Thursday, January 27th 2011 - 16:27 UTC

President Hugo Chavez Threatens to Take Over Spanish Bank on Live Television

President Hugo Chavez eccentricities continue. This time he threatened to expropriate the Venezuelan subsidiary of Spanish banking giant BBVA in a tense telephone conversation Wednesday with the Banco Provincial CEO that was broadcast live on radio and television.

 I can expropriate it right now if I want for the sake of national interest,” the president said.

“This is very serious. Either you obey the law or hand the bank over to me. Tell me how much the bank is worth, I won’t argue with you,” Chavez told Pedro Rodriguez during an event with people affected by what the president termed “mortgage deceit.”

Chavez phoned Rodriguez after hearing from a woman who said that bank had rejected her request for a housing loan.

“You’re involved in this, like it or not. You can’t wash your hands like Pontius Pilate. Face up to your responsibility,” Chavez told the CEO.

“Pedro: I’m not going to argue with you anymore,” the leftist president said. “Listen, I’m asking you to attend to these people. If you don’t have time or can’t, then tell me how much the bank costs. I’ll buy it from you.”

The conversation grew testier when Rodriguez told the president that the bank is not for sale, a response Chavez described as “arrogant.”

“Be careful how you respond because you’re telling me the bank’s not for sale but I can expropriate it right now if I want for the sake of national interest,” the president said.

The call ended with Rodriguez agreeing to receive people who had criticized Banco Provincial’s service and Chavez instructing Vice President Nicolas Maduro and Attorney General Luisa Ortega to accompany them to the meeting.

In a communiqué the bank said we are “interested and committed to” helping the people affected by financial problems over mortgages.”

Rodriguez later agreed to meet with people allegedly affected by the “mortgage deceit” and said “we have just had a meeting and are sorting out how to deal with the problems, so that in the next few days everything will be sorted out. We have responded to the President’s telephone call and we are convinced that, all sides involved, will be able to reach a satisfactory solution to the cases in question.”

In May 2009, Chavez nationalized Banco de Venezuela, buying that institution from Spain’s Grupo Santander for just over $1 billion. His government has also taken over several struggling small banks.

The leftist leader also has nationalized companies in the oil, cement, food, telecommunications, steel and power sectors as part of his drive to usher in “socialism of the 21st century.”

 

7 comments Feed

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1 Be serious (#) Jan 27th, 2011 - 04:50 pm Report abuse
Hahahaha.
Well done Chavez!!!!!
2 Sir Rodderick Bodkin (#) Jan 27th, 2011 - 07:46 pm Report abuse
He's just as badass as he gets.
This guy deserves a movie.
3 xbarilox (#) Jan 27th, 2011 - 08:25 pm Report abuse
“The conversation grew testier” scary, isn't it? haha Poor bankers :(
Banks are Banks, Spaniards are Spaniards, thieves are thieves...
4 Martin_Fierro (#) Jan 28th, 2011 - 03:47 am Report abuse
Argentina needs a president like Chavez
5 lsolde (#) Jan 28th, 2011 - 10:44 am Report abuse
Ha ha, l'll bet that woman gets good service at the bank now. Senor Chavez has gone up quite a bit now in my estimation!
6 Frank (#) Jan 28th, 2011 - 10:45 am Report abuse
Without the oil he would still be living up a tree
7 M_of_FI (#) Jan 28th, 2011 - 12:23 pm Report abuse
Not Surprisingly I am going to have to disagree with everyone elses comments! Chavez is a dictator in the making and he is dragging Venezuela down. They have all that oil, but people are still starving (as Chavez allows imported food to rot in containers at the docks), the quality of life in the country is very low and Caracas has the highest murder rate in the world. Usually a democracy would result in Chavez losing his power, and the population can elect someone to improve quality of life, but Chavez has a strangle hold and is now ruling by decree. Shame really.

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