Chavez eyes Venezuela tourist islands for takeover

CARACAS, (Reuters) – President Hugo Chavez said his  government would seize private homes on the idyllic Los Roques  archipelago in the Caribbean and use them for state-run tourism  in the latest move to implant socialism across Venezuela.
“I’ve always said we should nationalize Los Roques,” the  ever-pugnacious Chavez said, making the announcement in a  telephone call to state television late on Wednesday.

Lying just north of Venezuela’s coast, Los Roques’ dozens  of islands are one of the South American nation’s favourite —  and most expensive — tourist spots, with pristine white sand  beaches, coral reefs and teeming sea life.
While many of the islands are deserted, some have small  lodges and private homes.

“There are some houses that were illegally built. We’re  going to take them over,” Chavez said, without giving a  timeline.

“There are some supposed owners. They privatized it, so to  speak, the high bourgeoisie, including the international set.”
Since coming to power in 1999, Chavez has nationalized  large swathes of the OPEC member’s economy, alienating many in  the business community but often delighting supporters,  especially in the poor areas where he has his power base.

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