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Colombian Hostages Reunited With Their Families In Venezuela

Consuelo Gonzalez de Perdomo (left) and Clara Rojas (far right) with President Chavez at Miraflores (ABN)
Two high profile hostages Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalo de Perdomo, held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) for years, were reunited with their families in an emotional welcome at the Caracas International Airport Thursday afternoon.

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Colombian Hostages Released to Venezuela

President Chavez announced the release of two Colombian hostages during a ceremony to receive the  Prime Minister of Dominica, President Chavez announced the release of two hostages held by rebels in Colombia. (ABN)
Venezuelan President Chavez announced that two hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) have been successfully liberated in a Venezuelan led humanitarian mission today.

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Venezuela Readies Another Mission to Receive Two Colombian Guerrilla Hostages

Two Venezuelan helicopters with Red Cross emblems ready to find two Colombian hostages (EFE)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced Wednesday that that he had received coordinates from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), for the site where the guerilla group says they will release two hostages, former vice-presidential candidate Clara Rojas and ex-legislator Consuelo Gonzalez.

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Reducing Inflation is Top Priority for Venezuelan Government

Finance Minister Rafael Isea (ABN/Wiston Bravo)
Venezuela's newly named Finance Minister, Rafael Isea, said yesterday that reducing inflation from 22.5% in 2007 to 11% in 2008 "has became our primary objective." This reduction is to be carried out without compromising social wellbeing, said Isea.

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Venezuela's Chavez Announces Plans for Rectification and Continued Advance

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during his TV and radio program Aló Presidente on Sunday (Marcos Colina)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez started up his usual Sunday TV and radio program Aló Presidente again yesterday for the first time in more than 2 months, announcing that 2008 will be the year of the three R's; review, rectify, and re-advance.

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Chavez Announces Major Cabinet Reshuffle

The newly designated Vice-President Ramon Carrizales (Aporrea)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced a "profound restructuring" of his government, including the appointment of a new Vice-President and changes in up to 13 out of 27 ministries in a surprise telephone call to current affairs program Dando y Dando on Thursday night.

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Venezuelan President’s Amnesty for Coup Participants is Praised and Criticised

Coup president Pedro Carmona swears himself into office on April 12, 2002 (Archive)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez granted amnesty on Monday to a number of opposition leaders connected to the shortlived military coup against his government in April 2002 and a two month oil industry shutdown which caused an estimated $10 billion dollars damage to the economy and ended in January 2003.

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Colombian Government Torpedoed Venezuelan-Mediated Hostage Return, Say Rebels

Venezuelan President Chavez speaks to the press after the hostage return operation was cancelled, with former Argentinean President Nestor Kirchner in the background. (AP)
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), temporarily suspended on Monday the operation lead by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for the liberation of three hostages. According to the FARC, intensified Colombian military operations made it impossible to safely release the captives.

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Venezuela Attends 4th Annual Petrocaribe Summit in Cuba

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez with Cuban leader Raul Castro in Santiago de Cuba (AFP)
The 4th Summit of Petrocaribe, a regional energy organization initiated by Venezuela, concluded in the Cuban city of Cienfuegos Friday, with member nations signing new agreements to promote economic and social development and regional energy integration.

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Venezuela Enters Fifth Consecutive Year of Economic Growth

The Venezuelan economy enters its fifth consecutive year of sustained growth in 2008, according to predictions from the Economic Commission for Latin America. Venezuela had the third fastest growing economy in the region for 2007, but the growing demand of the domestic market could create problems of undersupply in 2008, say analysts.

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Chavez Prepares to Receive FARC Hostages in Venezuela

Clara Rojas, held by the FARC since 2002 (Univision)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez confirmed that he is preparing to receive three hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). The FARC released a communiqué on Tuesday indicating that they would release the hostages to President Chavez, and it is believed that the hostages are now on their way to Venezuela.

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Venezuela Says US Trying to Divide Latin America

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during a speech on Monday (Prensa Presidencial)
President Hugo Chavez accused the US government of launching an attack against Venezuela and Argentina in an effort to damage their relations. US authorities made new charges on Monday regarding the infamous “suitcase scandal” but Venezuela and Argentina accused the US of engineering a campaign to divide them.

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Venezuela Stresses Integration at Mercosur Summit

34th Summit of Chiefs of States of Mercosur, Montevideo (Notimex)
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez attended the 34th Summit of Heads of States of the Common Market of the South (Mercosur), in Montevideo today to support his country's bid for full membership of the regional trading block. The presidents of all four member nations expressed their full support for Venezuela's entry.

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Venezuela and Brazil Strengthen Economic Ties

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva during a meeting in Caracas last week (Miraflores)
The Venezuelan President and his Brazilian counterpart signed nine cooperative agreements last week in Caracas. Both countries agreed to strengthen ties in the areas of health and agriculture, as well as the joint construction of an oil refinery, a bilateral development fund, and cooperation in the petrochemical sector.

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Venezuela, Argentina Accuse US of Smear Campaign

Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez, Venezuelan-American Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (AFP)
Venezuela and Argentina accused the United States of carrying out a smear campaign against them yesterday after US officials arrested four individuals in Miami. The individuals were accused of trying to cover up an "international scandal" between Venezuela and Argentina, but both countries have rejected the claims.

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