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Venezuelan Government Addresses Housing Crisis


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his government will build 150,000 new homes this year to address his country's severe housing shortage. He also warned that the state may expropriate some homes that are on the market for too much money.

On his weekly television program Sunday, Mr. Chavez said the government has built almost 16,000 homes so far this year and will step up production to meet the new goal.

Complaining of market speculation, President Chavez also said he may regulate sale prices of second homes, going as far as to expropriate those that are overpriced. He said his government would pay owners what the homes were really worth.

The hills surrounding Venezuela's capital, Caracas, are carpeted with shantytowns. President Chavez has vowed to change this, making housing central to what he calls his socialist revolution.

Mr. Chavez also told Sunday television audiences that Venezuela's military will now be trained to fight, what he called a war of resistance, against the United States.

He said the military has already begun learning an "asymmetric" warfare in which guerrilla tactics are used against a stronger military force.

The U.S. has repeatedly denied that it is planning to attack to Venezuela, but does say that Mr. Chavez is a destabilizing force in the region.

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