Chavez threatens to nationalize banks

Alisa Roth May 4, 2007
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Chavez threatens to nationalize banks

Alisa Roth May 4, 2007
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TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Earlier this week, we talked about Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez taking over his country’s oil fields from big corporations. Well, now he wants to gobble up the banks and the steel companies too. More now from Alisa Roth.


ALISA ROTH: President Chavez says he wants banks to finance Venezuela’s industrial sector at low cost. And if the banks don’t want to do that, he says, it would be better for them to be nationalized so the government can force them to support the country’s development.

It’s not clear whether the president is only talking about Venezuelan banks or about international ones too.

Patrick Esteruelas says whatever the case, the threats are part of the Venezuelan government’s larger plans.

PATRICK ESTERUELAS: The government suddenly has a broad and long-term strategy to impose a tighter state control over key areas of industry.

Esteruelas says Venezuela will use a variety of tactics to carry out those goals. He says that could range from physically taking over businesses . . .

ESTERUELAS: . . . to tighter regulation, without going so far as wholesale expropriation in sectors that are crucial to Venezuela’s economic success story and where it doesn’t necessarily want to see the private sector crowded out

Those sectors could include some areas of manufacturing, as well as banking.

In New York, I’m Alisa Roth for Marketplace.

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