>Venezuela name change will honor Bolivar
>Copyright  1999 Nando Media
>Copyright  1999 APonline
>   Venezuelan rights activists win major victory 10 years after riots
>CARACAS, Venezuela (November 12, 1999 7:56 p.m. EST
>http://www.nandotimes.com) -
>Venezuela's Constitutional Assembly voted Friday to change the
>country's name to the
>Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in honor of South American
>independence hero Simon
>The assembly voted to include the name change in a proposed new
>constitution it is writing
>for Venezuela. The new constitution is to be voted on in a national
>referendum Dec. 15.
>The assembly had previously voted against the name change, saying it
>would be too costly
>to change passports, currency and official documents.
>But President Hugo Chavez, who idolizes Bolivar and proposed the new
>name, lobbied
>assembly members. The assembly is dominated by Chavez supporters.
>To minimize costs, the assembly decided that the name change would
>be implemented
>only after the current supply of documents and official papers is
>Bolivar, who was born into a wealthy family in Caracas in 1783, is a
>towering figure in
>Venezuela and other Latin American nations. He freed Venezuela,
>Colombia, Ecuador,
>Peru and Bolivia - the country named after him - from Spanish rule.
>But his goal of uniting South America eventually failed, and in 1830 he
>died a poor and hated
>man. His reputation has since been rehabilitated.
>Chavez often quotes Bolivar and has named several of his government
>programs after him.
>The assembly has come under fire for rushing the new constitution and
>controversial articles regarding abortion, the media, the economy and
>other issues.
>It approved some 400 articles in about three weeks and plans to hold
>the second and final
>debate on the entire document in about two days, wrapping up their work
>this weekend.
>They say they are working quickly so that Chavez, who took office in
>February, can move
>ahead with a "peaceful revolution" aimed at reducing widespread
>corruption and poverty in
>the oil-rich South American nation.

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