Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA will have to import at least six shipments of gasoline and other refined petroleum products to meet local demand due to production stoppages at key local refineries.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez is pushing the National Assembly to pass tough new legislation that would “regulate the freedom of expression” and stipulates prison terms for journalists—ranging from 6 months to 4 years—for disseminating news “that causes serious public disorder, fear and anxiety among the population, or damages to state institutions.”

Commerce Minister Eduardo Samán announced on Saturday that “patents have become a barrier to production” and stymie access to medicine, placing the interests of multinational pharmaceutical companies ahead of the welfare and needs of the Venezuelan people.


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