THE AMERICAS: The Guests of Venezuela

Over the rigid shoulders of a line of Venezuelan soldiers at Maiquetía Airport, streams of spittle arced through humid sunlight, splattered on the neatly pressed grey suit of the Vice President of the U.S. and on the red wool suit of his wife. But worse was in store: less than an hour later Dick and Pat Nixon brushed close to injury and possibly death in violence-torn streets of Caracas, last stop on their eight-nation visit to South America.

The mood of the airport crowd was set an hour before the Nixons' silver-and-white Air Force DC-6B touched down. A pack of...

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