Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez vowed to “radicalize” his socialist revolution even further after legislative elections that gave the opposition one of its strongest showings during his more than 11 years in power.
He started on Sunday by announcing the expropriation of land owned by the Venezuelan agricultural company Agroislena and vowing to hasten the nationalization of land held by the British meat products company Vestey Foods Group.
Chavez’s ruling Socialist Party won last weekend’s vote by a slim margin, taking 5.45 million votes or 48.9 percent compared with 5.33 million votes or 47.9 percent for the newly united Democratic Unity umbrella group.
The result lifted the optimism of the opposition, which now sees a chance to unseat Chavez in 2012 presidential elections.
Investors and analysts are waiting to see the reaction of a man who has in the past come out of elections by nationalizing swathes of industry, including millions of acres of agricultural land, and attacking private capital.
“We are going to continue forward, democratically radicalizing the socialist revolution because it is necessary,” Chavez said late on Saturday to a television audience.
He dismissed the opposition celebration of a moral victory as “15 minutes of drunkenness.”