Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chavez Announces Nationalizations

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced plans to nationalize Venezuela's electrical and telecommunications companies, pledging to create a socialist state in a bold move with echoes of Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution.

"We're moving toward a socialist republic of Venezuela, and that requires a deep reform of our national constitution," Chavez said Monday in a televised address after swearing in the Cabinet.

Chavez, to be sworn in Wednesday to a third term that runs until 2013, also said he wanted a constitutional amendment to eliminate the autonomy of the Central Bank and would soon ask the National Assembly, solidly controlled by his allies, to give him greater powers to legislate by presidential decree.

The nationalization appeared likely to affect Electricidad de Caracas, owned by Arlington, Virginia-based AES Corp., and Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela, known as CANTV, the country's largest publicly traded company.

"All of that which was privatized, let it be nationalized," Chavez said, referring to "all of those sectors in an area so important and strategic for all of us as is electricity."

Chavez said oil projects in the Orinoco River basin involving foreign oil companies should be under national ownership. He did say whether that meant a complete nationalization, but said any vestiges of private control over the energy sector should be undone.

"I'm referring to how international companies have control and power over all those processes of improving the heavy crudes of the Orinoco belt -- no -- that should become the property of the nation," Chavez said.