POWER GRABS

Chavez Snatches Oil Assets

Did the handshake mean nothing? Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez recently seized the assets of additional oil contracts—both foreign and domestic—in an effort to fill the government’s mounting deficit as oil revenues decline. Chavez said the Venezuelan people “will never again be anyone’s slave,” at a ceremony celebrating the seizures on Friday. The country relies on oil for about 93 percent of its export earnings, and is deep in debt to many of the oil contractors since last year. Chavez said he is expropriating 39 oil terminals and about 300 boats used in western Venezuela, but he may widen the scope of the takeovers.