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Venezuela

Yesterday evening, Miranda Governor and Primero Justicia (Justice First) candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski decisively earned the Venezuelan opposition presidential nomination, winning over 62 percent of votes in the primary contest.

Henrique Capriles Radonski, the likely winner of the opposition primary on February 12, may have to contend with more than just President Chávez in his quest for the presidency.

At a summit of the Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América (Bolivarian Alternative to the Americas, or ALBA) this past weekend in Caracas, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, ALBA’s founder, backed Argentina’s claims for sovereignty of the Malvinas (or Falklands) Islands.

Venezuelan opposition candidate Leopoldo López of Voluntad Popular pulled out of the presidential primary race on Tuesday to form an alliance with current opposition frontrunner Henrique Capriles Radonski of Primero Justicia .

Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramírez this weekend announced his country’s intention to withdraw from the World Bank’s Washington DC-based International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Venezuela yesterday afternoon to kick off his four-country tour of Latin America that will also include stops in Nicaragua, Cuba and Ecuador.

After a seven-month hiatus, President Hugo Chávez is set to return to the Venezuelan airwaves.

The forty-second summit of members of the Southern Common Market (Mercado Común del Sur, or Mercosur) begins today in Montevideo, where Uruguay will hand the six-month presidency of the trade bloc over to Argentina.

Venezuela froze prices on 18 key products as the Ley de Costos y Precios Justos (Law of Fair Costs and Prices) went into effect yesterday. The law was promoted by President Hugo Chávez as a necessary measure to “defend” the economy and curb the inflation rate, which was 26.9 percent last month and the highest figure in Latin America.

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