Venezuela in the Chavez era: a reporter’s view

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In this June 10, 2007 photo, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks with AP reporter Ian James in San Fernando de Apure, Venezuela. During more than eight years covering Venezuela, James says he has gained more street smarts, become a tougher, more resourceful reporter and developed a deep affection for Venezuela, a country where events often collide in unpredictable and dramatic ways and where a wide gap frequently separates the reality on the street from the socialist-inspired dreams that Chavez has instilled in his followers. (AP Photo/Fernando Llano)CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Pushing our infant son in a stroller, my wife and I stepped out of the terminal at Simon Bolivar International Airport and were approached by several taxi drivers offering to take us to Caracas. One of them, a soft-spoken young man in his 20s, offered the lowest fare by far, and I handed him one of our bags.

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