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Venezuela, US Resume Dialogue


Venezuela and the United States are trying to mend relations two weeks after expelling each other's diplomats in a dispute about alleged U.S. espionage.

The U.S. Ambassador in Caracas, William Brownfield, said Wednesday on Venezuelan television that without a doubt, dialogue has been established. Brownfield said Venezuela's Ambassador to the United States Bernardo Alvarez met Tuesday in Washington with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon.

Relations between the U.S. and Venezuela have grown increasingly strained since Hugo Chavez became president of the South American nation in 1999.

Washington has raised questions about Mr. Chavez's commitment to democracy, while he has accused the Bush administration of trying to topple his government. The United States denies the accusation.

U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld recently compared Mr. Chavez to Adolf Hitler and described as worrisome the rise of the Venezuelan leader and other leftist populist leaders in Latin America. Mr. Chavez has nicknamed President Bush "Mr. Danger" and "Hitler."

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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