Timeline of Expropriations

Hugo Chávez’s government intervention spans from oil and gas to a wide range of other strategic sectors and industries, including aluminum, cement, gold, iron, steel, farming, transportation, electricity, food production (rice, fruit juice, sugar and meat), banking, paper and the media.

2012

OCTOBER

  • An analysis by the Venezuelan Confederation of Industries (Conindustria) reveals that from 2002 to 2012 the Chávez government has taken over 1168 foreign and domestic companies.

SEPTEMBER

  • President Hugo Chavez’s wave of expropriations reaches pop culture, as the popular Venezuelan band Los Amigos Invisibles their song “Loser” was used in a pro-Chávez campaign plug without the band’s permission.

AUGUST

  • N/A

JULY

  • N/A

JUNE

  • Chávez secures a loan from an off-budget fund to finance the expropriation of Siderurgica del Turbio SA, a steel products company.

MAY

  • N/A

APRIL

  • N/A

MARCH                                    

  • Chávez threatens to expropriate banks that support his political opposition, stating that, “it wouldn’t be bad at all to issue a decree and bring those firms under state control.”
  • The government threatens to nationalize the water utility of the State of Monagas, after the water supply was polluted by an oil spill. The state’s governor, Jose Briceño, refused the PSUV’s request to turn on the water pumps, claiming the water supply was still contaminated and not fit for drinking. After doing so, party leaders suspended the governor and took control of Monagas state.
  • The Venezuelan Central Bank reports that public and private investment in the Venezuelan economy is 10.3 percent below the 2008 level. Experts suggest that expropriations and other Chávez economic policies are to blame.

FEBRUARY

  • Venezuela’s state oil company PDVSA claims that it has paid Exxon Mobil Corp roughly $250 million in compensation for nationalized assets, hundreds of millions less than the $908 million ordered by the International Chamber of Commerce. Chávez claims that the difference reflects the debt owed by Exxon to PDVSA.
  • The Barbados-based holding company Gambrinus, Corp files an arbitration claim in the International Center for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) over the nationalization of a fertilizer project.
  • PepsiCo’s Venezuelan subsidiary is given four days by the government to prove that it has complied with Chávez’s latest round of price controls. Chávez has threatened to seize the company, along with one of its partners, Empresas Polar, if it does not comply with the price controls.
  • The member countries of the Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America (ALPA), an alliance of socialist and socialist-leaning governments that includes Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, declares its support for nationalizations, proclaiming their desire to “strengthen the role of the State as a central player in the economy.”
  • The packaging company Smurfit Kappa Group, having posted a strong 2011 business report, reveals fears that its Venezuelan operations will be nationalized by the Chávez government.
  • Chávez declares that he will expropriate companies that fail to comply with his price controls, stating that  “If a company doesn’t accept the new prices, we will nationalize it. We don’t have any problem doing that.”

JANUARY

  • Chávez threatens to expropriate banks that refuse to finance agricultural projects promoted by his government.
  • Congresswoman and presidential pre-candidate for the Venezuelan opposition primaries, María Corina Machado, stood up in the middle of on one of Chávez’ notoriously long winded speeches, in defense of Venezuela’s private property, stating that “expropriation is robbery”.
  • Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) awarded Exxon a net payment of only $747m, substantially less than the $6.5-7bn it was said to be seeking.
  • Chávez government announces plans to leave the World Bank’s international arbitration body potentially affection around 20 companies with unsettle led disputes and putting billions of dollars of foreign investment at risk.
  • Chávez’ withdraw from the Washington D.C. based ICSID would mean that disputes with foreign companies, including an unsettled disagreement with ExxonMobil, will be heard by Venezuelan judges.
  • Venezuelan Confederation of Industries (Conindustria): Over the past seven years the government has levied more than 1,087 private businesses recording the largest amount of seizures at 497 during 2011.
  • Think-tank Econoalítica estimates the cost of appropriations at USD 22 billion.The Federation of Spanish Centers of Venezuela (FECEVE) asks the Spanish consulate in Caracas to support the resolution of the pending expropriation cases of approximately 300 Spanish citizens currently living in Venezuela.
  • Venezuela’s Energy Minister says an agreement cannot be reached with ConocoPhillips over the company’s expropriated assets.
  • President Chávez threatens to ignore any ICSID decision regarding a multi-billion claim for a nationalized oil project by Exxon Mobil Corp., going as far as saying that he will pull out of the arbitration panel altogether.

