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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 June 2006, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Chavez bid to counter Hollywood
Hugo Chavez (left)
Hugo Chavez (l) says the US has a stranglehold on the film market
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has opened a film studio in the country aimed at curbing the cultural influence of the US in Latin America.

"It's a Hollywood dictatorship. They inoculate us with messages that don't belong to our traditions," he said.

The government is giving $11m (5.8m) to the project which will fund local and South American films.

Mr Chavez has been a staunch critic of President George W Bush and often attacks free-market policies.


The president toured film sets, costume rooms and sat in the director's chair on his visit to the Film Villa Foundation on the outskirts of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.

One of the first projects is a series about Francisco de Miranda, who fought for Venezuela's independence from Spain in the 19th Century and one of Mr Chavez's heroes.

He has also accused Hollywood of portraying Latin Americans as violent criminals and drug traffickers, and urged children to turn away from superheroes such as Superman.

The Venezuelan government is the main investor in Telesur, a Latin American TV news station seen as an alternative to US networks such as CNN.

Some US politicians have branded Telesur, which began broadcasting last year, as a "propaganda tool" for Mr Chavez.

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