Chavez re-elected

After securing more than 60 per cent of the vote over rival Manuel Rosales, President Hugo Chavez won a third term in office on Monday. He secured the votes of the poor by promising to use oil funds to improve the welfare system. Appearing on the balcony of the presidential palace in Caracas, he told supporters that Venezuela was firmly on the path to socialism and vowed to improve many social programmes. Relations between the US and Venezuela have been strained over the past few years and the US accuses Chavez of attempting to destabilise South America and his close ties with Fidel Castro has done little to quell tensions.