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Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez employs Ken Livingstone as urban planning advisor

Former London Mayor Ken Livingstone has landed a new job advising Venezuela's socialist president Hugo Chavéz on urban planning.

Livingstone, who shares many of Chavéz's left-wing political views, told the BBC he was 'proud and honoured' to be working as a consultant on the transformation of Venezuelan capital Caracas.

He said: 'President Chavéz has asked that I continue to work with the city and its new mayors to use the experience of London to actually give form to his dream that [Caracas] can be a first-world city in a first-world country.'

As mayor,Livingstone had struck a deal to swap cheap Venezuelan oil for city planning advice, but this was cancelled by his Tory successor Boris Johnson, who said many Londoners found it 'uncomfortable'.

Although Chavéz is generally a popular figure in Venezuela, particularly among the country's poor majority, he is a controversial figure internationally. He has referred to US President George Bush as an 'asshole' and 'Míster Danger' and this year threatened to cut off Venezuelan oil supplies to the EU in a row over immigration laws.

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