Venezuela is to go ahead with the nationalisation of the local unit of the Spanish bank Santander which owns Banco de Venezuela.President Hugo Chavez, whose chief policy aim is to build a socialist system in his country, made the surprise announcement yesterday. “I announce the nationalisation of Banco de Venezuela, to strengthen the national public banking system, to stimulate much more the policies of economic development, of social development,” declared the Venezuelan leader. Chavez earmarked Santander last July as a possible takeover target, but his attempt faltered as oil prices plummeted, cutting the oil producing nation’s income. Despite speculation that the sale would not happen this year, Chavez appears to be ignoring his reduced spending power. Recently he has taken over a major steel plant and three foreign owned cement companies.