Venezuela’s Maduro stuck in shadow of ‘El Comandante’ Chavez

Hovering over a sun-baked mountain one day in his presidential helicopter, Hugo Chavez had a dream: to build a utopian city that would showcase socialism in Venezuela.

Slowly and chaotically over the years that followed, the late president’s pet project – conceived a decade into his rule and named “Ciudad Caribia” for the country’s indigenous Carib people – began to take shape on the mountain 10 km (6 miles) northwest of the capital, Caracas.

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3 Venezuelan envoys expelled by US in retaliation

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Three Venezuelan diplomats were ordered out of the United States on Tuesday in response to their government’s decision to boot three U.S. officials from Venezuela, including the highest-ranking U.S. envoy in the country.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced the expulsion of U.S. charge d’affaires Kelly Keiderling and two other diplomats Monday, accusing them of conspiring with “the extreme right” to sabotage the South American country’s economy and power grid.

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Venezuela expels top US diplomat, 2 other envoys

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — President Nicolas Maduro announced Monday the expulsion of the top U.S. diplomat in Venezuela and two other embassy officials, alleging they conspired with “the extreme right” to sabotage the economy and power grid.

The U.S. Embassy rejected as unfounded the Venezuelan government’s accusations of “a great psychological operation” against it.

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US, Venezuela in overflight spat

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — U.S. officials said Friday that they had initially refused Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro permission to fly over a segment of U.S. airspace on his way to China because his government made the request on short notice.

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Out of the oil emerges Venezuela’s ‘Jurassic Park’

Under the rich Venezuelan soil, paleontologists have found treasures rivaling the bountiful oil: a giant armadillo the size of a Volkswagen, a crocodile bigger than a bus and a saber-toothed tiger.

Oil companies’ surveys of the soil have uncovered a trove of fossils dating from 14,000 to 370 million years ago.

Many of the 12,000 recorded specimens from different eras are now kept in a tiny office of the Venezuelan Institute for Scientific Research.

A strong smell of oil fills the room as Ascania Rincon opens the drawer of a filing cabinet to reveal the tar-stained femur of a giant, six-ton mastodon from 25,000 years ago at the end of the Ice Age.

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Power blackouts hit nearly half of Venezuela

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP)Venezuela‘s main power distribution network failed Tuesday, depriving nearly half the country of electricity and knocking out traffic lights and water service in much of Caracas, which normally escapes such outages.

Electrical Energy Minister Jesse Chacon said on state TV that the failure was in the “backbone” that carries electricity from the Bajo Caroni region, where 60 percent of Venezuela’s power is generated.

He said 11 of 23 states lost power and that, in the Andean region near Colombia, the neighboring country was helping supply electricity.

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Venezuela: Two Colombian Men Arrested in Alleged Plot to Kill President Nicolás Maduro

Interior Minister Miguel Rodríguez Torres said at a press conference Monday that Colombians Víctor Johan Guache Mosquera, 22, and Erik Leonardo Huertas Ríos, 18, had been arrested. The two men allegedly linked former Colombian President álvaro Uribe to the assassination attempt, the Buenos Aires Herald reported.

Both Guache Mosquera and Huertas Ríos were part of “a group of 10 men who were coming to carry out the murder of the President”, said Rodríguez Torres. The Herald reported the men were also planning to kill Diosdado Cabello, the head of the Venezuelan National Assembly.

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