2011

DECEMBER

  • Chávez government expropriates 16,479,300 square meters of land in different states around the country under the banner of the Housing Emergency Law.
  • Chávez orders the creation of the Superior Strategic Council for Expropriations, a 15-member council tasked with assisting and facilitating the government’s expropriation policies.
  • Venezuelan government expropriates the old headquarters of the Venezuelan newspaper, El Nacional.
  • Between 2007 and 2011, only 2.2 percent of the total amount paid by the Venezuelan government to expropriated companies went to domestic companies.
  • Chávez government expropriates all assets belonging to Grafitos del Orinoco C.A.
  • In a controversial ruling, the Venezuelan Supreme Court endorses the non-enforcement of Criminal Code sanctions against those occupying private landholdings and plots of land in Venezuela, claiming the “right to food.”

NOVEMBER

  • Chávez announces that “the plan for the elimination of private property has only begun.”
  • Venezuelan government takes control of “Los Guaiqueríes de Margarita,” a basketball team formerly owned by expropriated ferry company Conferry.
  • Chávez orders the takeover of 1,429,71 square meters of land from a Caracas car dealership.
  • Chávez issues stern warning to a number of national and multinational companies to comply with the newly enacted Law for Fair Costs and Prices. U.S. giants Colgate, Palmolive, Pepsi-Cola, Nestlé, Jonhson and Johnson, and Coca-Cola are among the companies under the government’s watchful eye.
  • Chávez threatens to expropriate any bank that fails to provide Venezuelans with long term mortgage credits.
  • President Chávez announces “rescue” of 580 hectares in the Quíbor Valley in the state of Lara, where 66 percent of the nation’s onions, 36 percent of peppers, and 16 percent of tomatoes are grown.
  • Private Property Rights Observatory records show that approximately 2,534 violations to private property have been registered in Venezuela between 2005 and November 2011.

OCTOBER

  • Chávez expropriates popular tourist destination “Los Roques,” beginning its transition into a federally- controlled territory.
  • Venezuelan government takes over laboratories owned by Opin Farma in the state of Miranda.
  • Thirteen tourism companies operating from the Simón Bolívar Airport in Maiquetía receive a 30-day eviction notice, which forces them to abandon the business places they have occupied for approximately 15 years.
  • Chávez launches an investigation of Italian dairy company, Parmalat, for allegedly hoarding powdered milk.
  • A year after the expropriation of Owens Illinois, the company’s workers claim production is at half capacity.
  • Chávez signs order authorizing the temporary take over and evaluation process of the Orpin Farma laboratories in Guarenas.
  • Venezuela’s National Assembly approves law that grants absolute power to the government to regulate rent prices and even force owners to give away their properties after a certain period of time.

SEPTEMBER

  • Chávez government says it is willing to pay a combined sum of $2.5 billion out of the $12 billion demanded by Exxon Mobile and ConocoPhillips in their arbitration cases against Venezuela before the World Bank’s International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
  • U.S. bottle maker Owens Illinois files an arbitration claim against Venezuela before ICSID, following Chávez’s nationalization of the company’s operations in October 2010.
  • Oklahoma-based, oil-services company Helmerich & Payne Inc., files a lawsuit against Venezuela in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia over the 2010 government takeover of 11 drilling rigs.
  • Venezuelan government announces that Irish cardboard maker, Smurfit Kappa Group Plc, will not be compensated for its seized 12,000 hectares of forestry plantations.
  • Chávez announces the nationalization of Venezuela’s gold industry.
  • Chávez orders the nationalization of Conferry, a domestic company that provides ferry services to popular tourist destinations.
  • Chávez’s government expropriates storehouse used in the processing of personal hygiene products.
  • Three companies (Oci-Metalmecánica, C.A., KSB Venezuela, Carioli C.A) which provide production and assembling services to the automotive industry are expropriated by the Venezuelan government.                           

