Saturday, September 05, 2009


Protests against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have taken place in cities across Latin America.
Demonstrations were organised by Colombian activists after Mr Chavez criticised Colombia for allowing US forces access to seven military bases.
The Venezuelan leader has already frozen diplomatic relations with Colombia and blocked bilateral trade.
Protest organisers used a number of social networking sites to organise the "No more Chavez" demonstrations.
Facebook and Twitter were the prime means for organising the demos against the Venezuelan leader.
An estimated 5,000 people took part in protests in the Colombian capital Bogota, and thousands more in the capitals of Venezuela and Honduras.
Smaller demonstrations were held in other Latin American capitals, as well as in New York and Madrid.
In Venezuela, President Chavez's supporters also marched through the capital, Caracas, to show their solidarity with the socialist leader.
In Colombia, protesters took to the streets in more than 20 cities, many carrying placards depicting Mr Chavez as a dictator and a friend of Colombia's Marxist rebels, says the BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Bucaramanga.

There has been controversy in Colombia, with revelations that a political party loyal to Mr Chavez is being established in the country, allegedly with the support of local Venezuelan officials, our correspondent adds.
Protesters are angry not only about Mr Chavez's comments on Colombia's relations with the US military, but also his moves to block trade between Venezuela and Colombia.
"It is a worldwide manifestation, which begins in Colombia but many countries have joined," said one anti-Chavez demonstrator.
"It is important that we show the world we are not with Chavez."

In Venezuela the president's supporters held rallies of their own, one of them in the Plaza Bolivar in Caracas.
Among those addressing the crowd was Freddy Bernal, a key leader of the president's United Socialist Party.
He spoke out for what he called the Bolivarian revolution, essentially a set of socialist ideals linked to the 19th century Venezuelan revolutionary leader, Simon Bolivar, and much referred to by President Chavez.
"If we have to march a thousand times, or be out on the streets all year round, then we'll do it," he said. "Because this revolution is non-negotiable and is not up for sale."
The BBC's Will Grant in Caracas says conflict over Mr Chavez is nothing new.
But many Venezuelans are becoming disillusioned with the extent to which both sides seem to focus more on protests than policies, our correspondent adds.



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