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Back in Venezuela, Chavez stays out of the public eye CARACAS: Venezuelans on Wednesday had yet to get a glimpse of their ailing president three days after he returned home from a two-month trip to Cuba for cancer treatment.   Admitted to the military hospital in Caracas upon his arrival Monday, the once-omnipresent leader has stayed out of the public eye -- even as his supporters took to the streets to welcome him back.   On Tuesday, it was unclear whether Chavez had even seen Bolivian President Evo Morales, who stopped over in the capital to visit his close ally on his way to the United States.   Venezuelans had neither seen nor heard from their usually ubiquitous head of state since he left for Havana on December 10 for another round of cancer surgery, though on Friday the government released photos of him bedridden but smiling.   The government said then that it was hard for Chavez to speak because he has been fitted with a tracheal ...

Castro meets US lawmakers in Cuba     HAVANA: President Raul Castro on Tuesday welcomed a delegation of US lawmakers, the first to come to Communist Cuba since US President Barack Obama's re-election, state media reported.   "Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla took part in the meeting, and issues of interest to both countries were addressed," a statement read out on the government news broadcast said.   The US legislators were in Havana to meet with Cuban officials and hope to visit an American contractor jailed for ...
Fidel Castro hails Chavez return to Venezuela  HAVANA: Fidel Castro on Monday hailed President Hugo Chavez's return to his native Venezuela after spending two months in Cuba for cancer surgery and convalescence.   In a letter published by the official Cuban news agency, the former Cuban president said he was happy that for the Venezuelan people "a long and anxious wait" was over, thanks to what he called Chavez's physical strength and the dedication of Cuban doctors.     Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2013 ...
Ecuador votes for president, Correa seen winning new term QUITO: Ecuadoreans vote for president on Sunday in a ballot expected to hand incumbent Rafael Correa a new term to advance his socialist agenda of heavy government spending and expansion of state power that critics slam as creeping authoritarianism.   Generous state outlays to expand access to healthcare, pave decrepit roads and build schools have given the combative economist a strong base among the South American nation's poor.   Victory for Correa would cheer the leftist ALBA bloc of ...
Correa favored for reelection in Ecuador vote   QUITO: Ecuadorans head for the polls Sunday in national elections, in which President Rafael Correa is the overwhelming favorite to win re-election and possibly gain greater backing for his brand of socialism.   Three private polls show Correa, who first came to power in 2007, with between 48.2 and 61.5 percent support, far ahead of his nearest rival, banker Guillermo Lasso.   That would enable the charismatic, US-educated economist to win another four year term in the first round ...
Chavez supporters rejoice after first photos release CARACAS: Supporters of President Hugo Chavez displayed new confidence Saturday after the government released the first post-surgical photos of the ailing Venezuelan leader, in which he appears bed-ridden but smiling in the company of his daughters.   The pictures show the 58-year-old Chavez lying on his back in a Havana hospital and leafing through Thursday's edition of the official Cuban newspaper Granma.   Chavez supporters rejoiced at the confirmation that the president was alive.   The four images broke a virtual ...
Cerrejon, striking coal union to meet over walkout in Colombia BOGOTA: Colombia's largest coal exporter, Cerrejon, and its striking union will meet on Friday for the first time since workers walked off the job last week, both sides said.   Laborers at Cerrejon, a joint venture between BHP Billiton , Anglo American and Xstrata, went on strike on Feb. 7, the first walkout in two decades, after failing to reach an agreement over wages and compensation.   "Cerrejon confirms its willingness to resume negotiations with Sintracarbon (union) to enable ...


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ICT 2014

Foreign Debt $61.805bn
Per Cap Income $1,386
GDP Growth 4.14%
Average CPI 8.6%
Trade Balance $-1.703 bln
Exports $2.156 bln
Imports $3.859 bln
WeeklyFebruary 26, 2015
Reserves $15.944 bln