Hugo Chavez is turning from his battle with cancer to a more familiar foe: the ultra-rich. The Venezuelan leader is preparing an unprecedented nationalization of an idyllic group of islands in the Caribbean known as the Los Roques archipelago, report Time and the AP. While Chavez has nationalized scores of companies since 1999, this would be the first time he would seize private residences, inns, and even yachts. He criticized the "high bourgeoisie" and "international set" who frequent the Venezuelan islands.
"Expropriating a boat is completely absurd," complains a Caracas factory owner who vacations there. "I don't see how they can take away something you've worked hard for and bought." Environmentalists, meanwhile, are worried that the pristine beaches and fragile ecosystem would be ruined if opened to mass tourism by the state. No word yet on when the seizures will take place, but the nation's moguls reportedly are already emptying their island homes of treasure. (Read more Hugo Chavez stories.)