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Brazil and Venezuela Establish a "Strategic Alliance"

Presidents Chavez and Lula da Silva met in Caracas today to sign 20 cooperation agreements in the areas of mining, energy, and agriculture. Lula said the agreements would create a "true strategic alliance" between the two countries.

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Venezuela's Chavez Accuses U.S. of Delaying Parts for Aging F-16 Fleet

Chavez said the U.S. is delaying the sale of spare parts for Venzuelan F-16s, affecting their operational service. He cited "unacceptable conditions" imposed by the U.S. in order to make repairs to the planes.

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Venezuela Signs Renegotiated ConocoPhillips Oil Exploration Contract

An oil deal potentially worth $10 billion that had been put on hold last month has been renegotiated and given a green light. The initial hold had made some investors nervous, but a meeting between Chavez and the CEO of ConocoPhillips has put the project back on track.

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Vice-President Says Venezuela’s Weapons Purchases are Transparent

Vice-President Rangel responded to US Ambassador Brownfield's comments that Venezuelan weapons purchases were not transparent by denying this was true and suggested that US concerns are actually based in losing market share.

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Venezuelan Opposition Lawyer Convicted of Slander

Tulio Alvarez was convicted of slander for having claimed that pro-Chavez legislator William Lara embezzled funds from the National Assembly. The sentence is suspended, pending appeals.

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Russia Dismisses US “Concerns” about Weapons Sales to Venezuela

Russian diplomats said that US concerns over Russian weapons sales to Venezuela are misplaced and suggest that bias may be involved, as the US is eager to limit its competitors in the arms trade.

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Venezuela's Scrutiny of Citgo and Overseas Oil Operations is Driven by Economics, Officials Say

The scrutiny of the international operations of Venezuela's state oil giant Pdvsa are not motivated by politics but by economic factors, according to Venezuelan officials and some oil analysts.

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Chavez and Uribe to Meet February 15 to Settle Venezuela-Colombia Dispute

Presidents Chavez and Uribe will meet February 15 to settle the details on resolving the crisis that had developed with the kidnapping of Colombian guerrilla leader Granda on Venezuelan soil. The meeting had been postponed due to Uribe falling sick.

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State of Emergency Declared in Seven Venezuelan States

Flooding and mudslides, due to heavy rainfall, caused the Venezuelan government to declare a state of emergency in seven of Venezuela's states, including the capital Caracas.

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Venezuela VP Says Country not in Arms Race. Tells U.S. to Stop Negative Statements

Venezuela's Vice-president Jose Rangel responded to statements by U.S. Assistant Sec. of State for the Western Hemisphere, Roger Noriega, who criticized Venezuela's deal to buy Russian helicopters and rifles.

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Venezuela’s Pdvsa President Outlines State of Company and Strategic Goals

Rafael Ramirez, the president of oil giant Pdvsa, said the company has had extraordinary earnings, but that at least five years are needed in order to recover from the 200-2003 management-led work stoppage and sabotage.

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Chávez Vetoes Penal Reform due to Venezuelan Prison Crisis (updated)

Chavez vetoed a controversial penal code reform bill, saying that many of its provisions were imprecise and unconstitutional. Among other things, the reform would have outlawed threatening protests at politicians' homes.

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Venezuela's Governing Party Sets Quotas for Women and Community Leaders for Next Elections

Chavez's MVR party decided to establish quotas so that women will make up 50% of the part's candidates in the upcoming elections. Similarly, community leaders and youth will also be guaranteed representation.

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General Accused of Terrorism Arrested in Venezuela

Venezuela's military intelligence service arrested General Felipe Rodriguez yesterday. Rodriguez is accused of being the mastermind behind the bombing of the Spanish and Colombian consulates two years ago and of being involved in four murders.

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Venezuela-Colombia Meeting Canceled Due to Uribe Illness

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe cancelled a scheduled meeting with Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, yesterday, due to what was initially reported as a case of food poisoning. Uribe and Chávez had planned to meet to formalize a resolution to the diplomatic crisis that has paralyzed diplomatic relations between the neighboring countries for nearly a month.

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