Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Chavez, the highway robber

The stunning news tonight is that the Polar/Remavenca plant of Barinas was expropriated, after all. Indeed, after an initial political battle (there was nothing about adequate judicial procedure during the whole drama) one was led to think that Polar, the owner of Remavenca in turn the owner of the Barinas plant Promabasa, had reached an agreement with the government in order to stop the conflict, reopen the plant and allow the crop to come in before it gets lost on the fields. But apparently it seems that the government just "negotiated" while it was deciding how to best take over. Will there be economic compensation? Your bet is as good as mine.

The expropriation decree reads:
presuntamente pertenecientes a la empresa refinadora de maíz venezolana Compañía Anónima Remavenca, anterior Amabasa, y posteriormente denominada Promabasa
presumably belonging to the Venezuelan corn refinery Remavenca, known before as Amabasa and then renamed Promabasa
It is stunning that a decree on such a grave matter would have such a loosely worded sentence. How can you expropriate something if you do not even state the legal owner properly, if the legal owner is complaining loudly in the press?

Now, there might be perfectly valid reasons, political or economical or even social, for why the Barinas state (the front for Chavez administration in this case) might want to "nationalize", "force buy", "etc" Promabasa. But the hard and harsh fact here is that it is done BECAUSE Chavez said so. Justice has been nowhere to be found, EVEN THOUGH we all know that the judicial system is fully in the hands of Chavez. But apparently this is not enough as Chavez wants now his orders executed just as he utters them. He is the law now and he cannot wait for a judge to write even a favorable sentence. ¡Viva la revolución!

Let's not be shy with words here: this is plain highway robbery, just as his Maisanta forefather used to do early this century.

And if you have any doubt look at how Chavez last Sunday did aliquot the lands of La Marqueseña, a land grab that still has not been able to reach justice but which fate has already been decided by The Autocrat cum highway robber.

Yesterday in yet another lengthy blabber Chavez announced from la Marqueseña (after having ignobly patronized its former owners) that he would divide as follows the former lands of La Marqueseña:
President Hugo Chavez is to launch two social projects in 6,900 hectares out of a total of 8,490 in La Marqueseña ranch. The Azpuruas, who claim ownership of the property, were offered 1,500 hectares.

During his TV and radio show "Hello, President!" last Sunday, the ruler offered the Azpuruas a deal. "Otherwise, they have the right to appeal to court," he clarified [sic].

He proposed to develop in 2,700 hectares under special management regime, an ecological agricultural project.

A second project includes a plot of land for genetic agricultural development of seeds and plantation of basic commodities in an area comprising 4,200 hectares.

"All over the area, a state company called Florentino Genetic Center [sic] will be established. Funding is secured already." [note of the writer: as a PhD in the field I can assure you that such a project is not generated in a couple of weeks in the bowels of a ministry. This is truly pulled out of someone's ass]

The government intends to use 2,900 hectares for cattle genetic improvement. A portion of 800 hectares will be used for the project concerning seeds. Additionally, 500 hectares will be used to plant commodities for human and animal consumption.

Also, the ruler proposed to use an area in La Marqueseña for army exercises [no surface specified? Will that be the private ranch of Chavez in his ancestor lands? Conveniently masked by the army?].
Does anyone has any doubt left as to what is really going on in Venezuela?

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