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Venezuela's Chavez Orders State Takeover Of U.S. Glass-Maker

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has ordered his government to take over the U.S.-based bottle-glass-maker Owens-Illinois' unit in the South American country.

In a televised speech on October 25, Chavez criticized the company's practices, saying it had been taking money from Venezuelans, destroying the environment and exploiting Venezuelan people.

"Owens Illinois is a North American company that has been here for years, exploiting workers for years, destroying the environment over there, over there in Trujillo [Venezuelan state]. Go look at the mountains they have destroyed and they are taking money from Venezuelans," Chavez said.

He gave no further details, but said government expropriations of other companies are planned.

It was not immediately clear how Venezuela would handle compensating Owens-Illinois for its assets in Venezuela, and there was no immediate reaction from the U.S. company.

Owens-Illinois makes bottles and jars in countries in the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

Chavez has nationalized or expropriated a wide range of companies, including cement makers, retail stores, and steel mills, as part of a campaign to lead Venezuela into a socialist system.

compiled from agency reports