Chavez threatens to pull military funds from Banesco

Monday, January 13, 2003

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has threatened to pull the military's funds from private bank Banesco in retaliation for the bank's perceived support of a 48-hour strike that shut down the financial sector last Thursday and Friday, local paper El Universal reported.

"Soldiers' wages, money for tank repairs, maintenance, ship repairs, the accounts for buying tires for army trucks or food for soldiers, [cannot be held] in a bank that has joined a conspiracy," Chavez was quoted as saying.

Banks reopened for a half-day on Monday after the 48-hour strike called by the country's federation of banking unions, Fetrabanca.

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Venezuela woke up on Monday to the start of the seventh week of a general nationwide strike organized by groups opposed to Chavez. Private banks have opened from 9:00 to 12:00 for most of the strike, citing security and personnel issues.