When you're running low on toilet paper and getting desperate, what do you do? If you're the Venezuelan government, you take over a toilet paper factory.
On Saturday, Vice President Jorge Arreaza announced the "temporary occupation" of the Paper Manufacturing Company's plant in the state of Aragua. The aim, he explained, is to review the "production, marketing and distribution (of) toilet paper."
"The ... People's Defense from the Economy will not allow hoarding or failures in the production and distribution of essential commodities," the vice president said.FULL STORY
$85 billion in automatic across-the-board cuts became law last week, as President Obama and Congress struggle to find a solution to the crisis. Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of this story.
Today's programming highlights...
The Jodi Arias trial is in recess until Wednesday, March 13
10:30 am ET - The funeral of Hugo Chavez - Heads of state and dignitaries from dozens of countries gather in Caracas for the state funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Nicolas Maduro will be sworn in as interim president at 6:30 pm ET.
The body of the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will eventually displayed publicly "just like Lenin (and) Mao Zedong," the country's interim leader said on state-run TV Thursday.
"The body of our leader will be embalmed, and it will ... be surrounded by crystal glass forever, present forever, and always with his people," Nicolas Maduro said.FULL STORY
Hugo Chavez was as colorful as he was polarizing. Celebrating his 10th year in power four years ago, he held a jewel-encrusted sword of his hero, 19th-century revolutionary Simon Bolivar, and reminded a Caracas crowd what he was about.
"There is no other path to redemption for the human being than socialism," the Venezuelan president said, flanked by like-minded Latin American leaders helping him mark his anniversary.
After his death on Tuesday, detractors and fans had plenty to say about his fiery character and leftist pursuits, and it's hard to remember they're talking about the same guy.
He wrecked Venezuela's economy and trounced on democratic institutions and people's liberties, some say. He improved the lives of the poor and rightly stood up against "imperialist" nations, say others.
One of the more interesting tributes came from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who declared on his Farsi-language presidential website that Chavez was a great leader who will "resurrect" along with Jesus.
How many different ways can people look at Chavez? Here are a few:
When Hugo Chavez won re-election as Venezuela's president last fall, we shared five of his most colorful quotes with you.
After his death Tuesday we thought it would be worth doing so again.
In 2006, appearing at the U.N. General Assembly after President George W. Bush spoke there a day earlier, he had this to say:
"The devil came here yesterday, and it smells of sulfur still today."
According to a CNN report, Chavez said, "As the spokesman of imperialism, he came to share his nostrums to try to preserve the current pattern of domination, exploitation and pillage of the peoples of the world. An Alfred Hitchcock movie could use it as a scenario. I would even propose a title: 'The Devil's Recipe.'"
That wasn't his first time equating things and Americans with mythical evil beings. In 2005, he criticized the U.S. tradition of Halloween for "putting fear into other nations, putting fear into their own people."
"Families go and begin to disguise their children as witches. This is contrary to our way," he said, according to a BBC report.
In 2011, he suggested the influence of capitalism extended well beyond Earth.
"I have always said, have heard, that it would not be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but perhaps capitalism arrived there, imperialism arrived, and finished that planet," he said on state TV, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Chavez has also had doubts about U.S. foreign policy intentions, including after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
"I read that 3,000 soldiers are arriving, Marines armed as if they were going to war. There is not a shortage of guns there, my God. Doctors, medicine, fuel, field hospitals, that's what the United States should send," Chavez said on his weekly television show, according to a Reuters report. "They are occupying Haiti undercover.
"On top of that, you don't see them in the streets. Are they picking up bodies? ... Are they looking for the injured? You don't see them. I haven't seen them. Where are they?"
And late last year, he said the United States could be using cancer as a weapon against him and other South American leaders who had been stricken with it.
"It's very difficult to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some of us in Latin America," he said in a speech to the military, according to a Bloomberg News report. "Would it be so strange that they've invented technology to spread cancer and we won't know about it for 50 years?"
The political outcome in the wake of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's death remains uncertain, but in plazas across the country Wednesday, his followers made it clear they support a continuation of his policies.
Chavez put social programs at the center of his government, and his most fervent supporters credit him with providing their livelihood.FULL STORY
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Monday. He was 58.
Elections will be held in 30 days, and Vice President Nicolas Maduro will assume the presidency in the interim, Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said in a televised interview on state-run VTV.FULL STORY
[Updated at 2:57 p.m. ET] These are "the most difficult moments we have experienced" regarding Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's health since his December 11 cancer surgery, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised address Tuesday.
His remarks came after Maduro accused Venezuela's domestic and foreign enemies of "attacking" Chavez, who has publicly battled cancer since 2011. Maduro also said Venezuela has expelled a U.S. Embassy attache who he said was seeking military support for a plot against the government.
[Updated at 1:46 p.m. ET] Venezuela accused the domestic and foreign enemies of Venezuela of somehow infecting ailing President Hugo Chavez and expelled a U.S. Embassy attache who it said was seeking military support for a plot against the government, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday.
David Del Monaco, an Air Force attache for the U.S. Embassy, had been expelled Tuesday "for being implicated in conspiratorial plan, the information ministry said.
