Venezuelan military takes over country’s airports
CARACAS, Venezuela (AFP): Venezuela’s military took control Saturday of all the country’s major airports and maritime ports, following a recently enacted law handing management of the facilities to the central government.
Soldiers occupied major facilities under the legal reform approved by the pro-Chavez parliament, taking over maritime terminals in the opposition stronghold city of Maracaibo in the state of Zulia, the port of Guanta in Anzoategui and others in the states of Carabobo and Nueva Esparta.
"Since this morning we began to reverse the disintegration of national unity," said President Hugo Chavez, referring to the reversal of decentralization moves 20 years ago that handed authority of ports and airports to state governments.
"We are reunifying the motherland, which was in pieces. This is a very important step."
When Chavez announced the move last week, he threatened to arrest opposition governors if they resisted. Many opponents decried the order as unconstitutional and as an attempt to concentrate all power in Chavez’s hands.
Thousands of people took to the streets of Caracas in protest Friday over the president’s jail threats to opposition figures.