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Venezuela's confiscation of private property: Polar does not back down

By Daniel Duquenal | Venezuela News and Views

28.09.05 | One would have thought that stunned by a huge loss of property the directors of Polar would have taken a couple of days to reply to the unjustified seizure of Promabasa. But no. In a press conference that could have taught a few lessons in civic duties and political deftness to a few spineless opposition leaders, Lorenzo Mendoza came this afternoon, barely 24 hours into losing Promabasa, to give a press conference.

In a paused tone, but without conceding an inch, Lorenzo Mendoza made his case. And he made it well, certainly much better than the senile governor of Barinas or the hot air producing Chavez.

He reminded all of the historical importance of Polar, a company with more than 60 years history that has weathered any regime, worked with all, including the present one when it collaborated extensively to provide essential food stuff during the 2002 strike, with the support of the army that he not only duly acknoweldged but reminded folks in case they had forgotten. Deliberately restating the facts and denouncing the "black legend" woven around those days and against Polar.

Polar will continue to work as if nothing. They are the biggest tax payer in the country and the biggest employer. If the government refuses to recognize that, it does not stop Mendoza to owe it first to his employees.

Polar will not negotiate. It will go to court. Polar considers that it has done nothing wrong, that the expropriation is simply baseless and unjust. In other words, principles cannot be negotiated.

Bravely, with a class and purpose that I was not expecting considering the moment, with a poise that was even unsettling, Mendoza threw the gauntlet to a group of people that, well, basically only deal in hysterics. But if chavismo crassness was exposed by the contrast, the so called leaders of the opposition would be well advised to take a cue from Lorenzo Mendoza as to how to make one's point.

We shall see.

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