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Anti-Chávez Student Group Attacks Police, Creates Chaos in Mérida, Venezuela

Advocating the fall of the government, the students waged violence that left one student dead, two police officers shot, dozens more wounded, and sections of the city sacked and destroyed. (Tamara Pearson)
Students opposed to the Chavez government fired gunshots and threw Molotov cocktails at police officers, blockaded streets using seized university buses, and ransacked sections of the Andean town of Mérida on Thursday and Friday, to protest crime and insecurity in the city.

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Venezuelan and Colombian Presidents Mend Fences

Presidents Chavez and Uribe hold a press conference in the peninsula of Paraguaná, following their two-hour private meeting (Juan Carlos Solórzano/Prensa Presidencial)
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez and Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe reconciled and said they “moved on” to overcome differences, following a two-hour private meeting on Friday.

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Chávez Criticizes Divisions, Urges Dialogue within Venezuela’s Bolivarian Alliance

President Hugo Chávez and PSUV Vice President Alberto Muller Rojas converse at a PSUV event Wednesday. (Aporrea)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez criticized allies in the Patriotic Alliance - a coalition of political parties which support the “Bolivarian Revolution” led by Chávez - for supporting candidates in the upcoming regional and local elections who will compete with PSUV candidates.

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Venezuelan Consumption Increases and Inflation Remains High

According to the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV), consumer prices rose by 2.4% in June, bringing total accumulated inflation for the first half of this year to 15.1%. Meanwhile, Venezuelans are spending more with their credits cards, while new car sales have cooled off relative to the 2007 boom.

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Chávez Calls for Renewal of U.S.-Venezuela Dialogue

President Hugo Chavez and U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela, Patrick Duddy (Archive/Prensa Presidencial)
While celebrating Venezuela’s Independence day on Saturday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez expressed his desire to renew anti-drug collaboration and re-open dialogue with the United States. Chávez also guaranteed that his administration has no desire for war.

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Venezuela Reduces Malnutrition in Children to 4%

According to Venezuela’s National Nutrition Institute (INN), slightly more than 4% of Venezuelan children under the age of 5 suffered malnutrition in 2007 according to the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Non-Aligned Countries Endorse Venezuelan Proposal for Alternative World Media

Last week, Non-aligned countries agreed to construct a world system of news, radio, and information-sharing to connect and represent countries in the Global South.
At the 7th Conference of Information Ministers of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries held in Venezuela’s Margarita Island last week, more than 80 country delegations endorsed Venezuela’s proposal to create an alternative worldwide media network.

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Venezuela Celebrates Liberation of 15 FARC Hostages

Ingrid Betancourt (right) standing next to her mother Yolanda Pulecio shortly after she was freed. (ABN)
The Venezuelan government expressed its “jubilation” Wednesday about the liberation of 15 hostages who had been held captive for years by the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC). Venezuela also reiterated its call for the FARC to liberate all its hostages.

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Venezuela Urges United Response to Food and Energy Crises at MERCOSUR Summit

10 South American countries agreed to allow passport-free cross-border travel at the MERCOSUR summit Tuesday.
At the 35th Summit of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) on Tuesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez advocated deepening South American independence from imperialist countries through united responses to social problems.

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Brazil and Venezuela Strengthen Bilateral and Regional Integration

Lula said the "extraordinary" oil accords with Venezuela will improve national sovereignty, and Chávez said relations with Brazil are at an "optimum level." (El Universal)
The President of Brazil, Lula, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez met in Caracas last Friday to discuss the progress of bilateral accords regarding the production and distribution of energy and food, MERCOSUR, educational exchange, border relations, and the nascent South American Defense Council.

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Venezuela Halts Mining in Forest Preserve, but Renews Permit Discussions

Over the past three years, the Venezuelan government has announced policies to benefit small-scale gold mining cooperatives in the Imataca Forest region.
Despite the Venezuelan Environment Ministry’s proclamation of sweeping restrictions on mining in southeastern Venezuela’s Imataca Forest, Toronto-based Crystallex and Spokane, Washington-based Gold Reserve, Inc. have told investors that the ministry might still grant them permits for new gold mines.

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Venezuela's National Assembly Rejects Petition to Impeach Two Supreme Court Judges

National Assembly President Cilia Flores announced Monday that the motion against the judges would not proceed "because the legal conditions for removing the judges from their posts is not there." (Prensa AN)
Venezuela's National Assembly dismissed what had become a highly politicized motion for the impeachment of two judges on the Venezuelan Supreme Tribunal of Justice.

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New Venezuelan Finance Minister Presents Plan to Fight Inflation

Predicting further oil price increase, Finance Minister Ali Rodríguez emphasized that federal investment in food production must be accompanied by a cultural shift from a profit-driven economy to a "productive, socialist" new ethic. (El Nacional)
Ali Rodriguez, Venezuela's new Finance Minister, detailed ministry plans on Sunday to take on the “immediate challenge” of inflation by investing Venezuela’s “overflowing” oil revenues in a broadened state apparatus to stimulate agricultural production and gradually leave behind “state capitalism.”

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Venezuela and OAS Reject EU Anti-Immigrant “Law of Shame”

President Hugo Chávez, alongside visiting Paraguayan President-elect Fernando Lugo in Caracas, threatened to close off investment opportunities to European countries that further criminalize immigrants. (ABN)
The immigrant incarceration and deportation law passed by the European Union’s (EU) parliament on Wednesday is a “law of shame,” according to Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who threatened economic retaliation and urged Latin American and world leaders to unite against the measure.

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U.S. Accusations of Venezuelan Support for Hezbollah “Mud Slinging” Says Venezuelan Official

Liutenant Colonel Hector Herrera, President of Venezuela's Bolivarian Civil-Military Front (RNV).
A “new, unfounded accusation” is how the President of Venezuela’s Bolivarian Civil-Military Front, Lieutenant Colonel Héctor Herrera, described allegations by the U.S. Treasury Department that a Venezuelan diplomat and Venezuelan travel agent, both of Lebanese decent, are financial supporters of Hezbollah.

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