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Venezuela Strengthens Alliance with Russia to Promote “Polycentrism”

President Chávez discusses cooperation accords with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev Tuesday. (Reuters)
President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela met for the first time with Russian President Dimitri Medvedev on Tuesday, to strengthen bilateral relations and discuss economic and military cooperation, which could expand the relationship between Russia and Latin America as a whole.

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Food Production on the Rise, Venezuelan Producers and Government Say

Agriculture and Land Minister Elías Jaua highlighted a boost in corn production that will eventually "guarantee that the arepas we are going to eat are produced in Venezuela" (ABN)
The Venezuelan government’s agricultural policies and the efforts of national food producers have significantly increased national food production amidst global shortages, the Venezuelan Agriculture and Land Minister, Elías Jaua, and several food producer federations reported last week.

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Hospitals Federalized, Health Care Salaries Boosted in Venezuelan Capital

After increasing health care worker salaries Thursday, President Chàvez urged workers to eliminate consumerism just as the government is eliminating worker exploitation.
The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, transferred the administration of public hospitals in the country’s capital from the municipal to the federal government Thursday, increased the salary of doctors on the public payroll, and allocated bonuses and permanent positions to public health care workers.

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U.S. to Send Envoy for Counternarcotics Cooperation, Chavez Responds to Obama

As a U.S. government official announced new negotiations over drug control cooperation, relations between President Chavez and U.S. Presidential nominee Barak Obama cooled when Obama called Venezuela “a destructive force” earlier this week.

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Amnesty International: Venezuela’s Record Mixed on Eliminating Violence Against Women

Amnesty International said the Venezuelan government needs to rise to the challenges set by its 2007 Law on Women`s Right to a Life Free of Violence.
Amnesty International called Venezuela’s 2007 Law on the Right of Women to a Life Free of Violence “an example for the rest of the region,” but said practical implementation of the law has been slow. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan Supreme Court created a special tribunal to manage domestic violence cases.

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Venezuelan Opposition Parties Nominate Seven Unity Candidates Despite Discord

"Unity will be a reality," UNT President Omar Barboza pledged Tuesday upon announcing opposition candidates for governor in seven of Venezuela's 23 states. (Archive)
The President of the Venezuelan opposition party Un Nuevo Tiempo announced Tuesday that a coalition of opposition parties has selected unified candidates for governor in seven of Venezuela’s 23 states. However, only four of the nine parties in the coalition were present during the announcements, indicating internal strife.

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Venezuela to Give Energy-Saving Light Bulbs to Low-Income U.S. Communities

The Venezuelan-owned Oil Company Citgo, together with the organization Citizen’s Energy, will provide about 460,000 energy efficient light bulbs to low-income households throughout the U.S., according to Citgo’s CEO Alejandro Granado.

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Venezuelan Newspaper: Most Candidate Disqualifications Are Not of Opposition Supporters

Comptroller General, Clodosboldo Russian (Archive/VTV)
Comptroller General Clodosbaldo Russián presented a revised list of people sanctioned for corruption during their terms in public office and who have been disqualified from running for office in the upcoming regional and local elections. According to Venezuela's largest newspaper, a majority of these are not opposition supporters.

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Venezuela Increases Oil Financing for Petrocaribe Nations

"This is what integration must be for, to unite us, to liberate us from the mechanisms of capitalism," said President Hugo Chávez, who moderated the Fifth Summit of PetroCaribe Sunday in Maracaibo. (Prensa Presidencial)
Member countries of Petrocaribe, the Caribbean energy integration organization that Venezuela initiated in 2005, agreed Sunday to adjust the terms of financing for the purchase of Venezuelan oil in order to lower the impact of soaring oil prices on Caribbean countries. Also, Guatemala joined the association as its 18th member.

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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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