Chavez threatens to nationalize more Venezuelan banks
Venezuela President Hugo Chavez threatened on Sunday to nationalize any private bank that fails to comply with local legislation setting standards for agricultural finance and other projects in the country.
The leftist leader, who since 2008 has increased state involvement in the financial sector, has criticized banks repeatedly for their lack of support with agriculture and housing.
“The private banks, if they don’t comply with the Constitution and the law, well I have no problem, I repeat, to nationalize them. We have to enforce the Constitution and laws of this Republic,” Chavez said in his weekly TV show.
The new ruling, to promote financing for agriculture in the oil-producing country, says a bond issue will provide banking resources for the agricultural sector. But Chavez provided no details, requesting a meeting with executives of banks Banesco and commercial premises, and the Spanish Banco Provincial.
The Provincial Bank, a subsidiary of Spanish bank BBVA is one of the largest in the country.
“(Vice President) Elijah (Jaua), this week you call the presidents of the largest banks, namely Bank Banesco, the Provincial and Commercial, call them to the vice presidency and talk to them but do not fall for flattery, “Chavez said in the third edition of his program.
The retired army officer, who claims to be cured of his cancer diagnosed in mid-2011, passed a law enabling private banking fund transfers to portfolios directed at agricultural financing.
“I am ready, if they do not comply, to nationalize the banks. I have no problem, I repeat,” said Chavez, who said he is willing to work on “coordination and cooperation with private banks “.
The program also announced that Vice President shall resume the country’s Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. Since taking office in 1999, Chavez, seeking reelection in the presidential election of 2012, has nationalized large sectors of the Venezuelan economy. In July 2009 he completed the nationalization of Spanish financial group Santander.
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