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Chavez accuses former oil officials

CARACAS, Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez on Sunday accused former Venezuelan officials of allowing foreign oil companies to “rob” Venezuela’s immense petroleum wealth, saying they should be charged with crimes.

Former executives at state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, or PDVSA, permitted international companies to blatantly violate contracts by extracting billions of barrels of light, sweet oil without investing in technology required to produce heavy crude, Chavez said.

“The transnational companies did not comply with the agreements,” Chavez said on his weekly radio and television program. “They never invested in technology so they wouldn’t have to spend money.”

Chavez frequently complains of widespread government graft and corruption during a period popularly referred to as the Fourth Republic

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