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Venezuela’s Chavez Congratulates Mexico’s Pena Nieto on Win

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez congratulated Enrique Pena Nieto for winning the July 1 Mexican presidential contest as Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who focused his campaign on Mexico’s poor, continues to protest the result as fraudulent.

Chavez said in an e-mailed statement today that he was sending congratulations in accordance with the results released by Mexico’s Federal Electoral Institute. He made no mention of Lopez Obrador or the charges by his Democratic Revolution Party that Pena Nieto’s Institutional Revolutionary Party bought votes.

Chavez, who supported Lopez Obrador’s campaign in 2006, when he lost to President Felipe Calderon by less than a percentage point and protested the result and alleged fraud for months, has focused his government on redistributing wealth in Venezuela. Chavez said on Venezuelan state TV last month that he would work with whoever won the Mexican election.

A final tally that includes a recount of more than half of the 50.3 million votes cast was completed yesterday, according to data on the website of Mexico’s electoral institute. It showed Pena Nieto received 38.2 percent of votes, compared with 31.6 percent for Lopez Obrador. That is little changed from the preliminary count.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Jaramillo in Bogota at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Goodman at

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