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Venezuelan officials criticize HRW representative

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jesús Arnoldo Pérez described as a "media show" the declarations of José Miguel Vivanco, Director Human Rights Watch, who submitted a report on June 17 about the threats to the independence of the Venezuelan judicial system.

The official condemned the position of the human rights organization, state news agency Venpres reported.

Congressman William Lara (ruling party MVR) agreed with Pérez, adding that the director of the HRW America division is just "a talking marionette of Bush administration," which is devoting to attack Venezuelan government by all the fronts.

Lara added that Vivanco lacks the legitimacy to be received by President Chávez.

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Venezuelan government gives aid to farmers hit by rains

02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.