BARQUISIMETO, Venezuela – As in all major government takeovers of private companies in Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez declared that seizing beer-and-food giant Polar’s facilities here would mark another victory for the poor in the country’s march toward socialism.

“Why is it that Polar has so much money?” Chavez asked in a February speech made in this city in northwest Venezuela. “I say to the owner of Polar: Start making plans, because you are going to be out of here.”

Weeks later, a decree expropriating Polar’s warehouses and offices in an industrial zone of Barquisimeto was signed. And Venezuelans, after nearly 12 years of state interventions under Chavez, expected the government to quickly sweep the company’s facilities in the country’s fourth-largest city from their current location and replace them with apartments. Chavez has suggested that he may even nationalize the entire company, which has plants and distribution points nationwide.

Except this time, the president’s plans went badly awry, exposing a mounting national opposition to a policy that has seen oil companies, supermarkets and factories taken over by the state, only to founder under government functionaries.

Not only did Polar fight back by taking its case to the Supreme Court, but its employees have risen up, too, rallying in opposition to Chavez’s edict and holding all-night vigils here to prevent a takeover. Among those who joined the uprising was Henri Falcon, the popular governor of Barquisimeto, a former ally of Chavez who says the president has not considered the long-term consequences when nationalizing companies.

“We oppose this because it does not make sense. It is more an impulse of the president,” Falcon said last week.

The government has characterized the struggle with Polar as one between good and evil, with Chavez giving several speeches in which he has mocked Polar’s owner, Lorenzo Mendoza, who is one of Latin America’s richest men.

“We will see who can last longer, Mendoza, you with your millions or me with my morals,” Chavez said in a televised speech in June. “Because you are rich one. You are going to hell, to heaven you will not go.”

The president has also called on workers to rise up against the elites. “I invoke the real Venezuelan working class for economic war against the bourgeoisie,” said Chavez, who has warned Mendoza that he could nationalize the entire Polar company, which accounts for 2.4 percent of the country’s non-oil gross domestic product and is the country’s largest private company. Its white polar bear logo is well known throughout Venezuela and other countries.

Mendoza, 44, has not publicly responded to the attacks, and Polar officials declined to comment about Chavez’s efforts to nationalize the installations here in Barquisimeto.

But employees said they opposed the government intervention because they think workers have fared badly at nationalized companies, where they have faced reduced wages and been unable to bargain collectively.

“At no time have we been taken into account and asked to say if we agree,” said Richard Prieto, head of one of the two unions that represent more than 800 workers here.