President Hugo Chavez has ordered the “acquisition by force” of a landmark Hilton Hotel on Venezuela’s Margarita island, the government’s Official Gazette announced Tuesday.
The facility, on the Caribbean resort island of Margarita in Nueva Esparta state, was targeted for state takeover less than a month after it was used to host the Africa-South America Summit.
“The acquisition by force of the real estate, furnishings, and related assets (…) of the Margarita Hilton & Suites Hotel Complex, along with the Marina owned by Inversiones Pueblamar y Desarrollos MBK, have been ordered,” a presidential decree in the official register read.
The sprawling complex includes 280 rooms, 210 suites, a casino, stores, restaurants, offices and meeting areas, as well as the adjoining marina.
The assets will be held by the state tourism corporation Venetur, which reports to the Tourism Ministry, as part of an “urgent” effort to boost “the social development side of the tourism and hotel industries in Nueva Esparta state,” the Gazette said.
It is not the first time Chavez’s government has checked into a Hilton and stayed for good.
Caracas has already seized the Hotel Hilton in Caracas, rechristening it the Hotel Alba, a reference to the Venezuelan-led leftist regional alliance Alianza Bolivariana para las Americas (ALBA).