Friday, January 26, 2007


Asked about U.S. policy, Brownfield reiterated that governments have a "sovereign right" to nationalize companies but that they are bound by international obligations to do so "in a transparent and legal way, and to offer fair and quick compensation."

The government plans to nationalize the telecommunications company CA Nacional de Telefonos, or CANTV — whose largest minority shareholder is New York-based Verizon Communications Inc. — and Electricidad de Caracas, owned by Arlington, Virginia-based AES Corp.

"Our hope is that any nationalization be a negotiated process that eventually represents the interests of all parties involved," Brownfield said.

Chavez has said he wants an immediate state takeover of CANTV and will not pay shareholders the international market value. He has said the price paid for the telephone company would take into account debts to workers, pensions and other obligations to the state.

U.S. officials have accused Chavez of becoming increasingly authoritarian and of being a destabilizing force. The Venezuelan leader has repeatedly accused Washington of plotted against him.

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