(Bloomberg) Last January, when he was still making the marathon speeches that are his trademark, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took to state television and threatened once again to nationalize his country’s banks. Pointing into the camera, he addressed one banker by name: Juan Carlos Escotet.
Chavez called on the owner of Banesco Banco Universal CA, Venezuela’s second-largest lender, to comply with his demand that the financial industry hand over cash to the government for agriculture loans.
“Escotet, let me know if you can,” Chavez said on his weekly “Alo Presidente” program, since suspended for this year’s presidential campaign and a fresh round of cancer treatments. “If not, give me the bank, compadre. Tell me how much the bank costs, and we’ll nationalize it right away.”