The move by the late firebrand Venezuelan leader also erased from his country the skills required for exploiting the country's vast oil reserves. He should have let them stay – and taxed the companies heavily. However, oil executives should pause for thought before they book a flight to Caracas following Mr Chavez's death last week.
Venezuela has the largest known oil reserves in the world, but oil output has slumped by almost a third because of Mr Chavez's nationalisation of the industry.
At the end of 2011, the country held 17.9pc of the world's known oil reserves, compared with 16.1pc in Saudi Arabia and 11pc in Canada, according to BP's statistical review of world energy. However, it only represented 3.5pc of global production compared with 13.2pc in Saudi Arabia.