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 News and opinions on the situation in Venezuela

Venezuela NewsLinks 27 March - 02 April 2006

Venezuela puts forward fair FTA in Latin America
By: Xinhua - China
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proposed a free trade agreement for Latin America when he was interviewed Sunday on his weekly television program, Alo Presidente. The Venezuelan government had already begun working on the project, which had nothing to do with the U.S.-advocated scheme for a Free Trade Area of the Americas, said Chavez.
New oil contracts in Venezuela respond to public not transnational model
By: - Worth,IL,USA News Editor Patrick J. O'Donoghue writes: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias says joint venture agreements between private, national and international capital and a responsible government are possible.
Venezuela's Sincor heavy crude project projects 210,000 bpd by year-end
By: - Worth,IL,USA (Karl Royce): Venezuelan heavy crude upgrade project Sincor could be producing some 210,000 barrels a day (bpd) by year-end compared to the current 195,000 bpd, company president Donis Ysaac told BNamericas at the Latin Upstream conference in Rio de Janeiro.
Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba. Uruguay's concern about possible negative impacts
By: - Worth,IL,USA
THE INTERNATIONAL FORECASTER editor Bob Chapman writes: Water is contaminated in some suburbs of Buenos Aires and has been since 1993, when the sewer system and water service was privatized and sold to the French company, Suez. Last week, Argentina announced it was rescinding its 30-year contract and reinstating government control of the water supply.
Exxon not going to be bullied by Venezuela ... nor Venezuela by Exxon
By: - Worth,IL,USA
The New York Times (Simon Romero): Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, is locking horns with Venezuela's government, which ratcheted up the pressure Friday on other American oil companies by taking steps to put more than two dozen coveted petroleum ventures under government control.
Venezuela's housing problem did NOT begin with the Chavez administration
By: - Worth,IL,USA en Español editor Jesus Nery Barrios writes: Regarding Jesus D. Romero's letter to the editor: "Bottom line: the lack of housing for the poor is the result of poor leadership" and his very particular way to respond and "refute," there are a few things I would like to say, since as a Venezuelan living in the country since I was born 39 years ago ... and given the fact I've never left ... I know the facts that Mr. Romero is writing about very well and it gives me "witness authority" to refresh his memory and the chance to help readers become aware of "other" facts he "forgot" to mention...
Feud burns for Exxon
By: International Herald Tribune - France
Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, is locking horns with Venezuela's government, which ratcheted up the pressure last week on other U.S.-based oil companies by taking steps to put more than two dozen coveted petroleum ventures under government control.
VENEZUELA: Congress discusses indigenous rights
By: Green Left Weekly - Chippendale,NSW,Australia
Around 450 delegates from some 35 indigenous communities, representing more than 500,000 people across Venezuela, met on March 24-26 for the Fifth National Congress of Indigenous Peoples, under the theme of “Self-determination of indigenous peoples and the socialism of the 21st century”. The congress, organised by the National Indigenous Council of Venezuela (CONIVE), discussed plans for economic development and defence of the cultural identity and way of life of indigenous communities.
VENEZUELA: New pro-poor policies announced
By: Green Left Weekly - Chippendale,NSW,Australia
Venezuela’s socialist President Hugo Chavez announced a major housing program on March 26, pledging the construction of 150,000 new homes by the end of the year and the possible expropriation of houses being sold at exorbitant prices. He delivered the announcement on his weekly television program Alo Presidente, which was broadcast from the site of a big new housing project in the state of Miranda called Nuevo Pueblo.
Venezuela from a Venezuelan’s perspective: Neither heaven nor hell
By: Green Left Weekly - Chippendale,NSW,Australia
For the last seven years, a great majority of Venezuelans, including myself, have defended a new democratic administration being built under Venezuela’s new constitution. This is the only constitution in our history that has ever been approved through a popular referendum vote. In fact, today Venezuelans are engaged in the highest amounts of democratic political participation in the hemisphere.


