With leaders from five continents on hand, Venezuela prepared for a day of distinctly different ceremonies - first the formal state funeral of Hugo Chavez, then the controversial swearing in of his anointed interim successor.
President Hugo Chavez, the fiery populist who declared a socialist revolution in Venezuela, crusaded against U.S. influence and championed a leftist revival across Latin America, died Tuesday at age 58 after a nearly two-year bout with cancer.
Venezuela's vice president, Nicolas Maduro, says the government of President Hugo Chavez plans to expel a U.S. Embassy official for meeting with military officers and planning to destabilize the country.
His eyes tearing up with emotion, Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos embraced his rescuers Saturday and said he had wondered whether he would survive a two-day kidnapping ordeal that ended when commandos swept into his captors' mountain hideout.
The government sent top investigators Thursday to hunt for Washington Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, whose abduction has shaken Venezuela's elite athletes and focused attention on the nation's sharp rise in kidnappings for ransom.
Former President Carlos Andres Perez, whose popularity soared with Venezuela's oil-based economy but who later faced riots, a severe economic downturn and impeachment, has died in Miami, his family said Saturday.