Venezuela's military has taken control of a number of major airports and maritime ports, following a recently-enacted law that hands control of the facilities to the central government.

Soldiers on Saturday occupied terminals in three Venezuelan states. Individual states previously controlled the transportation hubs.

Critics say the move is designed to expand President Hugo Chavez's power and weaken his opponents.

Opposition gubernatorial and mayoral candidates made gains in November elections, taking a number of key seats including leadership of the capital city, Caracas.

Mr. Chavez was quoted by the AFP news service as saying he was reunifying the motherland, which he said was in pieces.

The Venezuelan president has warned that state governors who challenge the new law might be arrested.

Mr. Chavez recently won a referendum that removed term limits for politicians, allowing him to run for a third term.

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