Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Thursday, February 15, 2007

A bid for a full socialist state in Venezuela

Reported as Chavez bid for more state control:
President Hugo Chavez has pledged to nationalise key Venezuelan companies, as part of plans to transform the country into a full socialist state.

Mr Chavez said he wanted to see major Venezuelan power and telecoms companies come under state control.

He also called for an end to foreign ownership of lucrative crude oil refineries in the Orinoco region.

Mr Chavez's comments came in an address to the nation following the swearing in of his new cabinet.

"All of that which was privatised, let it be nationalised," he said during the speech.

"The nation should recover its ownership of strategic sectors."

Mr Chavez said Venezuela was moving towards "a socialist republic" that required "deep reform of our national constitution".

"We are in an existential moment of Venezuelan life," he said. "We're heading toward socialism, and nothing and no-one can prevent it."

Mr Chavez demanded an end to the current autonomy of the country's central bank and said he would ask Venezuela's parliament to grant him additional powers to legislate by presidential decree.

He has argued in the past with bank directors who have opposed his lavish spending of Venezuela's vast oil wealth.

His calls for nationalisation appeared in particular to affect Electricidad de Caracas, which is currently owned by US firm AES, and CA Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela (CANTV), the country's largest publicly traded company.

Mr Chavez had threatened to nationalise the company earlier this year unless they lifted their pension payment to meet those of the minimum wage.

The BBC's Daniel Schweimler says that these bold moves by Mr Chavez, who now has allies across Latin America, will shock some and be welcomed by others.
Why do all tin horn dictators sound the same?

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