Team Chávez Waves Imperios Adios

Venezuela moves to semis in Copa America, as America drops out
By Jesse Andrews,  Newser User
Posted Jul 6, 2007 4:36 AM CDT
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, left, gestures a he sits next to unidentified high ranking military officers during a parade to mark Venezuela's Independence Day in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday July...   (Associated Press)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – After vanquishing Mexico in the CONCACAF tournament for North and Central America, a depleted American team went quietly in the first round of the Copa America, hosted by Hugo Chávez's Venezuela. The home team, by contrast, achieved its first victory in the tournament in 40 years, and will move on to the semifinals.

Chávez's larger victory may be the overall smoothness of a tournament on which the oil-rich country spent roughly $1 billion, building two new stadiums and refurbishing seven more. Protests against the socialist government have been sparse and, at any rate, not televised by the state.