VIO News Blog

March 12, 2009

Venezuela Makes Room for more Housing

After news last week that a Coca-Cola bottler in Caracas would be required to relocate to make room for housing for the poor, El Universal reports that President Chavez explains: “We are always looking for a friendly arrangement. But we are required to always look everywhere for available space” for housing. Government officials and representatives of Coca-Cola in Venezuela will reportedly meet today. In comments that were not reported in the U.S., Chavez said yesterday that all companies must simply respect the law, and that his policies are concerned with guaranteeing social justice and protecting the national interest.

The state oil company PDVSA will seek to cut costs by 40%, UPI reports. To do this, it plans to revise contracts with service companies that charge high prices. With regard to state spending, Chavez said that Venezuela is not unlikely to face “serious hardships” due to the world economic crisis, but that “the revolution will not fall to pieces.” Meanwhile, AFP reports that oil futures rose slightly today.

In regional news, a Guardian column argues that the credibility of the US state department’s annual human rights report is crumbling. Serious questions about the report’s accuracy, as well as the moral authority of the U.S. to rate other nations, have come from many countries including Venezuela and China. Likewise, human rights groups with strong ties to Washington, such as Human Rights Watch, have come under increased scrutiny. Scholars contested a Human Rights Watch report on Venezuela last year, saying it lacked “minimal standards of scholarship, impartiality, accuracy or credibility.”

Venezuela beat the U.S. in the World Baseball Classic last night, moving on to the second round of the tournament. Next, they play the Netherlands on Saturday.

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