Tamara Pearson

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has inaugurated new government-run hypermarkets (large supermarkets), which replace of the recently nationalised Exito hypermarket chain.

Since the US and Mexico signed the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994, the number of Mexicans illegally crossing the border into the US seeking employment has risen to 500,000 a year.

I met Jose Hernandez, a leader of the Mexican Union of Electricity workers (SME), at his house in a working-class suburb of Mexico City. “I’m very tired, I’m exhausted”, he said, smiling, as he made me tea. “I haven’t stopped for days.”

The seventh summit of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), a nine-nation anti-imperialist trading bloc established in 2004 by Cuba and Venezuela, was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia over October 16-17.

Venezuela’s National Assembly passed a law on May 7 that assigns control over goods and services connected to the country’s petroleum industry to the state.

After it was officially announced that the “yes” vote had won the February 15 referendum on a constitutional amendment that would remove limits on the number of times any elected official could stand in elections for public office with 54.4% of the vote, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez delivered a speech from the balcony of the Miraflores Presidential Palace, his two daughters beside him. The victory removes the current two-term limit will allow Chavez to stand in the presidential election when his current term finishes at the end of 2012.

President Hugo Chavez’s governing party, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), got mixed results in the regional and local elections held on November 23, winning strongly in 17 out of 23 states, but losing the country’s two most populous states and the Capital District of Caracas.

Over August 9-11, almost all of the candidates of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) registered for the upcoming November 23 state and regional elections in the National Electoral Council (CNE) office, many accompanied by large marches of their supporters.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has promised new Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo “all the oil he needs” during a public event in Uruguay after Lugo was inaugurated on August 15.

Unemployment in Venezuela dropped from 8.8% in July 2007 to 7.2% in July 2008, the National Statistics Institute (INE) announced on August 14.

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