Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez this week threatened to seize idle factories unless they reopen immediately. In recent months, more than 1,000 companies have cut production or shut down to stem losses in a struggling economy. “We cannot allow perfectly productive factories to stay closed,” Chavez said. Business leaders said the threat was part of a steady assault on private property rights by a leftist president, and the country’s senior Roman Catholic cardinal said Chavez was trying to give himself dictatorial powers. But Chavez said the time had come for Venezuelans to choose between “capitalism, which is the road to hell, or socialism, for those who want to build the kingdom of God here on earth.”
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