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Cheering crowd welcomes home president

Published:Sunday | January 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM
File President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP):
Supporters of Nicolas Maduro are celebrating his return to Venezuela after his two-week trip to shore up foreign support for his economically challenged country.

Crowds of people in red shirts cheered outside the presidential palace yesterday as a bus arrived carrying Maduro from the airport. Supporters released balloons and a lively band struck up salsa music.

Venezuela's oil-dependent economy has been strangled by falling crude prices. Maduro visited Russia, China and five other countries to seek loans and make a plea for oil producers to limit production.

The government has declared the effort a success, with Maduro touting an infusion of investments from China and a new financial alliance with Qatar. But details have been sparse and Venezuelans have been hard-pressed to find even basic goods in the country's markets.