Venezuela posts March inflation of .9 pct
By: Reuters - USA
Venezuela's inflation for March reached .9 percent, down from 1.2 percent the same month a year ago, the nation's Central Bank said on Saturday.

Venezuela's Chavez calls U.S. immigration measures 'fascism'
By: Mainichi Daily News - Japan
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sharply criticized bills in the U.S. Congress that seek to crack down on illegal immigration, saying they resemble fascism. Chavez made the remark in a televised speech Friday, while thousands of students marched in California, Texas, Nevada and other U.S. states to protest the immigration bills.
CAN general secretary hopes Venezuela will not jeopardize EU free trade agreement
By: - Worth,IL,USA News Editor Patrick J. O'Donoghue writes: Andean Community of Nations (CAN) general secretary, Allan Wagner says he hopes that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias will not become an obstacle in a future free trade agreement (FTA) with the European Union (EU).
Venezuela courts often victimize abused women
By: Seattle Times - United States
In the land of beauty queens, there seems to be little justice for women. In 2001, Linda Loaiza Lopez, then 18, was tied up, tortured and raped repeatedly during a four-month captivity. In the aftermath, Lopez weathered nine surgeries to repair her damaged face and body, a legal process that went through the hands of 59 judges and six prosecutors, accusations of prostitution against her and a hunger strike to force a trial of her assailant.
Throwing Stones at Venezuela
By: AlterNet - San Francisco,CA,USA
It's certainly no surprise. Even over a year ago, journalists were remarking at the "left turn" that so many Latin American countries were making. Of late, however, we only hear about Hugo Chavez and Venezuela. The South American country has taken the place of Cuba as the new whipping boy of alternative political models. But the targeted arguments -- coming mainly from the United States -- that depict Chavez as a tyrannical despot do little more than make the United States look the defensive paranoid for so mischaracterizing Venezuela's politics.
Chávez expresses condolences over killing of Italian-born ...
By: Daily Journal (subscription) - Caracas,Venezuela
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez expressed condolences for the killing of a prominent Italian-born businessman, saying the motive remains unclear.

Venezuela's Chavez Touts Linux as Microsoft Alternative
By: FOX News - USA
President Hugo Chavez, long critical of big transnational companies, is promoting free open-source software as an alternative to market-dominating Microsoft Corp.
Brazilian ex President calls Chávez an authoritarian populist
By: El Universal - Venezuela
The leftwing label for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez does not make any sense, according to Brazilian ex President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, who also called him an authoritarian populist, daily newspaper O Estado de Sao Paolo reported Friday.
President Chávez asks Europe to help Iran
By: El Universal - Venezuela
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez thinks that Europe plays a significant role to prevent armed incursion into Iran. "Europe plays a very important role there (Iran.) We cannot let the US imperialist policies to unleash a bigger tragedy in Iran," Chávez said during the inauguration of Caruachi powerhouse in River Orinoco, Southern Venezuela, AFP quoted.
Chavez: Dam Is Sign of Venezuela Progress
By: Houston Chronicle - United States
President Hugo Chavez on Friday said that a new US$2.5 billion (euro2.1 billion) hydroelectric dam, built to serve some 12 percent of Venezuela's electricity needs, is a sign of progress in the South American nation.
Fox: Venezuela was "a concern" in meeting with Bush
By: El Universal - Venezuela
Mexican President Vicente Fox said both Venezuela and its President Hugo Chávez were two issues he and his US counterpart George W. Bush addressed during a meeting on Thursday in Mexican resort Cancun.
U.S. asks Venezuela to hand over suspected trafficker to the DR
By: Dominican Today - Santo Domingo,Dominican Republic
The United States embassy in Caracas asked Venezuela this Thursday to hand over to Dominican Republic a Dominican wanted for drug-trafficking, whose extradition was denied by a Venezuelan court.
Venezuela Rules Out Sale of Citgo Petroleum, Oil Minister Says
By: Bloomberg - USA
Venezuela, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, ruled out selling the state oil company's U.S. refining unit, Citgo Petroleum Corp., for now. Energy and Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said in a televised interview late yesterday that Houston-based Citgo Petroleum is posting better earnings, increasing its attractiveness.
Rifts Plague Anti-Chávez Venezuelans
By: New York Times - United States
Julio Borges is an unusual politician among Venezuela's fragmented opposition. He is running for office.
Chinese mining company to begin Venezuela production this year
By: China Post - Taipei,Taiwan
Mining company JinYan, the Venezuela unit of China's Shandong Gold Mining Co., will begin production at a gold mine in southeastern Venezuela in December, a company official said Thursday. JinYan, which has an initial investment of US$13 million (€10.75 million), will begin producing nearly 300 metric tons (330 tons) of mineral a day at the Sosa Mendez mine in El Callao in Bolivar state, said Rong Xuefeng, a senior engineer at the site.

