[Venezuelanalysis.com's Chris Carlson reports on the opening ceremony of the South American football tournament known as Copa America which began on Tuesday in Venezuela with a colorful opening ceremony in the city of San Cristobal. Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez arrived at the Pueblo Nuevo stadium in San Cristobal on Tuesday accompanied by his friends and supporters ex-football star Diego Maradona and Bolivian President Evo Morales to inaugurate the first Copa America held in Venezuela in the 90-year history of the tournament. To see a video of the Copa America inauguration in Spanish click here. --Ed]
The Americas Soccer Cup Begins, With Demonstrations in Venezuela
By Chris Carlson - Venezuelanalysis.com
June 27, 2007
Mérida, June 27, 2007 (venezuelanalysis.com)— The South American soccer tournament known as America's Cup, or Copa America, began yesterday in Venezuela with a colorful opening ceremony in the city of San Cristobal. Meanwhile, opposition journalists and students marched in Caracas Wednesday to mark one-month since the private television channel RCTV went off the air.
Chavez arrived to the Pueblo Nuevo stadium in San Cristobal last night accompanied by his friends and supporters ex-football star Diego Maradona and Bolivian President Evo Morales to inaugurate the first Copa America held in Venezuela in the 90-year history of the tournament.
"Welcome to this homeland of Bolivar," yelled Chavez to the crowd of more than 40 thousand football fans. "Venezuela opens its heart to all visitors. After 90 years the Copa America came to Venezuela, the cup of happiness, the cup of the people," he said.
Chavez, Morales and Maradona gave the opening plays of the tournament passing the ball between them amid cheers from the crowd. Chavez welcomed both Morales and Maradona to Venezuela and the three left the field having officially inaugurated the 42nd Copa America. The ceremony concluded with festive music and fireworks.
Peru gave the first surprise of the tournament a few hours before with a 3-0 victory over Uruguay in the Andean city of Merida. After the inauguration in San Cristobal, Bolivia and Venezuela ended in a tie, 2-2.
(click here to view entire article)