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Chavez Moves Venezuelan Money Out of U.S.

Chavez Moves Venezuelan Money Out of U.S.
Associated Press

Venezuela has moved its central bank foreign
reserves out of U.S. banks, liquidated its investments in U.S. Treasury
securities and placed the funds in Europe, Venezuelan President Hugo
Chavez said Friday.

"We've had to move the international reserves from U.S. banks because of
the threats," from the U.S., Chavez said during televised remarks from a
South American summit in Brazil.

"The reserves we had (invested) in U.S. Treasury bonds, we've sold them
and we moved them to Europe and other countries," he said.

Chavez, a sharp critic of what he calls "imperialist" U.S.-style
capitalism, has often criticized foreign banks for the power they wield in
international financial markets at the expense of poorer countries.

Chavez again proposed the creation of a South American central bank that
would hold the foreign exchange reserves of all the central banks in the
"I'm ready right now with the Venezuelan central bank ... to move $5
billion (euro4.15 billion) (of Venezuelan reserves), to a South American
bank," Chavez said.

Central bank officials could not be immediately reached for more details.

Chavez has also argued against central bank autonomy, saying excess
foreign reserves should be spent on economic development projects.

Under his presidency, Venezuela's mostly pro-Chavez Congress changed
central bank laws earlier this year so the government could tap reserves
for spending, despite criticism that it would lead to devaluation of the
local currency and higher inflation.

Every year the central bank must now compute an "optimum" amount of
reserves and hand over the rest to a newly created national development

Money held in the fund will be used for overseas purchases and to pay off
outstanding debt.

Foreign exchange reserves held by the central bank stood at $30.434
billion (euro25.27 billion) as of Sept. 28, according to central bank