Monday, March 14, 2005

Requiem for Hato Piñero? Ecological mess in the making in Venezuela?

The government has decided that the owners of Hato Piñero do not have the required documents to justify their hold on the land and thus expropriation proceedings will be started against them. What strikes most in the news is that the land will be "distributed" among landless peasants but no mention as to the ecological value of the land. Elsewhere I had read a few days ago that some portion will be preserved, but not who will be preserving it and how.

I am not too sure about the legal validity of all of this. For all that I now, maybe the Piñero folks did "steal" the land. But a few things are certain:

1- They made their ranch an internationally recognized station for nature observancy, self sustained now but with lots of their own money at first.

2- The Venezuelan state has proven itself a most deficient steward of National Parks in general.

I fear for the fate of Hato Piñero as it will be the prey to the rapicity of pseudo revolutionaries who probably only want their own nature lodge and take it away from their political enemies. The rapacity of chavista officials for real estate is becoming public knowledge. It is not easy to speculate that they want their private hunting lodge, err, I mean nature observancy lodge.

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