- - Monday, December 19, 2011

VENEZUELA

Obama criticizes Chavez’s ties to Iran, Cuba

CARACAS — President Obama criticized the Venezuelan government’s rights record and its ties to Iran and Cuba in comments to a Venezuelan newspaper.

Mr. Obama said the U.S. is concerned that actions by President Hugo Chavez’s government “have restricted the universal rights of the Venezuelan people, threatened basic democratic values, and failed to contribute to the security in the region.”

Mr. Obama made the comments in written responses to questions from the Venezuelan newspaper El Universal. The newspaper published his comments on Monday.

Mr. Obama also said he thinks “the Venezuelan government’s ties to Iran and Cuba have not served the interests of Venezuela or the Venezuelan people.”

PERU

Paroled activist Berenson can leave Peru: Father

LIMA — The father of paroled U.S. activist Lori Berenson said Monday that Peruvian migration officials have given her permission to leave the country with her toddler son to spend the holidays with her family in New York City.

Mark Berenson told the Associated Press by phone from New York that his daughter called with the news on Monday afternoon.

Despite a court’s approval for her to leave the country for the first time since her 1995 arrest, authorities barred her from boarding a flight to New York on Friday night.

When she was paroled last year, Lori Berenson had served three-quarters of a 20-year prison term for aiding leftist rebels.

CHILE

Girl dies after split from conjoined twin

SANTIAGO — A 10-month-old girl who was surgically separated from her conjoined twin died Sunday after suffering general organ failure, said the director of a Chilean children’s hospital.

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