Navy deployed to Venezuela's seaports

March 15, 2009 22:34

President Hugo Chavez deployed the navy to Venezuela's seaports on Sunday, and he said state governors who challenge new legislation bringing transportation hubs under federal control could end up in prison. Speaking during his weekly television and radio program, Chavez ordered naval vessels to seize control of Port Cabello in Carabobo state and Maracaibo Port in Zulia state - two of Venezuela's largest seaports. Then he singled out the opposition-sided governors of those states - Carabobo Gov. Henrique Salas and Zulia Gov. Pablo Perez - and told military officers they might decide to flout the newly approved law. "If he gets smart ... that deserves prison," Chavez said of Salas. "The same goes for the governor of Zulia." Lawmakers loyal to Chavez voted last week to bring all airports, highways and seaports under federal control, a move government adversaries said was designed to expand the president's power. "This is a national security issue," Chavez said Sunday, defending the law.

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