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World Briefing / Venezuela

Airports, ports seized in 4 states

March 22, 2009|Times Wire Reports

Venezuela's government seized seaports and airstrips in at least four states, a move critics say is meant to limit the powers of mayors and governors opposed to President Hugo Chavez.

The takeover, ordered by the socialist president last weekend and approved by lawmakers, aims to bring the Venezuela's major transportation hubs under federal control this year.

Military troops were dispatched to ports in the three states governed by Chavez opponents: Zulia, Carabobo and Nueva Esparta.

Chavez said the takeover of air and sea ports in the state of Anzoategui, which is governed by a Chavez ally, was also underway.

Chavez said his government would formulate a "strategic investment plan" to modernize the ports and to guarantee the jobs of thousands of workers in the facilities.

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