News Cuban leader Fidel Castro, right, talks with Spanish journalist, writer and former editor-in-chief of Le Monde diplomatique, Ignacio Ramonet in Havana, Cuba

Fidel Castro was “healthy and alert” during a two-hour discussion about current affairs last week, a Spanish journalist told the Associated Press on Monday.

Venezuela politicians exchange punches in parliament

Venezuelan politicians exchanged punches in parliament yesterday when a fight erupted between members of President Hugo Chavez's socialist party and rivals, in a sign of the nation's political polarisation.

Chavez sees red over TV tales of 'Little Hugo'

In more than a decade in the presidency of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez has brushed off criticism from across the world, and weathered escalating attacks from his opposition at home, but in the end it seems to have been a Colombian soap opera that successfully got under his skin.

Get me Clinton, says Chávez after veto

President Hugo Chávez has sought to end a diplomatic stand-off with the US by suggesting Bill Clinton, the actor Sean Penn or the film director Oliver Stone as America's envoy to Caracas.

Venezuela: Pérez burial delayed over relatives' row

A bitter dispute between relatives of the former Venezuelan president Carlos Andrés Pérez has prevented his body being returned home from Miami.

Carlos Andrés Pérez: President of Venezuela during the oil boom who was later forced out of office

Just as in the case of the current president Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan presidency of the social democrat Carlos Andrés Pérez was never dull. He first led his nation from 1974-79 at the height of the oil boom when he nationalised the oil industry and the country became a world player with the nickname "Saudi Venezuela."

Former Venezualan president dies aged 88

The former Venezuelan president, Carlos Andres Perez, who survived two coup attempts but was finally forced from office as the first Latin American leader to be convicted of corruption, died on Saturday.

Chavez 'would expel US ambassador'

Tension flared between the US and Venezuela over Washington's nominee for ambassador on Saturday. President Hugo Chavez warned the diplomat would be detained and put on the next flight home if he sets foot in the country.

'Dictator' Chavez to rule by decree

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has moved to bypass parliament and govern by decree for one year, prompting opposition charges that he was acting like a dictator.

Diego Maradona in line to coach Iran according to reports

It takes little to fuel speculation about the career of Argentine soccer great Diego Maradona but one nod from President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was enough for a newspaper to report he is line to coach Iran.

Latin American radicals call for Kyoto renewal

Three radical Latin American leaders may make the difference between agreement and failure at the UN climate conference in Cancun, Mexico, which reaches its climax this week.

Livingstone too cosy with Fidel Castro, said envoy

Ken Livingstone, the former mayor of London, was accused of being "anti-American" in a leaked email from the US envoy to Britain.

Chavez leads fight for rights – and this time it's personal

Trouble lies ahead for graffiti artists in Caracas and other cities and towns across Venezuela whose sole professional mission is to plaster every available façade, fence or broken-down bus with brightly painted portraits of the man they call Comandante: President Hugo Chavez is no longer flattered and wants control of his image rights.

DVD: South of the Border, For retail & rental (Dogwoof)

In this sub-Michael Moore documentary, Oliver Stone schmoozes with South American presidents, and learns that they're not quite the anti-USA Hitlers that Fox News makes them out to be.

Chavez meets Syrian President

The Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez met his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, yesterday on the Middle East leg of an international tour partly intended to counter what he calls US "imperialism".

Chavez promises oil supplies to Belarus

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez promised to provide oil to the former Soviet republic of Belarus for the next two centuries.

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Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us