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.”