AUGUST

  • Chávez orders the expropriation of all farmland owned by Irish cardboard maker Smurfit Kappa Group Plc (SKG) in the states of Portuguesa, Lara, and Cojedes.
  • The Chávez government announces plans to nationalize entire gold mining industry in Venezuela with the exception of Rusoro, a Russian-Canadian mining company.
  • Steel tube-maker Tenaris initiates arbitration proceedings against Venezuela before the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).
  • Chávez orders the expropriation of any property belonging to aluminum company Aluminios de Barquisimeto, C.A.
  • Canadian gold mining company Gold Reserve increases its claim against Venezuela from $1.9 billion to $2.1 billion.
  • Chávez threatens to expropriate all water bottling companies, affecting Venezuelan subsidiaries of U.S. companies Pepsi and Coca-Cola.

JULY

  • In Maracaibo, 47 expropriated farmlands remain abandoned, 24 farms continue to be partially or completely intervened, and the Peonío de Jesús “Chucho” Meleán farm is militarized.
  • Venezuela’s Ministry of Energy and Oil takes control of four gas stations in the Greater Caracas area.
  • Texas-based Koch Industries files arbitration case against the Chávez’s government before the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) in relation to the government’s expropriation of a fertilizer plant that the U.S. company built in the 1990s.

JUNE

  • Venezuela moves forward with the expropriation of Argentine steel company Matesi, declaring all assets to be of “public and social interest.”
  • Chávez government confirms the compulsory acquisition of all personal property and real estate of glass company Vivex.
  • Chávez approves expropriation of 129 apartments in the Augusto Malavé Villalba complex in Carabobo State.
  • Venezuelan government approves the expropriation of 22 plots of land in Miranda State.

MAY

  • The Canary Islands’ parliament continues demanding that the Zapatero government intervene on behalf of Spanish companies expropriated by the Chávez government.
  • Bolivarian militias take over several parking lots in Caracas.
  • At least 18 construction firms are “temporarily” taken over by the Ministry of the Interior and Justice to work on the development of the Uribante Caparo dam.
  • Chávez expropriates lots, parcels and apartments belonging to banks under the control of Fogade, the national Deposits Guarantee and Bank Protection Fund.
  • Venezuelan president threatens to expropriate large, supermarket chain EPA if they don’t play by the government’s rules.
  • Chávez confirms expropriation of a two-hectare plot of land in Sucre.

APRIL

  • The Canary Islands’ parliament keeps pressuring the Spanish government to intervene on behalf of Spanish companies expropriated by the Chávez government.
  • Chávez authorizes the forceful acquisition of 47 apartments in Carabobo.
  • The Venezuelan government initiates process to take over 300,000 hectares of land from an English company.
  • Chávez orders the temporary intervention of Viviendas de Salamanca C.A and the immediate takeover of Distribuidora San Juan, C.A.

MARCH

  • Venezuela estimates that an international court will award Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips less than $2.5 billion for assets nationalized by President Chávez in 2007.
  • Williams Companies Inc. files international arbitration suit against Venezuela, seeking compensation for two natural-gas compression facilities seized by the government in 2009.
  • President Chávez legalizes the expropriation of land and real estate across Venezuela deemed “vacant” as a response to country’s housing shortage.

FEBRUARY

  • Canadian company Crystallex files arbitration suit against Venezuelan government citing, “breach of the [Canada-Venezuela Agreement for the Promotion and Protection of Investments] treaty’s protections against expropriation, unfair and inequitable treatment and discrimination.”

JANUARY

  • President Chávez orders the takeover of more than two acres of land in a western district of Caracas owned by Empresas Polar.
  • A survey by Datanálisis finds that 80% of Venezuelans want private property to be respected.
  • President Chávez threatens Banco Provincial de Venezuela, an affiliate of Spanish bank BBVA, with expropriation.

2010

DECEMBER

  • President Chávez orders the expropriation of 43 lots south of Maracaibo Lake.
  • According to Datanálisis, 74% of Venezuelans reject the government’s expropriations of private companies.
  • President Chávez threatens to take control of local unit of Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya and other large financial institutions.
  • Venezuelan government threatens to expel and expropriate plants from Toyota and other “Asian and U.S. auto companies operating in Venezuela if they fail to share technology with locals.”

