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Venezuela: A day of protests and threats against private property

By Miguel Octavio | The Devil's Excrement

21.09.05 | It was a day of protests in Venezuela today, curiously none of it organized by the so-called opposition, but by various groups with grievances against the Government. Chavez was hit hard by the protests as three different groups blocked the access to the headquarters of the Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana. Chavez went there to “hand out” Government loans to the Venalum corporation, one of the Government owned aluminum companies that is now under management by its personnel. Chavez had to be taken by helicopter to the plant as the roads around Ciudad Guayana collapsed.

There were nominally four different groups protesting independently. Steel workers were protesting that they have not been paid the dividends on the shares of Sidor that they own, despite the promises by the Minister of Basic Industries that they would be paid. Separately, workers of the aluminum industry who can not work due to work related injuries also held a protest. The third group was composed of Venalum and Alcasa’s retired personnel asking for speed in the decision on an injunction they requested 40 days ago. Finally, there were protests over the problems with water supply to the homes in the area.

Separately there were protests in Caracas by medical doctors against the health bill being considered by the National Assembly and in Vargas state by street vendors who were protesting mistreatment by the police.

But none of this seemed to affect Chavez who gave a fiery speech, telling the Governors and Mayors to expropriate any empty lots in the cities that are not being used. Chavez said that they should stop the practice of buying urban land and letting it simply sit there in order to sell it later at a higher price. Chávez also attacked the private sector saying that those that don’t like his policies should “go to Miami” leaving their plants and machinery behind. He backed the seizure of a farm which he claims is owned by the Government while the owners claim otherwise and said he would hold his Sunday program from that farm next Sunday. He also said he had until the year 2030 to convince people of the advantages of socialism. Curiously, he suggested that he was a “new” convert to the concept of socialism, which was not clarified.



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