Govn't rejects use of Chávez' image for electoral purposes in Mexico
By: El Universal - Venezuela
The Venezuelan Government Thursday rebuked the "electoral use" of President Hugo Chávez' image by Mexican ruling party Partido Acción Nacional (PAN.)
President Chávez is not the problem with CAN, but FTA's
By: El Universal - Venezuela
Rather than any remarks made by Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, the problem of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN) is the execution of Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with the United States, Foreign Vice-Minister Pavel Rondón told state TV channel Venezolana de Televisión during an interview.
FTAA Takes Toll on Venezuela, Bolivia
By: Prensa Latina - Havana,Cuba
As part of the Andean Community, Venezuela and Bolivia will also pay the price for Colombia´s signing of the US-devised Free Trade Area for the Americas, as well as the probable eventual signing of Ecuador and Peru.
Venezuela Takes on Exxon Mobil in Oil Play
By: The Columbian - Vancouver,WA,USA
Venezuela had a blunt message this week for Exxon Mobil, one of the world's most powerful oil companies: Get off my crude-rich turf. Venezuela is tightening its squeeze on the oil industry, telling oil companies to give the state a greater share of profits - or get out.

Washington wary of Chavez's military deals
By: Reuters - USA
Strengthening his military with helicopters, planes and rifles, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has Washington fretting over regional stability, but defense analysts dismiss U.S. concerns about a possible arms build-up.

Venezuela assembly OKs new oil joint venture rules
By: MarketWatch - USA
Venezuela's National Assembly on Thursday scrapped 32 private oil field contracts signed in the 1990s, strengthening the state's control over the dominant oil industry. The 167-member National Assembly, all of whose members are aligned with President Hugo Chavez's ruling coalition, unanimously approved on Thursday the general guidelines for new "mixed companies" that will handle operations at the oil fields.
Venezuela disagrees with Colombia over free trade agreements with USA
By: - Worth,IL,USA News Editor Patrick J. O'Donoghue writes: Venezuelan Executive Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel has replied to Colombian President Alvaro Uribe's "discrepancy" on free trade agreements with the USA. The Colombian President argues that it was alright for Venezuela not to enter into a bilateral agreement because it has oil, whereas the Colombian economy needs the agreement with the USA.
Stephen Lendman: The war drums are getting louder and sounding a clear message
By: - Worth,IL,USA
The way things are today, why on earth would the "big fool lunatics in charge" in Washington ever want another war or maybe two of them. Already they're "waist deep in the Big Muddy" in two out-of-control debacles in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the country is leaching multi-billions we don't have to pay for them.
Venezuela's Ambassador to London files complaint to UK's Channel 4 News
By: - Worth,IL,USA
Venezuela's Ambassador to Great Britain & Ireland, Alfredo Toro Hardy has filed a strong complaint with the director of British Channel 4 News following a March 28 broadcast in which C4 News' Washington correspondent Jonathan Rugman filed an extremely pro-USA biased report from Caracas in which diehard opposition radicals, disguised as civil rights activists vented their collective spleens on the democratically-elected government of President Hugo Chavez Frias.
Venezuela Suspends Ban on US Airlines
By: Houston Chronicle - United States
Venezuela has pushed back until the end of April a ban to block U.S. airlines from flying here in retaliation for U.S. safety restrictions against its carriers.

