Venezuela to nationalize its steel industry, VP says

CARACAS — The Venezuelan government is nationalizing the country's biggest steel maker, Vice President Ramón Carrizáles confirmed Wednesday, only six days after the government announced plans to take over the country's biggest cement companies.

The move indicates that Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez remains committed to putting key foreign-owned sectors of the economy in government hands, only months after voters rejected proposed changes to the Constitution that would have called for Venezuela to become a socialist state.

The nationalization of the steel maker — whose formal name is Siderúrgica del Orinoco or Sidor — is likely to be popular with the company's workers. They have been striking for higher wages and improved benefits.

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