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Chávez watch: veteran communist named as labour minister

Last month Hugo Chávez, the president of Venezuela, named Roberto Hernández, a long-term member of the Venezuelan Communist Party, as the new labour minister. The decision came days after Chavez ordered the nationalization of a leading steel-making company. The Ternium Sidor steel works was taken over in April after the company refused to raise workers’ pay. Ternium is Argentine-controlled and this nationalization adds strain to the good relations between Chávez and the Argentine government. Chávez also put pressure on relations with the Mexican president last month when he ordered the nationalization of the cement industry, a move that included Cemex’s Venezuelan operations.

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