Venezuela: Major shopping mall taken over

Sambil La Candelaria shopping centre.

On November 2, the Venezuelan government expropriated the Caracas shopping centre Sambil La Candelaria, said on November 4.

The government decree said the shopping complex and large parking area would be “transformed into a meeting space for Venezuelans within the framework of a sustainable economy and permitting the development of the exchange of goods and services as well as the development of cultural expression”.

The plan will be executed by the Corporation of Commerce and Socialist Supply (Comersso). Comersso aims to assist the supply, selling, and interchange of products created by communes and state-run companies.

VTV reported in March that community members near the area had proposed the site be put to a social, rather than private, use. A spokesperson for the local communal council (grassroots bodies of popular power) Lourdes Ibarren said the shopping centre was worsening traffic and raising pollution.

The Cisneros Organisation is the largest shareholder of Sambil, with 30.4% of shares. It is owned by Gustavo Cisneros, Venezuela’s richest man.

The expropriation follows the government’s nationalisation of the Exito supermarket chain in January. The stores now operate as part of the Comersso network.

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