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Venezuela Accuses U.S. DEA of Being a “Drug Cartel”

The Venezuelan government responded yesterday to United States Drug Czar John Walters' criticisms that Venezuela is not cooperating with the United States in the fight against drugs by saying that the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is a "drug cartel."

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United Socialist Party of Venezuela Holds Membership Drive

Thousands of Venezuelans came out yesterday in Caracas and in four other Venezuelan states to register for the new United Socialist Party of Venezuela. To emphasize the importance of the new party, President Hugo Chavez canceled his weekly TV program Aló Presidente yesterday in order to register himself in the new party.

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Venezuela Strengthens Support for Industry, Announces Possible Nationalizations

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced the possibility of new nationalizations, including private banks and the steel industry, at an event to celebrate the industrial program Fábrica Adentro yesterday.

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Venezuela Takes Control of the Orinoco Oil Reserves

The Venezuelan government took control of the Orinoco oil installations yesterday, completing the process of “re-nationalization” of the nation's oil reserves. Energy Minister Rafael Ramírez took formal control of the installations in a symbolic event at midnight on April 30th. Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez then led another event on May 1st

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Competing May Day Demonstrations in Venezuela (Again)

Just as in previous years, two Venezuelan union federations organized competing demonstrations in support of the May 1 International Workers’ Day. While the pro-government demonstration attracted more marchers, it appeared more divided than the smaller anti-Chavez demonstration.

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Venezuela: 20% Minimum Salary Raise, Withdrawal from World Bank and IMF

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced yesterday that the country’s minimum wage would be raised by 20%, to $286 per month, and that Venezuela would withdraw its membership from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Also, Chavez said that by 2010 the Venezuelan work week will be lowered from 44 to 36 hours.

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ALBA Summit Creates New Model for Latin American Integration

The Fifth Summit of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA) finished Sunday with important agreements to form a new model of integration for Latin America. Heads of state from Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Haiti left Venezuela today after signing several strategic agreements and establishing a formal organizational structure for ALBA.

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5th ALBA Summit in Venezuela Strengthens Regional Integration

With an eye toward the integration and development of their countries, the leaders of Bolivia, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Haiti met this weekend in Venezuela for the 5th ALBA Summit. Among the many proposals, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez proposed the extension of the Venezuelan health and education programs to all the nations of ALBA, as well as supplying all of their energy needs.

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Oil Companies Give Venezuela Control

Four major oil companies on Wednesday agreed to cede control of Venezuela's last remaining privately run oil projects to President Hugo Chavez's government, but ConocoPhillips resisted, prompting warnings that its fields could be taken over outright.

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Venezuelan TV Channel Case to Go Before the OAS Human Rights Court

The Inter-American Human Rights Commission of the Organization of American States (OAS) accused the Venezuelan government of "human rights violations" in the case of the private television channel RCTV. The case will now go before the Inter-American Human Rights Court, reported RCTV yesterday.

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Poll: Chavez Approval 65%, Despite 70% Rejection of TV Channel’s Non-Renewal

President Chavez’s performance in office continues to be viewed positively by nearly two-thirds of the population, despite a 70% rejection of the non-renewal of the TV broadcast license of RCTV, according to a poll conducted in March. Also, a new Latinobarometro poll finds that Latin Americans view Venezuela as the friendliest country in the Americas.

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Venezuelan Government and Opposition Take TV Case to EU

The General Director of the private TV channel RCTV, Marcel Granier, along with leaders of the political party Primero Justicia, met with the European Parliament Tuesday to protest the Venezuelan government's decision to not renew RCTV's broadcast license. The Venezuelan Ambassador to the European Union assured that the Venezuelan government would respond.

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Venezuelan Opposition Marches in Support of RCTV

Thousands of people marched in Caracas on Saturday in support of the private television channel RCTV, whose broadcast license the Chavez government has refused to renew. Chávez affirmed on Sunday that he would not give in to national or international pressure to renew the license and would never change his decision.

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Non-Aligned Countries Condem Release of Terrorist Luis Posada by US Court

The Non-Aligned Movement, an international organization grouping more than 100 states, expressed "great concern" over the release by a U.S. judge of Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban-born Venezuelan citizen convicted in the bombing of a Cuban airliner.

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U.S. Releases Cuban Bombing Suspect, Angers Venezuela & Cuba

A 79-year-old anti-Castro Cuban exile and former C.I.A. operative linked to the bombing of a Cuban airliner was released on bail yesterday and immediately returned to Miami to await trial on immigration fraud charges.

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