If you can judge by the past, Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez may have just signed his own death warrant.
Chavez has signed a decree to seize oil projects run by foreign oil companies in Venezuela's Orinoco River region. Among the companies are names such as British Petroleum, Exxon, Chevron, Conoco and Total.
The foreign oil companies will have four months to negotiate settlements and new deals if they want to remain in the existing projects as minority partners. The oil companies are estimated to have about $17-billion invested in the Orinoco projects. While Chavez has paid fair prices for previous takeovers, it's unclear whether he'll be willing or even able to do the same on this initiative.
Chavez has said he doesn't want the foreign oil companies to leave, just accept becoming minority partners.