Monday, January 08, 2007

Who is John Galt?

Is it just me, or is this straight out of "Atlas Shrugged"? First the utilities, then the copper mines, then the next thing you know everyone with a good idea will be holed up in the Colorado Rockies.

Chavez to nationalize U.S.-based utility

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced plans Monday 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 in a televised address after swearing in his Cabinet. "We are in an existential moment of Venezuelan life. We're heading toward socialism, and nothing and no one can prevent it."

Chavez, who will be sworn in Wednesday to a third term that runs through 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 C.A. 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."

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