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Rafael Ramirez, former president of PDVSA, under investigation for corruption

Monday, June 19, 2017

Venezuela soldiers guard Chavez symbols in seething heartland


In the dozy agricultural town of Hugo Chavez's birth, soldiers guard an immense statue of the former Venezuelan leader while nearby opposition activists dream of pulling it down. The Russian-donated sculpture of a fist-clenched Chavez, in a square of Sabaneta near where he was born in a mud hut, has withstood nearly three months of anti-government unrest that has convulsed Venezuela since April and killed more than 70 people. "It will fall one day soon, you'll see," said activist Angel Dorante, noting the vandalism and destruction of Chavez statues and symbols elsewhere in Venezuela. Surrounded by fertile plains and home to nearly 40,000 people, Sabaneta is a politically sacred spot for the ruling "Chavismo" movement, now led by President Nicolas Maduro, but it has not been immune to protests roiling the nation in demand of elections to end socialist rule. More…

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