Venezuela branch of the Carter Center closes
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Venezuela branch of the Carter Center closes

A pro-democracy foundation run by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter has shut down its 13-year-old electoral observation office in Venezuela as that South American country gears up for hotly contested legislative elections.

The Carter Center says in a report issued Wednesday that it closed its Caracas office May 31 to concentrate its limited resources in other countries that have solicited its support.

See also: Venezuela elections: not just one for the boys

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The Carter Center has been a frequent observer of elections in Venezuela and it mediated talks between the socialist government and opposition following a 2002 coup that briefly unseated then President Hugo Chavez.

But members of the Venezuelan opposition have harshly criticized the organization for validating elections won by Chavez amid complaints that the process leading up to the votes unfairly favored him.

Associated Press