Venezuela: With a Velvet Glove

Unlike Rómulo Betancourt, his friend and fiery predecessor, Venezuela's President Raúl Leoni avoids table-pounding talk and precipitate action. "What I do," he says, "I do after lengthy consultation. A chief of state cannot ignore other voices." Last week, in his first annual message to Congress, Leoni stood for almost three hours in Caracas' capitol building and demonstrated the effects of his velvet glove.

In the past year, Venezuela's gross national product, which rose 5.8% in 1963, increased by more than 7%. Oil production, the economy's overwhelming factor, climbed almost 5%, farm production...

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