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Socialist Venezuela is talking with Colombian companies about asset seizures during the Chávez era

Socialist Venezuela is talking with Colombian companies about asset seizures during the Chávez era

AP

Venezuela's socialist government is discussing compensation with at least two Colombian companies whose assets were seized during the government of late President Hugo Chavez.

By: Bloomberg

Colombia's largest cement producer, Cementos Argos SA, is in talks to acquire a state-owned cement plant near Venezuela's Caribbean coast, Colombia's Trade and Tourism Minister German Umana said. Cali-based sugar exporter Comercializadora Internacional de Azúcares y Mieles, Ciamsa's expropriated subsidiary, is also in talks to seek compensation, Umana said.

After years of tension, relations between the countries improved after Gustavo Pedro won Colombia's presidency in 2022, immediately restoring ties and reopening the border. Venezuela appears to want to resolve these trade disputes without a legal battle, Umana said in an interview at his office in Bogotá last week.

Umana, who previously chaired the Colombian-Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce, said he assisted in the discussions. During his presidency from 1999 to 2013, Chávez ordered hundreds of expropriations, from cattle farms and food factories to parking lots and insurance companies, in line with his socialist vision of increasing the state's role in the economy.

A Cementos Argos plant in western Venezuela was seized in 2006, while in 2010 a Ciamsa sugar plant in the Venezuelan state of Táchira was seized. Now, after years of mismanagement, many of the expropriated companies are closed, idle or partially working. its capacity.

As hundreds of state-owned enterprises fail and the country struggles to revive its economy, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has handed control of some of them to private partners and reversed some of the seizures of the Chavez era. Venezuela's information ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Cementos Argos' acquisition of an operation near the Venezuelan coast will facilitate exports to the US. The company is applying for a U.S. license that would allow it to acquire the property from Maduro's government without violating sanctions, said a person with direct knowledge of the deal who was not authorized to discuss the details publicly.

You can read the full note here Bloomberg