Venezuela's Chavez seizes US food company

Chavez demands they produce cheaper rice.

Venezuela's Chavez seizes US food company

President Hugo Chavez seized a unit of American food giant Cargill on Wednesday and threatened to take over Venezuela's largest private company, renewing a nationalization drive.

Chavez demands they produce cheaper rice.

Chavez is popular among many low income citizens for pressing companies to produce cheap goods as well as launching government initiatives to provide subsidised food to slum areas.

"I warn you this revolution means business," said Chavez, whose government has struggled with lower oil income and minor food shortages this year.

The anti-U.S. president, who has nationalized swaths of the economy, is popular among the poor for pressuring companies to produce cheap goods and for government programs that provide subsidized food in city slums.

Chavez recently seized some rice mills belonging to Polar, Venezuela's largest private business, after accusing the food industry of skirting his price controls and failing to produce enough cheap rice.

Chavez said he ordered the takeover because Cargill -- one of the largest privately owned U.S. companies.

"Prepare the decree, we are going to expropriate Cargill. We are not going to tolerate this," Chavez said.

It was not clear if Cargill's other Venezuelan food units would be affected. Cargill has approximately 2,000 employees at 22 locations across Venezuela and operates 13 manufacturing plants including oilseed and animal feed processing.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Mart 2009, 11:37