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Re Hugo Chavez's XXI century 'socialism': No more doubts!

From | VenEconomy

28.09.05 | Yesterday, Monday, September 26, President Chávez and his father, the governor of Barinas, issued the death sentence on private property and the rule of law in Venezuela. The decree for the compulsory acquisition of the Barinas I plant belonging to Empresas Polar dispels any doubts about the true intentions of the revolutionary government as regards the coexistence of the private sector and “the socialism of the 21st century” that is gaining ground in the country.

There is no legal or moral justification for the governor of Barinas state, apparently on the instructions of his son, the President, to sign the expropriation of the Promabasa Plant. At the end of last week, everything seemed to have returned to the legal path and to seeking a constructive solution for all concerned.

Empresas Polar had exhausted all recourses allowed it under the law and had kept a low profile, showing no belligerence whatsoever. They even demonstrated that the silos were fully operational, as though that were an indispensable requirement, when the right to private property includes the right to have assets that are not in use. It falls to the government to create incentives so that these assets are put to use. Worse still is that the fact that the plant was operational was acknowledged by the Minister of Agriculture and Lands, by the Special Committee appointed by the National Assembly to look into the case, and even by the State Government of Barinas.

The message given by the sudden expropriation this Monday of the entire plant, with silos, shed, warehouses, yards, and everything else included, could not be clearer. In Hugo Chávez’ revolutionary Venezuela there is no respect for private property, a person’s word, or the law, and much less for the letter of the Constitution, which is not worth the paper it is written on.

If Chávez and his government can attack the main and biggest private company in the country with impunity, what can the rest of us expect? Who will stop them from applying “the acid and sword of the law” to CANTV if it doesn’t pay some $279 million that it does not owe its pensioners and their families? How do you negotiate or resist when you are under siege by the army, as is happening to the owners of the ranches La Marqueseña and La Vaca, to mention just two cases?

From now on, there is no company, plot of land, country estate, ranch, school, house, apartment, or shack of which it can be said a Venezuelan is the owner. According to the President, the only owner of the country’s land, water, and air is the State. The State, the law, and the Constitution converge and are concentrated in the person of Hugo Chávez, and there is no institution or opposition prepared to stop him.

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