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Festive Left Friday Blogging: Another salute!

This one's in honor of Venezuela's independence day, July 5.

Hugo's new sash!

Chavecito's a smash in his new sash. (Note the horse on the coat of arms; it's now racing to the left. Story here.)

Hugo with Kalashnikov

And to celebrate the Venezuelan military's purchase of 100,000 new Kalashnikov rifles, he's also hosting the weapon's Russian inventor, at right. (The man in the middle is the translator.) The other Russian guest of honor was the Sukhoi fighter jet, of which Chavecito is planning to order a couple dozen (to replace the aging F-16 fleet, which the US is reneging on its contract to service).

Four Presidents!

One independence day...four presidents. So much for Chavecito being isolated! Left to right: Nestor Kirchner (Argentina), Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Evo Morales (Bolivia), and Nicanor Duarte (Paraguay).

And in any event, the Chavistas won't be throwing in the towel anytime soon:

Hugo on a beach towel

Yes, that's a beach towel. Kitschy? Yes, but I've seen worse.