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Venezuelan Steel Company to be Nationalized in Wake of Labor Conflict

Early Wednesday morning, the Vice President of Venezuela, Ramón Carrizalez, announced the nationalization of Argentine-controlled Ternium Sidor, concluding a 14-month collective contract dispute between the company and the United Steel Industry Workers Union (SUTISS).

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Venezuela To Control at Least 60% of Nationalized Cement Companies

Venezuela's Minister of energy and Petroleum, Rafael Ramirez (Prensa Presidencial)
Venezuela will arrange mixed enterprises with Venezuela’s main cement producers, in which the state will control at least a 60% share, similar to the setup with several transnational oil companies, the Venezuelan Oil and Energy Minister Rafael Ramírez clarified Tuesday.

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Venezuelan Inflation Drops Slightly in March, to 1.7%

Planning and Development Minister Haiman el Troudi (Prensa Presidencial)
Venezuela's Central Bank announced that the country's inflation rate had dropped from 2.1% in February to 1.7% in March, reflecting a modest success of the government's effort to rein in inflation, said Venezuela's Planning Minister Haiman el Troudi.

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Venezuelan Vice-President Meets with Steel Union Following Contract Rejection

SUTISS President José Rodríguez speaks with the press
The Vice President of Venezuela, Ramón Carrizalez, met on Monday with the president of the United Steel Industry Workers Union in an attempt to mediate the 14 month-old collective labor contract dispute following the workers' rejection of the company's final wage settlement offer.

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Venezuela To Nationalize Cement Industry in Order to Boost Construction

The Mexican-owned Cemex is Venezuela's largest cement producer.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced Thursday that the cement industry in Venezuela will be nationalized, saying that foreign companies export cement while the Venezuelan market suffers from high prices and shortages.

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“Perverse Intention” Behind Colombian Rebel Documents Says Venezuelan Foreign Minister

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro speaks to the press (Aporrea).
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister, Nicolás Maduro, denied the authenticity of documents that the Colombian government claims were found in a computer that belonged to Raúl Reyes, the second in command of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

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Venezuelan Steel Workers to Vote on New Contract, Possibly Ending Year-Long Conflict

Workers belonging to the Sidor union SUTISS striking outside the steel plant, shortly before the possible end of a year-long labor conflict.
The workers and the management at Ternium Sidor, Latin America's fourth-largest steel plant will hold two separate referenda this week to assess worker sentiments regarding the company's final pay raise offer amidst a conflict over a collective contract that is now finishing its 13th month.

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Venezuelan Media Terrorism Conference Denounces Negative Role of Private Media

Journalists, communications specialists, and other participants in the Latin American Meeting against Media Terrorism in Caracas last weekend demanded that political leaders in the region put the issue of media terrorism on the agenda of all international forums and meetings in which they participate.

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Chavez Announces $3 Billion for Venezuela’s “Energy” Revolution

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during his talk show Aló Presidente on Sunday. (Prensa Miraflores)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez approved funds and announced new plans for an "energy" revolution on his weekly talk show Aló Presidente yesterday. The president also inaugurated a new "socialist" community of houses built from oil derivatives.

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Venezuelan National Assembly Investigates Chavez Brothers for Corruption

Argenis Chavez, the brother of President Hugo Chavez (Archive)
The Comptroller's Commission of the Venezuelan National Assembly launched investigations this week into accusations that Argenis and Narciso Chávez, two brothers of President Hugo Chávez, used front persons to purchase several farms in the western state of Barinas.

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Venezuela and Brazil Strengthen Cooperation via Refinery and 7 Other Agreements

Chávez and Lula visit the construction site for the Abreu e Lima refinery.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez signed eight bilateral cooperation accords in the areas of energy, education, and agriculture Wednesday, including a preliminary agreement for the new José Inacio Abreu e Lima oil refinery.

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Chávez Emphasizes Global Context of Venezuelan Food Shortages

In an international press conference Tuesday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez expressed concern for a potential world food crisis and criticized the diversion of food supplies for biofuel, while Venezuela and other Global South countries struggle with food shortages.

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Venezuela-Colombia Tensions Rise Again After Colombian Defense Minister’s Remarks

President Chavez at a press conference with foreign journalists on Tuesday (Winston Bravo, ABN)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez classified Colombia's Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos, as a "spokesperson for war" and accused him of renewing tensions after he made comments justifying Colombia's illegal March 1 military raid on rebel camp in Ecuador which triggered a regional crisis.

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New Venezuelan Oil Tax to Fund Public Health Care Programs

President Chavez announces an expansion of the medical care program in the city of Maracaibo.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced a new tax on extraordinary oil profits Monday, the revenue of which will help fund the expansion of health care programs known as the Barrio Adentro “missions,” which bring health care to marginalized communities with the help of Cuban doctors.

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Venezuela to Host Latin American Meeting Against Media Terrorism

Minister of Communication and Information Andrés Izarra (Archive)
Andrés Izarra, the Venezuelan Minister of Communication and Information, announced that a Latin American Meeting against Media Terrorism will examine the media war waged by domestic and foreign private media against the Venezuelan and other like-minded leftist governments.

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