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Venezuela Asserts Control as Energy Prices Rise

In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez moves to tighten control of the country's oil reserves at a time when oil is at record levels and no slackening of prices is in sight.

Analysts say the result is that Chavez is rewriting the rules of oil investment, forcing huge companies to share ownership and profits with the Venezuelan government.

Chavez's plan doesn't call for nationalizing the energy industry; instead, it calls for forming what some experts call "hybrid socialism." And oil companies, while unhappy, are not racing for the door. After all, a minority share is better than no share at record prices.

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Julie McCarthy
Julie McCarthy has spent most of career traveling the world for NPR. She's covered wars, prime ministers, presidents and paupers. But her favorite stories "are about the common man or woman doing uncommon things," she says.