Some day, he told the press in a lengthy statement, there will be "scientific proof" that Chavez, fighting a battle with cancer, was somehow infected by outsiders. He also called Venezuela's political right-wing an "oligarchy" and an "enemy of the nation."
[Updated at 1:22 p.m. ET] Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday that eventually there will be "scientific proof" that President Hugo Chavez, fighting a battle with cancer, was infected by outsiders.
In an address shown on Venezuelan TV, Maduro also said Venezuela has expelled a U.S. Embassy attache who was seeking military support for a plot against the government.
[Posted at 12:35 p.m. ET] Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro is meeting with the country's top officials after the nation's information minister reported that the condition of President Hugo Chavez, fighting a battle with cancer, has worsened, state TV said Tuesday.
Chavez first announced he had cancer in 2011. He spent more than two months in treatment in Cuba recently, returning to Venezuela two weeks ago.
Since Chavez underwent surgery on December 11, government accounts about his health have been vague.FULL STORY
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's condition has worsened, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas said late Monday.
Villegas reported Chavez is battling a new and "severe" infection and that his overall state remains "delicate."
The president, who announced his cancer diagnosis in 2011, spent more than two months in treatment in Cuba and has suffered respiratory insufficiency.
The government has never specified what kind of cancer Chavez has.
Last Friday, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said that Chavez is "fighting for his life." The president began chemotherapy after his fourth cancer surgery in Cuba in December, and he is continuing the "intense" treatment at a military hospital in Caracas, according to Maduro.FULL STORY
Once again, rumors of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's impending death have swept through social media in recent days, fueled by a report that the ailing leader had moved to a presidential residence to live his last days.
The government's vagueness and secrecy regarding Chavez has created a hunger - both in and outside of Venezuela - for reliable information about the president's health.FULL STORY
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is "fighting for his life," the country's vice president said late Friday.
Chavez began chemotherapy after his fourth cancer surgery in Cuba in December, Vice President Nicolas Maduro revealed for the first time, and is continuing the "intense" treatment at a military hospital in Caracas.
The television broadcaster Globovision, long critical of the Venezuelan government, has been excluded from government plans to switch broadcast formats from analog to digital, Reporters Without Borders said Friday.
Globovision, which is Venezuela's sole national television broadcaster that routinely criticizes the government, "has been excluded from a new system of Open Digital Television (TDA), which the government launched on February 20 in a televised announcement that all the broadcast media had to carry," the advocacy group reported.
"Under the TDA system, all TV stations currently broadcasting by means of an analogue signal will eventually have to switch to a digitally processed signal in order to continue operating," it said.FULL STORY
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez remains under treatment for "respiratory insufficiency" that arose after he underwent an operation, a government spokesman said Thursday on national television and radio.
But Chavez's treatment for his underlying disease - cancer - "continues without presenting significant adverse effects so far," said information minister Ernesto Villegas.FULL STORY
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has returned home from Cuba and will continue his cancer treatment there, according to his official Twitter account.
"We have returned to Venezuela. Thanks my God. Thanks beloved people. We will continue treatment here," he tweeted.FULL STORY
[Updated at 11:24 a.m. ET] Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is temporarily having difficulty speaking following a procedure in which doctors inserted a tracheal tube, Venezuela's communications minister said Friday.
Chavez is going through a difficult recovery period following his recent cancer surgery, Communications Minister Ernesto Villegas said at a news conference. Villegas displayed a picture of Chavez in his hospital bed surrounded by his children.
Chavez hasn't appeared in public or on national television since he went to Cuba for cancer surgery in December.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has overcome a respiratory infection he contracted after undergoing cancer surgery in Cuba last month, Information Minister Ernesto Villegas told reporters today.
But the president still has some breathing problems and his treatment continues, Villegas said.FULL STORY
A riot at a Venezuelan prison left 50 people dead and dozens injured, CNN affiliate Globovision reported, the latest in a series of violent incidents in the nation's crowded detention system.
Clashes erupted yesterday after local media reported about a planned operation to disarm prisoners at the facility in Uribana, the prison ministry said in a statement.
Venezuela's top prison official said national guard troops entering the prison were met with violence.FULL STORY
Early editions of Spain's leading newspaper Thursday displayed a large front-page photo claiming to be an "unprecedented" and "exclusive" look at Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's medical treatment in Cuba.
But the intubated man lying in a hospital bed shown in the photo wasn't Chavez, the newspaper soon discovered, and began backtracking.
El Pais took down the photo, which was on the newspaper's website for about 30 minutes, and also recalled the early editions of its newspaper from newsstands.
Venezuela's ailing President Hugo Chavez will not lose his position even if he is not sworn in on Thursday for a new term, the country's Supreme Court said Wednesday, reaffirming the position of the government.
Chavez can be sworn in at a later date in front of the court, it said. It also ruled that he is on a permitted leave, and that there is not a permanent absence, which would have triggered new elections under the constitution.
Officials said yesterday that medical treatment in Cuba will keep Chavez from being sworn in for his new term this week. The 58-year-old Venezuelan president has been treated for cancer in Cuba for the past month.FULL STORY