RealNews

Chávez extends regional muscle

Record world oil prices have filled Venezuela’s treasury and helped President Hugo Chávez and his “Bolivarian Revolution for the poor” win two elections in recent months. Now, freed from worries about domestic political opposition, Mr. Chávez is using his new wealth to extend his influence beyond his nation’s borders – and perhaps escalate his long-running confrontation with Washington, say observers. In recent months, Chávez has expanded Venezuela’s policy of supplying oil at below-market prices to poor neighbors. He has also made a major arms purchase from Russia and pushed for the creation of a regional petroleum corporation. A firebrand populist and admirer of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, Chávez has often spoken of spreading his leftist vision across this continent, in contrast to the conservative economic policies that swept South America in the 1990s.Full Story

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