Caracas

Chavez threatens to veto final declaration of OAS summit

Chavez threatens to veto final declaration of OAS summit Caracas/Port of Spain  - President Hugo Chavez warned Thursday that Venezuela and "other countries" will veto the final declaration of the Summit of the Americas that is set to take place from Friday in Trinidad and Tobago.

"Venezuela vetoes the declaration of the Americas," he said in the eastern Venezuelan town of Cumana.

Bolivian police kills alleged terrorists

Bolivian police kills alleged terrorists La Paz/Caracas  - An elite Bolivian police squad killed three members of an alleged terrorist group Thursday at a hotel in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Bolivian President Evo Morales saif from the Venezuelan city of Cumana that the dead were foreign "mercenaries" who were planning attacks on Morales himself and other high government officials.

The Santa Cruz daily El Deber reported in its online edition, citing national Police Chief Victor Hugo Escobar, that the three dead included one Bolivian with a Hungarian and a Colombian.

Venezuela beat Colombia 2-0, keep dream alive

Venezuela beat Colombia 2-0, keep dream alive Caracas  - Venezuela obtained a crucial 2-0 home win over direct rival Colombia late Tuesday in the South American qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

The result leaves Colombia on 14 points from 12 games, with Venezuela on 13 points. If the qualifiers were to end now, neither team would continue to South Africa.

Despite Abel Aguirre being sent off in the first half, Venezuela could not crack the game until the last quarter-of-an-hour of play in Puerto Ordaz.

Venezuelan opposition leader in hiding, faces embezzlement charges

Venezuelan opposition leader in hiding, faces embezzlement charges Caracas  - Venezuelan opposition leader Manuel Rosales has gone into hiding and will not turn himself in to the authorities on embezzlement charges, because he thinks he is being prosecuted for political reasons, his party said Tuesday.

Rosales planned to hold on to his position as mayor of the city of Maracaibo and would not leave the country, as he awaits guarantees of a fair trial, said Omar Barboza, a spokesman for Rosales' party Un Nuevo Tiempo (UNT).

Chavez congratulates Funes on electoral win in El Salvador

Chavez congratulates Funes on electoral win in El Salvador Caracas  - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Monday congratulated fellow-leftist Mauricio Funes for his historic win a day earlier in El Salvador's presidential election.

In a statement issued by the Venezuelan Foreign Ministry, Chavez described the electoral victory as "unobjectionable and resounding," and offered Funes his assistance.

The result "consolidates the historic current that has risen across Latin America and the Caribbean in this first decade of the 21st century," Chavez said, noting the region's swing to the left.

Chavez invites Obama to follow road to socialism

Chavez invites Obama to follow road to socialism Caracas  - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday called upon US President Barack Obama to follow the path to socialism, which he termed as the "only" way out of the global recession.

"Come with us, align yourself, come with us on the road to socialism. This is the only path. Imagine a socialist revolution in the United States," Chavez told a group of workers in the southern Venezuelan state of Bolivar.

Explosives thrown at Jewish centre in Caracas

Explosives thrown at Jewish centre in CaracasCaracas  - Unknown attackers threw an explosive device at a Jewish community centre in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas on Thursday.

No one was injured in the attack in the northern part of the city, but there was damage to the building, said Abraham Garzon, president of the centre.

"It seems that some people in this country want to sow terrorism," Garzon told broadcaster Globovision.

At the end of January, the city's main synagogue was vandalized by a group of armed men, including several police officers. (dpa)

Chavez cuts back newspaper column after referendum win

Chavez cuts back newspaper column after referendum win Caracas - The newspaper column that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has been writing three times a week will now appear just once a week, the government said Tuesday.

On Sunday, a Chavez-sponsored proposal to remove term limits on the mandates of the president and other elected officials was passed in a referendum.

Venezuelan opposition warns Chavez his victory was "no landslide"

Venezuelan opposition warns Chavez his victory was "no landslide"Caracas  - Venezuela's opposition leaders on Monday warned President Hugo Chavez that the referendum victory that removed term limits on his re-election "was no landslide," and he would need to seek greater consensus to remain in power.

Opposition leaders noted that 6 million Venezuelans, or 54 per cent of voters, favoured a proposal that allows the president unlimited re-election bids, while 5 million (46 per cent) voted against it and 32 per cent of those registered to cast their ballot, abstained.

"Goliath won," says Venezuelan opposition leader

"Goliath won," says Venezuelan opposition leader Caracas - Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez said late Sunday that "Goliath won," as a constitutional reform to allow the unlimited re-election of the president was passed in a referendum.

"Goliath won, the Venezuelan state with the full power of the state won," Lopez told the television channel CNN en espanol.

