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Archive for Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Bolivian president-elect meets with Chavez

January 4, 2006

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— Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales, fresh from a visit with Fidel Castro, launched a world tour Tuesday by joining with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in a denunciation of free-market economics - a sign of the growing relationship among the three leftist leaders.

Notably, the tour includes stops in Spain, France, Belgium, China and Brazil - but not Washington. Morales' spokesman says he was not invited.

The Venezuelan leader received Morales with full military honors as well as hugs and smiles. Crowds of leftist, pro-government supporters cheered as Morales and Chavez arrived at the National Pantheon in downtown Caracas, then headed to a private meeting at Miraflores Palace.

Morales is on the first leg of a trip apparently meant to explore the future of Bolivia's vast natural gas holdings - the second largest in South America - which the president-elect says he wants to nationalize.

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