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Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
Topic - David Smilde
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Hundreds of Venezuelans paid their final respects Friday to a popular actress whose slaying in front of her 5-year-old daughter has reignited debate about the nation's rampant crime.
Voters who kept Hugo Chavez in office for 14 years were deciding Sunday whether to elect the devoted lieutenant he chose to carry on the revolution that endeared him to the poor but that many Venezuelans believe is ruining the nation.
Venezuelans have long had to shop around to find scarce foods. Consumers have had particular trouble lately finding staples such as chicken, cooking oil, sugar and coffee, as well as toilet paper and some medicines.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is confronting "new complications" because of a respiratory infection nearly three weeks after undergoing cancer surgery, his vice president said in Cuba as he visited the ailing leader for the first time since his operation.
David Smilde, an analyst who has studied citizen security in Venezuela for the Washington Office on Latin America, said Maduro may also be seeking to take advantage of public outrage to roll back a civilian police reform started by the late President Hugo Chavez and instead expand the military's role in policing the streets.
Smilde said one sign of a militarized approach was this week's naming of retired army Gen. Ronald Blanco la Cruz as head of Venezuela's top police academy.