes to work toward a united Latin America.

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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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