Venezuela Expanding Oil Production
By: Prensa Latina - Havana,Cuba
The Venezuelan government has allotted 12 billion dollars to turn Petroquimica de Venezuela SA (PEQUIVEN) into Petrochemicals Corporation of Venezuela, in an effort to expand production of oil byproducts.
British Channel 4 paints President Chavez as a Dictator
By: - Worth,IL,USA
John Pilger writes: On March 27, Channel 4 News broadcast a relatively long piece on Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela. On Channel 4's website you get a flavor: “He is in danger of joining a rogue’s gallery of dictators and despots -- Washington’s latest Latin nightmare.”
Venezuela oil minister says Exxon Mobil not welcome anymore
By: Canadian Business - Toronto,Ontario,Canada
Venezuela Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said Wednesday that Exxon Mobil Corp. was no longer welcome in the oil-producing country. Exxon Mobil has resisted tax increases and contract changes that are part of a policy by President Hugo Chavez's government to "re-nationalize" the oil industry.
Venezuela under Chávez
By: International Herald Tribune - France
Regarding the report "Caracas calling: A new mecca for the left" (March 22): What about the obvious questions? Where is that $60 billion plus of government-owned oil money going?

Chávez denounces US dictatorship in the United Nations
By: El Universal - Venezuela
President Hugo Chávez claimed that the United States is conducting a "dictatorship" in the United Nations, and urged his new ambassador to the international organization, Francisco Arias Cárdenas, to fight such unfair regime.

Venezuela promotes Microsoft alternative
By: BusinessWeek - USA
Venezuela's science and technology ministry recently held the Latin American Free Software Installation Fair, an event promoting the use of the open-source
Cardinal Urosa welcome as head of state
By: El Universal - Venezuela
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is to honor Thursday as head of state Caracas archbishop Jorge Urosa, who was ordained cardinal last week by Pope Benedict XVI.

Two Tons of Drugs Seized in Venezuela
By: Prensa Latina - Havana,Cuba
Police confiscated more than two tons of drugs at a farm in the Venezuelan state of Miranda, reported Vice Minister of Citizen Security Jesus Villegas. Villegas told press that Tuesday´s operation uncovered a concrete well on the farm where the cocaine was hidden.

Venezuela-African Ties Enhanced
By: Prensa Latina - Havana,Cuba
Venezuela will establish diplomatic ties with Mauritania, Congo Kinshasa and Cape Verde, as part of the "African Agenda", Venezuelan Deputy Foreign Minister Reinaldo Bolivar, head of the Africa Department, will travel to the United Nations to sign the agreements to consolidate ties in the diplomatic, cultural, commercial, economic, technical and scientific fields.

Venezuela Choosing Election Council
By: Prensa Latina - Havana,Cuba
The Committee of Electoral Nominations of the Venezuelan Parliament Wednesday started analyzing 253 candidates for the five seats on the National Electoral Council (NEC) for the presidential elections in December.
What it takes to get things done in Venezuela ... and what it takes to survive
By: - Worth,IL,USA commentarist Oscar Heck writes: One of's recent fervent letter-writers, Jesus D. Romero, sent me a letter entitled: "OPEN RESPONSE TO MR. HECK's Too late for Canada ... but it isn't too late for Venezuela and Venezuelans." I told him I would "openly" respond to his letter and he thanked me. Thus, here below is his letter (in blue) and my response to his letter (inter-spaced, in black).
Bush refuses to reply to Chávez' insults
By: El Universal - Venezuela
United States President George W. Bush Tuesday refused to reply to his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez' verbal attacks. "I do judge President Chávez based on his respect for institutions in Venezuela," Bush told CNN in an interview.