NOVEMBER

  • Venezuelan government issues Decree 39.553, ordering the expropriation of all assets from Lomas de la Hacienda, El Encantado, Mata Linda, El Fortín and San Antonio.
  • Vice President Elías Jaua announces the expropriation of the entire fleet of Aser Transporte C.A., a Venezuelan transportation company that distributes refrigerated goods.
  • Venezuelan government finalizes expropriation of Sambil La Candelaria shopping mall in Caracas.

OCTOBER:

  • President Chávez orders the expropriation of six urban residential development projects, accusing the construction companies involved of overcharging.
  • Venezuela’s steel company, Siderúrgica del Turbio (Sidetur), vows to launch a legal challenge to the government takeover of the company ordered by President Chávez.
  • President Chávez announces the expropriation of another U.S. company, Ohio-based Owens-Illinois, Inc., a U.S. glassware manufacturer with operations in Venezuela and 20 other countries.
  • Mr. Chávez nationalizes Venoco, Venezuela’s largest chemical and lubricant company, as well as Fertinitro makers of fertilizer, after accusing the two firms of price speculation.
  • Immediately after the September 26 parliamentary elections, President Chávez orders the expropriation of the corporate headquarters and all nine branches of Gaisa, a Venezuelan agro-industrial corporation made up of three subsidiaries: Friasa, Koma Investments and Delicateses Las Fuentes.
  • Following the opposition’s popular vote victory in Venezuela’s September 26 parliamentary elections, President Chávez begins a new wave of expropriations, quickly fulfilling his promise to further radicalize his “21st Century Socialism.”
  • Mr. Chávez announces the expropriation of land owned by Agroisleña, a local agricultural company which has been selling farming supplies and equipment in Venezuela for over 50 years.
  •  Venezuelan strongman orders the expropriation of farms and cattle herds belonging to the local subsidiary of Lord Vestey’s group, a meat production company based in Great Britain.
  • Mr. Chávez ordered the expropriation of a mill belonging to Sivensa, a Venezuelan steel manufacturer.
  • Venezuelan government seizes the headquarters and nine affiliate offices of food company Gaisa.
  • President Chávez promises to seize 250,000 hectares of privately-owned farmland, saying “There will be no deal with the bourgeoisie.”

SEPTEMBER:

  • Finance Commission Vice President announces that bankers will be required by law to provide finance to businesses that operate under the social property model.
  • Hot dog vendors warn others that President Chávez’s statements about fast-food operators are a sign that such businesses are vulnerable to expropriation.
  • New industrial property legislation is proposed to create “new models and reach a new level of social knowledge, and ensure access to medicines and quality products.”

AUGUST:

  • Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez expropriates Seguros La Previsora, the fourth-largest insurance company in the country. The private company, which has been serving Venezuelans for 95 years, was taken over by the government and has been under investigation since December 2009 for alleged “irregularities.”
  • President Chávez proposes an Urban Agriculture Law that would allow the use of city plots for farming.
  • President Chávez calls on Communes to intervene and expropriate private companies that deviate from his policies.
  • Government launches the “Made in Socialism” campaign as a vehicle by which to demonstrate the achievements of expropriated companies.

JULY:

  • A report by Caracas-based Ecoanalítica, a prominent economic consulting firm, found that, since 2006, the cost of the expropriations executed by President Chávez have added up to $23.3 billion. The Venezuelan government still owes more than $14 billion in payments to the expropriated companies.
  • President Chávez takes up again the Social Property Law to advance his socialist agenda.  
  • President Chávez proposes the expropriation of the Guarenas industrial zone and allocates resources to do it.

