In Venezuela the new President, fifty-three year old lawyer and former journalist Luis Herrera Campins, has taken office with a pledge of open government -- but also a hint that his administration will introduce tighter economic policies and austerity and discipline in public sector spending.
CU ZOOM OUT: Emblem on wall, Ex-president Carlos Andres Perez, President Luis Herrera Campins, and President of Congress, Godfredo Gonzalez and another official.
SCU: Perez seated next to Herrera
SV: newsmen PAN TO Herrera speaking.
SCU: Herrera continues speaking PAN TO congressmen listening. (2 shots)
CU: Gonzales listening PAN TO Herrera speaking.
GV: audience and congressmen applauding.
In Congress the Social Christians will have a relative majority, but both they and the Democratic Action Party will have to rely on a host of mostly left-wing small groups for an absolute majority. Later this year more than 1,500 new wage agreements are to be discussed between workers and employers, with trade unions representing some three million workers demanding a fairer distribution of Venezuela's growing wealth.
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Background: In Venezuela the new President, fifty-three year old lawyer and former journalist Luis Herrera Campins, has taken office with a pledge of open government -- but also a hint that his administration will introduce tighter economic policies and austerity and discipline in public sector spending.
SYNOPSIS: Senor Herrera was sworn in at a ceremony in Caracas on Monday (12 March. He succeeds former President Carlos Andres Perez of the Democratic Action Party, whose government nationalised the oil industry in 1976. Venezuela is the world's fifth largest oil producer -- and although nationalisation boosted the already booming economy it failed to help the poor.
President Herrera is the second Social Christian candidate to win Presidential office since democracy was restored in Venezuela in 1958. Speaking to the National Congress after being sworn in, he said he intended to fight against corruption and social injustice.
Despite its huge oil earnings Venezuela has debts totalling 20 billion U.S. dollars and the lack of housing and social services are said by some observers to be a threat to the country's stability.
At least thirty-five percent cent of the country's 13 million inhabitants live in shanty towns surrounding Caracas and other cities.
The President of the Venezuelan Congress, Godfredo Gonzales was among those who heard Senor Herrera promise Venezuela would remain a reliable source of oil to its traditional customers. The news President pledged to retain friendly relations with the United States but he also proposed an increase in links with Communist countries. In a reference to the country's huge burrowing bill for industrial expansion he said "I take over a mortgaged Venezuela." His speech was enthusiastically applauded.