Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez has a habit of acquiring and nationalizing various businesses from gold mines to factories. This week he ordered the “acquisition by force” of a the Hilton Hotel on Venezuela’s Margarita island.
The resort hotel includes a 590-foot freeform swimming pool, casino, gym and a white sand beach.The hotel also includes the La Scala Restaurant and a bar. It has 280 rooms and 154 time-share suites. The hotel was recently the site of the Africa-South America Summit which was attended by Muammar Gadhafi (who set up his often controversial luxury tent on the beach), Robert Mugabe and others.
A few years ago, the government seized and rebranded a Hilton in Caracas. Now known as Hotel Alba it has been used to entertain Chavez supporters from around the world.
Last year, a law in Venezuela was passed which referred to the tourism industry as “public interest,” setting the stage for nationalization efforts when it comes to hotels and resorts.