Total pays Venezuela taxes
By: Finance24 - Cape Town,South Africa
French oil giant Total agreed to pay millions in back taxes that the Venezuelan government has demanded for months, a tax authority official said on Tuesday.

Venezuela Frees Dominican Wanted by U.S.
By: Houston Chronicle - United States
Venezuela has freed a Dominican man wanted in the U.S. on drug charges, saying there was no guarantee U.S. authorities would agree to terms for his extradition. Judge Hector Coronado Flores dismissed a previous order to extradite Mateo Holguin Ovalle and ruled that he be released, the Supreme Court said Monday in a statement.

LatAm Eye Patients in Venezuela
By: Prensa Latina - Havana,Cuba
The initial Venezuelan program of Operation Miracle has already treated 1,000 patients from four Latin American countries, and the next group to arrive will come from other two nations, the Venezuelan Chancery reported.

Venezuela tax office shuts local GlaxoSmithKline offices
By: MarketWatch - USA
Venezuela's Seniat tax authority has temporarily shut the local offices of pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for alleged bookkeeping irregularities, the Seniat said in a statement Tuesday. The Seniat also charged the firm a $39,359 fine, and said its offices would be shut for two days. The Seniat has been shutting foreign and local businesses for tax violations amid an effort to ramp up tax collection.
Venezuela’s Supreme Court Rules Vice-Minister Cannot Exercise Public Office
By: - Caracas,Venezuela
The constitutional chamber of Venezuela’s Supreme Court ruled yesterday that Mari Pili Hernandez, the Vice-Minister of Foreign Relations for North America, cannot exercise public office because of alleged irregularities she committed while she was a Caracas city council member. Whether this means that she must be removed from her current post as vice-minister was not immediately clear.
US denies any political factor in US-Venezuela air conflict
By: Xinhua - China
The aviation conflict between Venezuela and the United States was based on security, not politics, and it was on the right path to a satisfactory resolution, said U.S. ambassador William Brownfield on Tuesday.
New Air-Defense System for Venezuela
By: eDefense - Norwood,MA,USA
Thales Nederland BV (Hengelo, the Netherlands) and Rafael (Haifa, Israel) announced on March 16 that they had conducted a successful test of a newly built Defender air-defense system for the Fuerza Aérea Venezolana (FAV, the Venezuelan Air Force) on Feb. 28. A missile was fired at a drone target during the test at Shdema Test Range in the south of Israel. The target was 7 km away when missile was fired, and the hit was achieved 6 km from the Defender's missile launcher.
Venezuela to vaccinate 14 million for measles
Measles vaccinations will be given to 14 million Venezuelans this year to combat an outbreak of the viral infectious disease in the capital, officials said Tuesday. Adults under 39 years old and children already are receiving vaccinations, but the program will be expanded starting April 9, Health Minister Francisco Armada said in a statement.
Trinidad, Venezuela for hydrocarbon deal
By: United Press International - USA
Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela are to sign a new energy agreement, the Caribbean Media Corp. news agency reported Tuesday. The two countries are considering a draft Unitization Treaty relating to cross-border hydrocarbon reserves originally discussed last week at the Sixth Ordinary Meeting of the Steering Committee for the Unitization of Cross-Border Hydrocarbon Reservoirs Between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela.
Report complicates detained Venezuelans' deportations
By: Miami Herald - FL,USA
A new State Department report appears to contradict assertions by immigration service attorneys in the case of two former Venezuelan national guard officers accused of terrorism.

