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Capriles warns pope of rights violations in Venezuela

Venezuela's opposition leader told Pope Francis on Saturday that the government was violating basic democratic and human rights, just two days before President Nicolas Maduro visits the Vatican. "We Venezuelans are subject to repeated human rights violations, without the government bodies in charge of guaranteeing and protecting those rights taking action, and quite often they are actually parties to the abuses," Henrique Capriles charged in a letter dated June 12.

Audit finds no flaws in Venezuela vote

An audit of Venezuela's presidential election results has found no flaws in the snap vote to replace the late Hugo Chavez, the head of the National Electoral Commission said Tuesday. The opposition leader who lost the election by a tiny margin remained defiant and vowed not to give up, however. The commission reviewed paper receipts of nearly 4.6 million votes, or 99.98 percent of those cast, and found "no discrepancy" with the official electronic tallies, said commission president Tibisay Lucena.

Recount found no discrepancies, Venezuelan election officials say

Caracas, Jun 11 (EFE).- A review of 100 percent of the ballots cast in the April 14 special election to choose a replacement for deceased President Hugo Chavez uncovered no discrepancies with the official results, Venezuela's National Electoral Council, or CNE, said Tuesday. "These results testify to an undeniable reality: the electoral procedure ... due to its technical characteristics and rigorous certification mechanisms, allows Venezuela to count on an electoral system armored against fraud and error," CNE chair Tibisay Lucena said.

Venezuela top court rejects challenge to Maduro win

In a ruling out Saturday, Venezuela's Supreme Court rejected one of six challenges to the April 14 presidential election, which saw Hugo Chavez's successor Nicolas Maduro win by a razor-thin margin. Oficially, Maduro -- the late president Chavez's handpicked successor -- won the controversial election by 1.49 percentage points. His rival, Henrique Capriles, has refused to concede.

Venezuela in rare diplomatic overture to US

Venezuela on Sunday made a rare diplomatic overture to the United States, suggesting it could be time for better ties. "We are going to remain open to normalizing relations with the United States," Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said on Televen television Sunday. "The first thing would be to resume diplomatic representation at the highest level," he said. The country's late socialist president Hugo Chavez was a staunch critic of the United States, and his successor Nicolas Maduro is still feeling out its footing with Washington.

Capriles expects Venezuela vote ruling 'within hours'

Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles, narrowly defeated at the polls, said Wednesday that the Supreme Court will decide "within hours" whether a new presidential vote should be held. "Within hours, we are going to have a decision on whether (the Supreme Court) accepts" the opposition's bid to hold new elections, Capriles told AFP in an interview. He warned that if the answer was no, he would bring his fight to "international bodies." jm/mdl/oh

Idea that American held by Venezuela is a spy 'ridiculous': Obama

By Steve Holland SAN JOSE (Reuters) - The Venezuelan government's suggestion that an American citizen it has detained is a spy is "ridiculous," U.S. President Barack Obama said in a television interview recorded on Saturday during a visit to Costa Rica. Venezuela said late last month it had detained an American called Timothy Hallet Tracy, accusing him of financing opposition student demonstrations after April's disputed presidential election and saying he had clearly been trained as an intelligence agent.

Venezuela's Maduro blasts 'devil' Obama

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro took a swipe at Barack Obama on Saturday, calling him the "grand chief of devils" after the US president declined to recognize his contested re-election. "Coming out of Central America, Obama let loose with a bunch of impertinent remarks, insolent stuff... He is giving an order, and his blessing, for the fascist rightwing to attack Venezuela's democracy," Maduro alleged in an address.

Obama avoids recognizing Maduro as Venezuelan president

US President Barack Obama would not say Friday whether the United States recognizes Nicolas Maduro as the winner of last month's Venezuelan presidential election. Obama, in an interview with US Spanish-language network Univision, said the entire region "has been watching the violence, the protests, the crackdowns on the opposition" following the controversial April 14 election. Maduro defeated opposition leader Henrique Capriles, at least officially, by a razor-thin margin in the election to replace the late leftist leader Hugo Chavez.

Venezuelan sportswriter killed in robbery

Caracas, May 3 (EFE).- Venezuelan sportswriter Jhonny Gonzalez was shot and killed in the wee hours Friday while leaving the building where the sports daily Lider has its headquarters, apparently for resisting a robbery, the publication said. Lider said on its Web site that Gonzalez was killed around 2:00 a.m. when leaving to work a night shift at the Cadena Capriles building in downtown Caracas. Several individuals in a car and on a motorcycle apparently intercepted the journalist with intention to rob him and fired three shots. Gonzalez died in the car.
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