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Venezuela Replaces Decades-Old Intelligence Institutions

Interior and Justice Minister Ramón Rodríguez Chacín also inaugurated a pilot project of the National Plan for Crime Prevention Wednesday in which local residents will be protagonists in team with government entities. (ABN)
The Venezuelan Minister of Justice and the Interior, Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, announced Wednesday that the two former intelligence agencies will be eliminated and replaced by new state intelligence organisms that will operate under a new Law on Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence.

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Venezuelan Economy Grows for 18th Consecutive Quarter

Central Bank figures show an overall increase of Gross Domestic Product by 4.8 percent for the first quarter of 2008, however this is down from 8.8 percent in the same quarter last year.

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Venezuela to Expand National Electricity Production for Economic Growth

PResident Chavez speaks to workers at the Central Hidroeléctrica de Tocoma, in Bolivar state, to observe advances in the construction of the new dam. (Francisco Batista/Prensa Presidencial)
President Chávez announced Saturday that the country’s electricity generation capacity will be expanded by nearly 40% by way of 42 structural expansion projects over the next six years as part of the “Socialist Plan of the Nation.”

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Controversy Erupts Over Nominations for PSUV Candidacies in Venezuela

Supporters of Julio Chavez rally outside PSUV headquarters in Lara (JCP)

Controversies erupted in the past few days over the nomination process for candidates for the upcoming November gubernatorial and mayoral elections. One of these controversies, involving a popular mayor who wants to run for governor of his state was resolved following President Chavez's intervention.

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New Conservative London Mayor Cancels Oil Deal with Venezuela

Recently elected conservative Mayor of London, Boris Johnson
London’s recently elected Tory mayor, Boris Johnson, announced that he was scrapping a discounted oil agreement with Venezuela that provides half price bus fares for London ’s poorest citizens. Fares for those on Income Support are expected to double by the end of year.

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South American Nations Form New Regional Grouping: UNASUR

Venezuela's President Chavez and Colombia's President Uribe shake hands at the UNASR summit, while Chavez's daughter (far right) looks on. (Francisco Batista/Prensa Presidencial)
At a summit in Brasilia, Brazil, on Friday, 12 South American countries formally constituted the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), a regional integration initiative which began informally in 2004.

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United Socialist Party of Venezuela Gets Ready to Choose Candidates for Regional Elections

Dario Vivas, Chair of the PSUV's Events and Mobilization Commission (Aporrea)
The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) is set to organize a 300,000 strong network of “permanent mobilization” to carry out political activity “including the defense of Venezuelan sovereignty,” according to Darío Vivas, head of the PSUV’s Events and Mobilization Commission.

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Bolivia and Venezuela Sign Military Cooperation Agreement

Bolivian President Evo Morales said his country shall have "it´s own military doctrine" with Venezuelan assistance. (ABN)
Bolivian President Evo Morales and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez met in Caracas Thursday evening to discuss bilateral relations between the two countries and to sign a military cooperation agreement before traveling together to the summit of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).

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Venezuela’s Only Contacts with FARC were for Humanitarian Exchange Says Minister

The Venezuelan Minister of the Interior and Justice, Ramón Rodríguez Chacín, told the press on Tuesday that President Hugo Chávez does not have any “direct relationship” with the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC).

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Venezuela Dissatisfied with U.S. Explanation for Airspace Violation

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro (Archive).
Venezuela’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nicolás Maduro, declared on Tuesday that the Venezuelan government is not satisfied with the explanation provided by U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy in reference to the violation of Venezuelan airspace by a U.S. Navy plane.

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United Socialist Party of Venezuela Presents Pre-Candidates for Regional Elections

The United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), handed over a list of approximately 5,000 pre-candidates to the National Electoral Council on Sunday as the party gears up for the June 1 internal elections of candidates for the upcoming state and local elections in November.

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Venezuela Proposes Food Crisis Fund at Controversial Trans-Atlantic Summit

Chávez commented at the summit, "The market cannot regulate people's lives", and Bolivian President Evo Morales said the summit was organized to censor socialist critiques of free trade. (ABN)
Fifty heads of state from Latin America, the Caribbean, and the European Union (EU) pledged to strengthen trade relations in order to fight poverty and promote sustainable development at a two-day summit that concluded Saturday in Lima, Peru.

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Venezuela Denounces Illegal Incursion of Colombian Troops

Satellite photo of the zone with blue marking showing where Colombian troops were found (Google Maps).
Venezuelan Information Minister Andrés Izarra, confirmed that the government has proof of that sixty Colombian troops made an illegal military incursion into Venezuelan territory last Friday. “We have photos and other materials that demonstrate the military incursion into our territory,” said Izarra.

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Venezuela Dismisses Interpol Presentation, Computer Experts Question Report’s Reliability

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called the Interpol analysis of the supposed FARC data a "media show." (Marcelo García/Prensa Presidencial)
“A media show” is how President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela referred to the report presentation, in which Interpol said that it found no evidence of tampering with computers that supposedly belonged to one of Colombia’s rebel groups.

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Venezuelan Opposition Divided as It Seeks to Nominate Candidates

UNT President Omar Barboza (El Tiempo)
A controversy has broken out inside Venezuela’s largest opposition party, A New Era (UNT), over a lack of democracy in the party’s internal candidate selection process for the upcoming elections. UNT President Omar Barboza, announced that the party had selected candidates for 314 of Venezuela’s 335 municipalities by “consensus.”

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