Greet gringo with arrows: Chavez
By: Daily News & Analysis - Mumbai,India
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez said he would have a nasty welcome waiting for US forces he insists are preparing to invade his country — arrows laced with Indian poison.,pubID.24115/pub_detail.asp
Why Chavez's Days May Be Numbered
By: American Enterprise Institute - Washington,DC,USA
Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, makes it seem like populist dictatorship is back in fashion in Latin America. He has given the country a makeover, changing everything from its official ideology and name to, most recently, the flag and the coat-of-arms. Assisted by oil revenues, he envisions extending his makeover philosophy to the whole region, reinforcing the worry that Latin America's lurch to the left represents a new era with setbacks for free-markets and democracy. Chavez, however, is a lonely voice, though not in a desert; rather in a region that wants to boom and that has changed far too much to make the Chavez-style of governance sustainable.
Measles Outbreak Notified in Venezuela
By: Pan American Health Organization - Washington,DC,USA
A measles outbreak in Venezuela, the first in four years, has been reported to the Pan American Health Organization. A total of 12 laboratory confirmed cases were notified by the Ministry of Health of Venezuela, 10 in Miranda and 2 in the capital district. Four other probable cases are being investigated. The first measles case was reported in a 33-year-old airline pilot from Miranda who traveled to Madrid in February and became ill on his return. The case was confirmed as measles in a private clinic and resulted in an outbreak among direct contacts of the patient, including five children under 14 years of age and four adults over 30 years old. Four other possible cases are still being investigated by health authorities.
Mexico removes ads containing Chávez' image
By: El Universal - Venezuela
A spot using the image of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez to criticize candidate for president Manuel Andrés López Obrador will be removed, Manuel Espino, the chair of ruling Partido Acción Nacional (PAN,) announced.
World Bank to grant Venezuela four new loans
By: El Universal - Venezuela
The World Bank (WB) has decided to grant the amount of USD 200 million to Venezuela in the form of four new loans during the next two years. WB representative in Venezuela David Varela Monday said that the projects for which the loans will be allotted are still under preparation and have a complex design.
Mexico views as unnecessary implementation of Venezuela's "Misión Milagro
By: El Universal - Venezuela
Mexican government Monday said that it is unnecessary to implement in the country a humanitarian program from Venezuela to provide health assistance to indigenous and other vulnerable communities, news agency Efe reported.
Chavez: previous administrations mortgaged Venezuela’s energy industry
By: - Worth,IL,USA
The (Caracas) Daily Journal: President Hugo Chavez has nominated Juan Jose Garcia to the post of deputy minister of Energy & Petroleum, at the same ceremony in which he also announced the incorporation of the state-owned petrochemicals company, Pequiven, into the Petrochemical Corporation of Venezuela.
Hugo to go?
By: Channel 4 News - London,UK
A special report on Venezuela's extraordinary President Chavez - friend of the poor, enemy of the gringo. But is he coming off the rails?
Venezuela willing to back off U.S. airline ban temporarily
By: KTEN - Denison,TX,USA
Venezuela Venezuela said today it's willing to temporarily back away from a March 30th ban on U-S airlines.
Panama wants to tighten up ties with Venezuela
By: El Universal - Venezuela
The Panamanian government will strengthen economic, political and diplomatic relations with Venezuela and Russia, as part of a strategy focused on international cooperation, Panamanian First Vice-President and Foreign Minister Samuel Lewis Navarro said.
Venezuela: Opposition marches against "persecution of journalists"
By: Dominican Today - Santo Domingo,Dominican Republic
About 100 members of Venezuelan opposition groups peacefully marched here on Sunday calling for an end to the alleged "persecution of journalists, the media and dissident sectors" by the government of President Hugo Chavez.
Crystallex shares shoot up 33% as Venezuela approves Las Cristinas project
By: Canadian Business - Toronto,Ontario,Canada
TStock in gold miner Crystallex International Corp. (TSX:KRY) jumped ahead almost 33 per cent Monday morning, a day after the company said it has received approvals for the startup of its Las Cristinas gold project in Venezula.
Venezuela aims for major petrochemical expansion, Chavez sees country becoming powerhouse
By: CBC News - Canada
Venezuela will sharply increase production of petrochemicals in the next several years to become a world leader in the industry, says President Hugo Chavez. Chavez's remarks Saturday came as state petrochemical company president Saul Ameliach announced a plan to increase output to 32 million tonnes a year by 2012 from 11.5 million tonnes today.



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