Venezuela Nationalizes Margarita Island Hilton

The private owners “imposed conditions” on holding a conference there last month with Moammar Gadhafi and Robert Mugabe. Even though seemingly on-face reasonable, the conditions couldn’t have been particularly onerous, and the hotel was already majority govenrment-owned. Nonetheless, it angered Hugo Chavez.

“To hold the conference we had to ask for permission… and the owners tried to impose conditions on the revolutionary government. No way,” AFP quotes Chavez as saying. “So I said, ‘Let’s expropriate it.’ And now it’s been expropriated.”

This isn’t the first time that Chavez nationalized a Hilton, previously taking the Caracas property. And yet foreign companies continue to invest and do business in Venezuela. So I don’t have tremendous sympathy for them, actually.

According to the Hilton website it’s business as usual:

Hilton Margarita & Suites is open and fully operational. The resort continues welcoming guests to enjoy all the island has to offer.

(Hat tip @KarenHeidt.)

Update: Mark Ashley comments, “It looks like the 154 timeshare owners are out of luck.”

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Confusing — if the hotel was already majority government-owned, how could the private owners (really part/co-owners) impose anything?

    As far as investing in places like Venezuela under the current conditions — greed and stupidity. No sympathy here either.

  2. Come on, Gary. The capitalist swine had it coming, exploiting the poor Venezualans by giving them jobs. Such effrontery.

    Seriously, I’m curious to know how the Chavista regime came to be majority owners prior to the expropriation. Poor Venezuala. They’ll be going the way of Rho- er, Zimbabwe before you know it. You can only expropriate so much before the vicious, nasty (but inscrutably productive) capitalists pull out.

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