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Venezuela Takes Over Bancoro

The Venezuelan government has taken over the Bancoro bank, the 13th financial institution the government has seized in the last year.

Venezuelan Finance Minister Jorge Giordani, speaking Friday in Caracas, said that the government decided to intervene in the operations of Bancoro because of liquidity problems and significant financial losses.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he will nationalize any bank that fails to meet government lending guidelines or is in financial trouble. The government began taking over small and midsized banks in November of 2009, citing irregularities.

In recent years, Mr. Chavez has nationalized firms in many sectors, including petroleum, communications, electricity, agriculture and banking.

Critics say he is trying to model Venezuela on communist-led Cuba, but Mr. Chavez has said he is working to improve the lives of the country's impoverished majority.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.