JUNE:

  • President Chávez seizes the Venezuelan operations of U.S. Oil Company Helmerich and Payne. Helmerich and Payne’s 11 oil rigs had been non-operational for several months due to the Venezuelan government’s inability to pay the money owed to them.
  • Venezuela’s National Assembly approves a land reform law which gives the Chávez government control over the production and distribution of food and agricultural products.
  • President Chávez issues stark warnings about their water bottling ventures to U.S. giants Pepsi and Coca-Cola, declaring that “water is a social property.” He then orders an investigation of the corporations’ practices.
  • Amid a growing shortage of basic food products, over 2,300 container-loads of decomposing imported food are discovered in the port of Puerto Cabello. The scandal is embarrassing to President Chávez and his chain of state-run grocery stores. The Economist reports: “Rather than rethink his statist food and agriculture policy, the president has declared ‘economic war’ on the private sector.”
  • In what appears to be a continuation of the Chávez offensive against Globovisión, the Venezuelan government seizes control of Banco Federal, claiming the bank is not meeting its liquidity requirements. Banco Federal’s president is a major investor in Globovisión.
  • In a new expropriation binge, Mr. Chávez orders an additional 80 expropriations. Among the affected are four prominent Venezuelan enterprises – aluminum can producer Alentuy CA, food container producer Envases International SA, grocery chain Supermercados Cada, and prepared meat producer Verdugo.
  • Speaking to the BBC, Venezuelan economist Angel Alayon, of food industry body Cavidea, says that the government now controls 75% of coffee production, 42% of maize flour, 40% of rice, 25% of cooking oil, 52% of sugar and 25% of milk.
  • President Chávez orders the expropriation of textile industries.

MAY:

  • A report released by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLA) concludes that, in 2009 alone, Mr. Chávez’s systematic nationalization of major industries has caused a negative inflow of $3.1 billion in foreign investment dollars in Venezuela.
  • A report released by a Venezuelan civil leadership group shows that the Chávez government has expropriated 762 companies between 2005 and 2009.
  • In 48-hour span, Chávez orders the expropriation of Mexican company Gruma and nationalizes Venezuela’s Santa Inés University.
  • Aragua State Governor orders the expropriation of the Maracay Country Club, home of Venezuela’s only public golf course, as well as that of the San Vicente slaughterhouse.  
  • Venezuelan Vice President Elías Jaua announces government action to expropriate “speculators.”
  • Government orders the start of a nationalization process against providers of raw materials for the transportation sector.
  • Chávez government announces the nationalization of Santa Inés University.

APRIL:

  • Senior member of Chávez’s ruling party asserts that “no private property is sacred because the Constitution doesn’t say so.”
  • Empresas Polar fights back against the city government’s expropriation of land and warehouses owned by the company in Barquisimeto by filing a motion with Venezuela’s Supreme Court to nullify the order. In response, Chávez launches vicious verbal attacks against Polar’s owner, Lorenzo Mendoza. Ultimately, the Venezuelan strongman signs a presidential decree ordering the expropriation.
  • In compliance with a presidential order, the mayor of San Francisco announces the expropriation of 38 warehouses and 8 asphalts factories in the industrial zone of Maracaibo.
  • Chávez issues order to shut down the downtown Caracas McDonald’s and Wendy’s restaurants. A government spokesperson explains that it is an “ideological inconsistency to have two businesses identified with the U.S. Empire in Bicentennial Boulevard.”
  • Chávez threatens to nationalize gold mining concessions in Venezuela.
  • At least 38 Caracas butchers are under investigation for allegedly violating government-imposed price controls on food.
  • Three sugar mills are taken over by the Venezuelan government.
  • President Chávez threatens to expropriate empty storages, buildings, parking lots, rubber deposits, and backyards.
  • Storages in the Zuliana industrial zone are expropriated.
  • President Chávez threatens Empresas Polar with the possibility of eviction.
  • President Chávez signs a decree authorizing the expropriation of a series of warehouses belonging to Empesas Polar.