Polls close in referendum on Chavez's "political fate"

Polls close in referendum on Chavez's "political fate"Caracas - Polls closed without major incidents in Sunday's constitutional referendum in Venezuela, in which nearly 17 million citizens voted on whether to allow the unlimited re-election of the country's president.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said the election was decisive for his own political future.

Referendum for unlimited Chavez terms begins in Venezuela

President Hugo ChavezCaracas  - Polls opened on Sunday morning across Venezuela in a new referendum on the issue of unlimited terms for President Hugo Chavez, amid heavy security measures.

Around 17 million Venezuelans are eligible to vote in the referendum, which will decide on a change to the country's constitution that would see Chavez extend his period in office beyond the currently-mandated two terms, due to end in 2013.

A further term would see Chavez, who has been in power in Venezuela since 1999, in power until at least 2019.

The result of the poll is should be known by the early hours of Monday.

Chavez takes credit for Colombian hostage releases

Chavez takes credit for Colombian hostage releases Caracas  - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday took credit for paving the way for this week's hostage releases in Colombia.

Chavez recalled that former Colombian regional legislator Sigifredo Lopez, who was released Thursday after six years in captivity, thanked him for his efforts to secure the releases.

"Venezuela ... wants peace for Colombia, wants freedom for all," Chavez said.

Chavez tones down expectations around Obama

Chavez tones down expectations around Obama Caracas  - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday called upon his followers "not to get overexcited" with incoming US President Barack Obama.

"Today is particularly significant at the international level because a new president takes over the United States presidency today. Let no one get overexcited, this is the North American empire," Chavez said.

The left-wing populist Chavez, who has had strong clashes with outgoing US President George W Bush in recent years, often refers to the United States as empire.

Venezuela's parliament okays referendum on unlimited Chavez terms

Hugo ChavezCaracas - Venezuela's parliament has paved the way for a planned referendum on changes to the constitution that would allow President Hugo Chavez unlimited terms of office.

The National Assembly on Wednesday night approved in a second and final reading the referendum for a constitutional amendment that would allow not only Chavez, but all of Venezuela's governors, members of parliament and mayors to seek re-election over an unlimited period.

The national electoral council was due on Friday to set the date for the new referendum, which had been planned for February 15.

Former defence minister detained for questioning in corruption case

Caracas - Former Venezuelan defence minister Raul Baduel, a current leader of the opposition to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, was detained Friday for questioning in a corruption case, officials said.

Military prosecutor Nelson Morales said Baduel refused to appear before a court that is investigating an alleged misuse of public funds when he commanded the Venezuelan Army from 2004 to 2006.

Military intelligence officers were following the judge's orders as they took Baduel from the central Venezuelan city of Maracay, where the retired general lives, to the court in Caracas, Morales said.

Officials made it clear that Baduel was not arrested, as had originally been reported.

Venezuela expels Human Rights Watch official over critical report

Human Rights WatchCaracas  - The government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday ordered Human Rights Watch (HRW) director Jose Miguel Vivanco to leave the country "immediately," saying his criticism was part of a plot by the United States against the country.

Just hours earlier, Vivanco had made public a report that criticized Chavez's human rights record. Venezuelan authorities complained that this report constituted an "attack" on the country's institutions.

Russian delegation in Caracas amid security tension with US

Russia FlagMoscow / Caracas  - A Russian delegation arrived in Caracas Tuesday as Moscow moves to restore Soviet-era ties in South America heightening tensions with the United States already strained over the crisis in Georgia.

Two Russian, nuclear-capable bombers were carrying out exercises over the Caribbean from an air base in Venezuela on Tuesday, and the two countries plan joint naval games before the year is out.

The delegation, led by powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's deputy Igor Sechin, was on day two of a regional tour that began on the communist island of Cuba.

Venezuela accuses US of sponsoring plan to kill Chavez

Venezuela accuses US of sponsoring plan to kill Chavez Caracas  - The Venezuelan government on Thursday accused the United States of sponsoring a plan to assassinate President Hugo Chavez, hours after he ordered an investigation into a military conspiracy to overthrow him.

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said Caracas had no doubt of Washington's involvement in the plot and would file formal complaints against the United States in international fora.

"As investigations move on we will get to see to what extent (the United States) was involved," Maduro said.

Chavez hopes for "true change" from next US government

Chavez hopes for "true change" from next US government Caracas  - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he hopes the next government of the United States "respects" the sovereignty of the peoples of the Americas and brings about "true change" in the White House.

"The only thing we aspire to in a new government in the United States is that it respects the dignity of the peoples of our Americas and respects the sovereignty of our peoples, of our governments," Chavez said at a Venezuelan oil field in the Orinoco Basin.

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