Venezuela’s taking back the power

Dan Grech Feb 12, 2007

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Today, a Virginia-based power company will reluctantly sign a contract to sell one of its subsidiaries to Venezuela. I say, reluctant, because AES has no choice. This is part of Venezuela’s plan to nationalize electricity, oil and other industries. Dan Grech is our Americas Desk reporter at WLRN. He’s in Caracas.


DAN GRECH: AES bought Electricidad de Caracas seven years ago for $1.6 billion. Today the Venezuelan government is paying less than half that.

Still, investors were relieved. After all, President Hugo Chavez could have tried to take the company outright.

JOSE ANTONIO GIL YEPEZ: The state is negotiating the price and paying.

That’s Jose Antonio Gil Yepez, president of Datanalisis, a market research firm in Caracas. He says this takeover is just the beginning.

GIL YEPEZ: As they can maintain such a high concentration of power and very little organized opposition, well I think we’re going to be seeing more of these actions to enlarge the size of the state.

President Chavez says he’ll nationalize other electricity firms, oil projects and the country’s largest telephone company.

In Caracas, I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.