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Venezuela Creates Happiness Agency

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MADURO
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro gestures as he speaks during a press conference at Venezuela's Socialist Party (PSUV) headquarters in Caracas, on October 21, 2013. AFP PHOTO/Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty

CARACAS, Venezuela -- CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — At first, many Venezuelans thought it was a joke: President Nicolas Maduro is creating a Deputy Ministry of Supreme Social Happiness.

The president says that the pediatrician in charge of the agency will coordinate all anti-poverty missions created by the late President Hugo Chavez.

Wags had a field day Friday, waxing sarcastic on Twitter about how happy they felt a day after the announcement.

Oil-rich Venezuela is chronically short of basic goods and medical supplies. Annual inflation is running officially at near 50 percent and the U.S. dollar now fetches more than seven times the official rate on the black market.