MARCH:

  • Chávez touts plans to expropriate two Polar warehouses in the industrial zone of Barquisimeto. The warehouses employ approximately 3,200 Venezuelans.
  • In an unprecedented move by a Venezuelan company, Polar fights back. Company files a motion with the Supreme Court to have the Barquisimeto expropriation nullified.
  • In a span of 48 hours, Chávez announces the government’s take over of an energy project and two privately-owned sugar mills.
  • Venezuelan officials take control of two privately-owned sugar mills in Caracas, after accusing the managers of the Santa Elena and Santa Clara mills of distributing the sugar too slowly. The mills are owned by a Guatemalan businessman.
  • Chávez announces the appropriation of U.S. $50 million for the nationalization of Turboven, a joint venture of two electric generation plants and an independent distribution network in northern Venezuela. U.S.-based power company PSEG owns 50% of the project.
  • A law approved by the National Assembly grants Venezuelans deeds for homes in popular zones. Yet, the deeds do not allow the “owners” to sell, rent, or leave the property as inheritance to family members.

FEBRUARY:

  • Venezuelan government pressures TV stations to pull the plug on a Primero Justicia campaign denouncing Chávez’s threat to private property.
  • Workers at an expropriated Cargill plant report a drop in production and a reduction in wages compared to a year earlier.
  • In a statement before the National Assembly, Socialist Party Legislator Carlos Escarra states that  social property is indirectly controlled by the State.
  • President Chávez authorizes the seizure of a cluster of buildings in the center of Caracas in order to “preserve their historical value.”
  • Venezuelan leader announces he has accepted an offer by the French business group Casino, by which he would buy 80% of their stock invested in Cativen, the proprietor of expropriated supermarket chains Éxito and Cada.

JANUARY:

  • Chávez announces devaluation of the Bolívar (to 4.3 from 2.15 per dollar), and threatens to seize businesses that raise prices in response to Venezuela’s first currency devaluation since 2005.
  • Almacenes Exito, a large chain of supermarkets owned by France’s Casino Guichard Perrachon SA, is charged with price gouging and promptly nationalized by the government.
  • Caracas’ new mega‐mall, Sambil Candelaria, is expropriated.
  • Venezuela’s National Assembly gives initial approval to law expanding Chávez’s authority to expropriate businesses for improperly raising prices, engaging in speculation or hoarding goods.
  • Over two weeks, Chávez orders the closing of 1,500 stores for allegedly raising prices.
  • During a late night appearance on his TV program “La Hojilla,” Chávez announces the expropriation of three sugar mills with plans “to turn them into social property.”
  • 2010 Economic Freedom Index ranks Venezuela the 174th freest economy out of 179 nations, putting it on par with the economies of countries such as North Korea and Zimbabwe.
  • President Chávez orders a survey of inactive spaces in Venezuela and the expropriation of those that belong to the “bourgeoisie.”

2009

December:

  • Aristóbulo Iszturiz, vice president of the PSUV (Chávez´s political party) declares that private property has to be eliminated to continue the next stage of the revolution and calls for the substitution of methods of production based on private property.
  • National Assembly approves law establishing the right of the government to intervene in any economic sector.
  • Government launches campaign to promote social property.

November:

  • Chávez signs the controversial Urban Land Law, which decrees all urban land to have a social function, by empowering the Executive and Judiciary branches to deem any land in urban areas “inactive” and seize the land and/or private buildings for public use.
  • The government nationalizes two coffee companies, Cafea and Fama de América. The latter is one of Venezuela’s largest coffee producers.
  • For the first time, Venezuela’s government expropriates the assets of the brand Fama de América, which has existed for more than 120 years and is one of the oldest brands in the country.

October:

  • The government announces nationalization of the Hilton Margarita and Suites Hotel.
  • The government intervenes in two sugar companies, declaring its expropriation in a few months.
  • President Chávez: “The people have given me the right to expropriate.”
  • Venezuelan government orders forceful acquisition of the Margarita Hilton Hotel complex.
  • Venezuelan government intervenes in sugar industry, as a prelude to the expropriation of various companies.

August:

  • Chávez attempts passage of the so-called “Social Property Law,” granting him virtually unrestricted powers to expropriate any private property and do away with owners’ rights to due process.  
  • National Assembly unanimously approves the Urban Land Law.

JULY:

  • The government initiates sanctions against two organizations, Cedice and Asoesfuerzo, for developing an advertising campaign defending private property. Several TV stations are punished for running the ads.
  • Venezuela revokes operating licenses of 240 radio stations.
  • Venezuelan government formalizes acquisition of Banco de Venezuela, an affiliate of Spanish bank Santander.

