Chavez clashes with Coca Cola over land

March 9, 2009
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, CARACAS, March 9 – President Hugo Chavez on Sunday gave Coca Cola, run here by Mexico\’s Grupo Femsa, two weeks\’ notice to get its delivery trucks off a parking lot on which he wants public housing built.

"I am giving Coca Cola two weeks to get off those plots of land voluntarily," Chavez said on his weekly show "Alo, Presidente" on radio and television.

The flat land — in short supply in crowded and hilly Caracas — is in the hardscrable Libertador neighborhood. Chavez wants government housing and a medical center built there.

Chavez, a leftist-populist, charged that this was another case of international capitalism trampling on people\’s rights.

The move comes as Chavez has sought to tighten state control over basic food production amid persistent shortages. Some producers claim his controls make doing business unprofitable — and many have ceased doing business.

On Thursday, Chavez expropriated a subsidiary of the US firm Cargill that produces rice, while he moved to take control over a 1,500-hectare (3,706-acre) plantation of Irish paper packaging giant Smurfit Kappa.

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