Working to provoke discussion and provide up-to-date information and analysis on US-Venezuelan relations, politics, policies, and culture.

The poor rebel--and socialsm's coming back in Latin America

November 29, 2005
The Free Lance Star

By Rosabeth Moss Kanter

BOSTON--Seemingly unrelated events can turn out to have a lot in common.

The riots in France revealed unrest in poor neighborhoods where young people of North African origin told reporters that they just want jobs and inclusion.

At the Summit of the Americas in Argentina, mobs took to the streets to protest against President Bush, while Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Venezuela rejected the U.S.-desired Free Trade Area of the Americas.

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Chavez to push ahead with Spanish arms deal

Thursday, November 24, 2005

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said his government will go ahead with the purchase of Spanish military aircraft and naval vessels even as he accused the U.S. government of pressuring Madrid to halt the transaction.

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Venezuelan oil sales to American poor:

Chávez builds base with grass-roots circles in U.S.
November 21, 2005
Miami Herald
By Pablo Bachelet

WASHINGTON - Miami's Jesús Soto supports Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez's vision of ''participatory democracy.'' Valerie Pusch of Chicago backs Chávez because of his policies on behalf of the poor.

And they say so loudly, as heads of their local Bolivarian Circles -- among the dozen or so U.S. copies of the groups Chávez has set up throughout his country to mobilize Venezuelans on behalf of his socialist "revolution.''

Even as Chávez attacks President Bush as his sworn nemesis, his government is running a strong campaign to curry favor with U.S. citizens through leftist grass-roots groups, paid lobbyists and public relations operatives and offers of cheap fuel for America's poor.

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Venezuelans to begin selling cheap oil to poor in Boston, New York
November 18, 2005
Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela --Venezuela will soon begin selling heating oil at discount prices to poor communities in Boston and New York, following up on a promise by President Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's state oil company announced.

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Sunny Economic Outlook in Venezuela

Interesting tidbits from a discussion of Venezuela's prospects for business and industry at the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC.

A recent report by Latinobarómetro, a non-profit, non-governmental organization based in Santiago de Chile, reveals Venezuelan confidence in their government. The group interviewed 20,000 people in 18 Latin American countries, revealing that:

· 78% of Venezuelans interviewed believe that democracy is the only form of government for a fully developed society.

· Venezuelans gave the highest score out of all Latin American countries, 7.6 out of 10, indicating they believe their country to be very democratic.

· 56% of Venezuelans are very satisfied with their democracy (2nd highest, under Uruguay)

One major point that kept coming up during the discussion—since Chavez, many economic indicators have improved. For example, with the recent improvement of the tax system initiated by Chavez, revenues from tax collections have gone from $9.9 (1998) to $16 billion (2005).

Attendees were also introduced to the “Bolivarian vision of energy intergration” by the current Minister Counselor for Petroleum Affairs, Fadi Kabboul. Seeing itself as a “key player for solving the global energy crisis,” the Venezuelan government seems very preoccupied with “correcting asymmetries” in worldwide energy consumption. One of the government’s goals involves linking existing oil pipelines to connect all of South America.

The panel of Venezuelan experts also answered a question from the floor regarding the country’s poverty rate. José Sojo, current Chief of the Economic Affairs Section at the Venezuelan Embassy, pointed to the various health and social programs that reach out to millions of people each year. He asserted that family income alone is not enough to determine the poverty level of Venezuela, and insists that the quality of life in the country surpasses the current notion of Venezuela’s poverty rate.

Mexico, Venezuela recall ambassadors

Nov. 14, 2005, 3:19PM
Associated Press

MEXICO CITY — Mexico and Venezuela announced today they will pull their ambassadors from one another's capitals amid a war of words, including Mexico's demand that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's government apologize after he warned Mexican leader Vicente Fox: "Don't mess with me."

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Chavez Claims Victory at Americas Summit

By Natalie Obiko Pearson
Tuesday, November 8, 2005
The Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez proclaimed a "knockout" victory in the Summit of the Americas after helping thwart a U.S.-backed free trade zone, strengthening his position as Latin America's most vocal rival of President Bush and as a maverick unafraid of irritating his neighbors.

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Pentagon to Venezuela: Who, Us?

By William M. Arkin
Washington Post Online
November 3, 2005

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez and Donald Rumsfeld are like two alcoholics drinking together, pathetically doing the only thing they know how to do, egged on by their presence at the bar.

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