JUNE:

  • Venezuela’s National Assembly passes law allowing Chávez to hold 50% ownership in all petrochemical projects. 
  • A long dispute with the government prompts six Japanese companies to back out of the Venalum aluminum smelter project.
  • Venezuela bans production of Coca-Cola’s Coke Zero, citing danger to public health.
  • Government withdraws concessions for private companies to have warehouses in ports.
  • Chávez threatens to expropriate construction companies that index their contracts for inflation or threaten to paralyze construction.
  • Venezuela begins process against TV networks, Asoesfuerzo and CEDICE as a result of their campaigns in defense of private property rights.
  • President Chávez threatens to expropriate construction companies which halt their operations or increase their fees due to inflation.

MAY:

  • Venezuela’s National Assembly passes law allowing government to nationalize the assets of certain domestic and foreign oil service companies.
  • Gas injection project owned by Williams Companies is confiscated.
  • Chávez ends two concessions in the Brisas gold mining project.
  • 11,000 hectares are expropriated in Chávez’s home state of Barinas.
  • Venezuela pays Argentine-led Ternium approximately US$2 billion for its stake in the country’s largest mill.
  • Government orders the takeover of several iron smelters: Matesi, Comsigua, Orinoco Iron, and Venprecar.
  • President Chávez nationalizes 60 companies which provide services to the petroleum industry in Lake Maracaibo.
  • Venezuelan government initiates “temporary occupation” of pasta producing plant property of U.S.-based  Cargill.

APRIL:

  • More than 4,000 hectares of sugar cane fields are confiscated in Aragua and Carabobo.
  • President Chávez announces that land is not private in Venezuela and continues his policy of land seizures.

MARCH:

  • Smurfit Kappa’s eucalyptus plantation is seized.
  • During a TV appearance, the Venezuelan president orders the expropriation of various rice plants owned by Cargill.
  • Polar is threatened with nationalization.
  • President Chávez orders the administration of all ports, airports and roads to be transferred to the central government.
  • All rice production in the country is nationalized.
  • Food company La Gaviota is seized by the government in Sucre.
  • Caracas Mayor signs “friendly” agreement with Coca Cola-Femsa to seize vacant lot.
  • President Chávez announces conversion of Aeropostal Airlines to “social property.”

FEBRUARY:

  • Venezuelan government orders the intervention and military control of Empresas Arroceras.

2008

  • President Chávez nationalizes the cement industry; companies impacted include Cemex, Holcim, Lafarge.
  • Siderúrgica del Orinoco C.A., Venezuela’s biggest steel corporation, is nationalized.
  • Chávez threatens to expropriate Parmalat and Nestle because of alleged milk supply problems.
  • Government announces it will acquire the Bank of Venezuela, though owners never expressed interest in selling.
  • Using the phrase “land rescue,” Chávez announces expropriations of farms.
  • Venezuelan government nationalizes supermarket chain and milk company, Lácteos de los Andes.
  • President Chávez orders nationalization of Sidor, a steel company owned by the Italian-Argentinean group Ternium Techint.
  • Venezuelan government agrees to buy French cement factory, Lafarge, and Swiss cement factory, Holcim.
  • President Chávez expropriates Cemex, a Mexican cement factory.
  • Venezuelan government approves law nationalizing the internal transport of fuel, of which PDVSA already controls 49%.
  • Venezuelan government announces nationalization of “Las Cristinas” gold mine, which was run since 2002 by the Canadian company Crystallex.

2007

  • President Chávez acquires a majority stake in four oil projects worth approximately US$30 billion operating in the Orinoco river basin.
  • Government nationalizes CANTV, the country’s largest telecommunications company.
  • In a national referendum, Venezuelans overwhelmingly reject Chávez’s bid to reform the country’s Constitution.
  • Venezuelan government buys electric company, Seneca, and over 82% of Caracas’ electricity, both formerly controlled by American capital.
  • American-based companies Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips reject an offer to create a mixed enterprise with PDVSA in the Orinoco region; both companies file a lawsuit against the Venezuelan government.