Chavez v Cargill
""The government imposed new rules this week to try to prevent producers from cutting output of price-regulated products or from modifying products to circumvent price controls, such as selling paella-flavoured rice that does not fall under the controls.
Companies must ensure that 70 per cent to 95 per cent of their products are the types that fall under the price controls.
Over the past year, Chavez has nationalized Venezuela's largest telephone, electricity and cement companies. His government also is negotiating compensation for the takeover of the country's biggest steel maker, Sidor.
Critics of the measures argue the government is sidelining private enterprise by significantly expanding the state's role in the economy. The nationalizations, they warn, are dangerous because the government could be forced to lay off workers if the price of oil continues its downward spiral.
Venezuela, which relies on oil for 94 per cent of exports and nearly half the government's budget, has seen prices plunge from last year's record high of more than US$147 a barrel. Benchmark crude for April delivery was trading on Wednesday at $45.38 on the New York Mercantile Exchange.""