With the coming demise of the Castro dictatorship in Cuba, Chavez must want to ensure his global preeminence as the most aggressive socialist leader of an impoverished, undemocratic country. He’s giving Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the Belarus dictator, a run for his money.
CARACAS, Oct 26 (Reuters) – Venezuela sent troops to two plants owned by U.S. bottle maker Owens Illinois on Tuesday after President Hugo Chavez ordered nationalization of the company’s operations on charges of environmental crimes and exploiting workers.
Owens Illinois stock (OI.N) fell nearly 6 percent after the socialist leader’s televised address on Monday night in which he expropriated the plants.
“There are military personnel on the scene at each of the plants,” said Owens Illinois spokeswoman Stephanie Johnston.
- El Universal, “Owens Illinois surprised to learn of the seizure decision“
- AFP, “Venezuela seizes local unit of US company“
UPDATE (4 p.m.): A statement from Owens Illinois:
Late last night we learned of the Chavez administration’s intention to expropriate O-I’s operations in Venezuela. We were surprised to learn of this decision and we are prepared to work with government officials to better understand the situation.
O-I has been supplying glass food and beverage containers to meet the needs of the Venezuelan people for more than 50 years. Our two plants in Venezuela, located in Los Guayos and Valera, employ more than 1000 people and represent less than 5 percent of our global segment operating profit. We remain committed to complying with all laws and regulations.