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Tensions between the U.S. and Venezuelan governments mounted this week following the news that President Obama had officially declared Venezuela a national security threat and had levied sanctions on seven Venezuelan officials.

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It’s hard to fathom why Western media seem to buy into the US government’s demonization of Venezuela’s democratically elected socialist government and yet essentially give a pass to countries (Mexico, anyone?) with clearly corrupt and discredited leadershipIt’s hard to fathom why Western media seem to buy into U demonization of Venezuela’s democratically elected socialist government and yet essentially give a pass to countries (Mexico, anyone?) with clearly corrupt and discredited leadership.

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Failing to win a mandate from Venezuelans in elections over the last few years, the leaders of the country's mainstream, U.S.-backed opposition are exploiting discontent among the population in an effort to topple the democratically elected government, sociologist Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya writes.

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Venezuela's Hugo Chavez has survived an electoral challenge with flying colors. His party swept 17 of 22 state elections, although the opposition was victorious in several key skirmishes, including the capital state, the mayoralty of Caracas and even Venezuela's biggest slum, traditionally a Chavez stronghold.

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There's a great deal riding on this November's presidential election -- and, clearly, not just for Americans. Link TV has put together a new feature called "Dear American Voter" to tell those who will be able to cast their vote in the U.S. what their choices might represent for the rest of the world.

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez projects a certain confidence in his leadership prowess to the rest of the world, but this video of a student rally in Caracas indicates that not everyone in Chavez country is on board with his program.

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Sean Penn is definitely no stranger to controversy, especially when it comes to his off-screen role as celebrity advocate. His latest foray into global politics will surely ruffle some feathers on Capitol Hill and beyond -- on Thursday, Penn met with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (pictured) after touring Caracas as part of the actor's effort to educate himself about the current situation in the South American nation.

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