Sunday, April 17, 2005

Venezuela moves to seize thousands of hectares of 'idle' land from British peer

[Speaking of Bob Mugabe's being an 'aging old creep', Sir Bob Gelding should know one when he sees one on account of he be's one [hey, St Bobby, where's all that chalk'n cheeze from Band Aid or Kool Aid or whatever you called that mawkish old hustle of yours?)--but how would he describe the Venezuelan Mugabe, Hugo Chavez? Fuckin' Teabags're worse parasites--harder to get rid of-- than Malgascian fire leeches. Way to go, Hugo! Off the Pommie freeloaders! One Settler, one-way BA to Gatwick! --mc]

Venezuela moves to seize thousands of hectares of 'idle' land from British

Associated Press in Caracas
Monday March 14, 2005
The Guardian

The Venezuelan government is to press ahead with plans to expropriate land
from a British-owned farm this week, sparking fears of large-scale land grab
under the leftist government.
The national lands institute ruled at the weekend that the landowner -
Agroflora, an affiliate of the Vestey Group, owned by the tycoon Lord
Vestey - did not have a legitimate claim to the land.

The takeover is part of moves to hand 96,440 hectares (238,620 acres) of
Venezuelan land to the poor.

The state will take a large part of Lord Vestey's 13,600-hectare El Charcote
cattle ranch in Cojedes state east of Caracas, and most of the
80,000-hectare Pinero Ranch animal reserve, the land agency said. It will
also take large chunks of two other ranches. None of the owners could be
reached for comment.

National land institute director Eliezer Otaiza told Reuters it would take
the land to develop state-sponsored agriculture projects. "The land is going
to pass over to us now," he said. "Tomorrow starts the rescue process."

Mr Otaiza said the farms had failed to prove ownership, but had 60 days to
appeal to the courts.

The decision follows weeks of land inspections as part of President Hugo
Chávez's 2001 land reform law, which allows the state to expropriate
farmland if it is "idle", or if rightful ownership is not proved as far back
as 1830.

Critics denounce the law as a threat to private property, but Mr Chávez says
most farms were acquired through illegal dealings before he became president
in 1999.

The Chávez constitution, passed in 1999, says latifundios - landholdings of
more than 5,000 hectares - are "contrary to the social interest". It states
that private property can be expropriated in case of "public use or social
interest", but the government must compensate the owner.

The land agency said the owner of El Charcote could prove ownership only
from 1840. Several weeks ago Agroflora said it could prove ownership back to
1830 and that it was not "idle", as officials said, but had been invaded by
up to 1,000 squatters.

The government has promised to grant rights to 100,000 plots of land to the
poor by next year.


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