VIO News Blog

December 5, 2008

Mayor of Caracas Borough Sworn In

Continuing with coverage on the elections, the AP reports on the barrio of Petare, a traditionally pro-Chavez area which is part of a Caracas district that elected an opposition mayor in last month’s elections. The mayor, Carlos Ocariz, was sworn in yesterday. The article points to crime, trash collection, and public services as reasons why Petare went to the opposition. The AP downplays the fact that the largest, most populous district in Caracas, Libertador, was won by the pro-government PSUV candidate Jorge Rodriguez by over 100,000 votes.

Regarding the continuing slump in oil prices, Bloomberg reports that an analyst at the Eurasia group believes that Chavez may be trying to “rush through a vote” on term limits before the impact of low oil prices affects his popularity. This claim has been made in several other news stories recently. However, other analysts have said that Venezuela is well prepared to weather a world-wide economic crisis that has led to the lower price of oil. The country has over $40 billion in international reserves. The Chavez administration has repeatedly said that it will continue to fund the social missions that have helped millions of poor Venezuelans and contributed to a 35% drop in poverty.

Finally, Mexico’s Cemex is seeking arbitration through the World Bank after rejecting compensation proposed by the Venezuelan government for cement manufacturing assets nationalized earlier this year. The AP wrongly calls the nationalization process a “confiscation,” when in fact laws in Venezuela guarantee compensation to firms. President Chavez said last week that talks with Cemex are ongoing, at that the company can expect less than the value it initially demanded because its plants require investment to meet environmental standards.

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