Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez vowed to finish his term, which expires in 2007, despite mounting protests against his rule. Hundreds of thousands of protesters clogged streets in the capital, Caracas, and shouted, “The government will fall!” A national strike has shut down oil exports, which provide half the government’s revenues and 14 percent of U.S. oil imports. Business and labor groups are demanding that Chavez resign or permit a referendum on his rule. President Bush’s spokesman, Ari Fleischer, urged Chavez to “let the will of the people be heard.” Chavez derided his opponents as “coup plotters,” and said his government was fighting to make life better for the poor. “We are on the same path as Christ.”
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