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Venezuela News Brief 29.09.2005

MARACAIBO LAND THEFT: Maracaibo Mayor Gian Carlo Di Martino said about 400 privately-owned properties in the city have been identified as likely targets for confiscation.

BOLIVARIAN COLLECTIVISM: President Chavez confirmed that his government is developing a new model of collective property ownership that will allow groups of people to develop productive activities for the common good instead of personal enrichment.

FLIRTING WITH BRAZIL’S COMMUNISTS: President Chavez is building political relations with leaders of the Brazilian Landless Movement (MST). Chavez also declared that his government will promote an “endogenous development pole” named after Brazilian communist revolutionary Jose Ignacio Abreu De Lima that will stretch from Barinas to Venezuela’s Andean states. The fact that Colombian communist guerrillas are active in this region of Venezuela is entirely coincidental.

FIRING FREEZE: was extended by the government for another six months. The freeze was originally decreed in May 2002 for six months and has been extended several times since.

PETROAMERICA: Energy officials from Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay signed a joint agreement creating the bases of Petroamerica, a new South American regional energy initiative promoted by the Chavez government.

EMPRESAS POLAR: said through its chief executive Lorenzo Mendoza that the expropriation of its Promabasa plant in Barinas state is illegal and unconstitutional. Mendoza said the facility is fully operational, and that Empresas Polar will defend its property rights vigorously in court. Mendoza alsi said the illegal expropriation of the Promabasa plant is hurting the interests of many small producers in the area that depend on the facility to process their corn as it moves from the fields to the marketplace.

AN EXCELLENT PROPOSAL: Primero Justicia’s presidential candidate Julio Borges said that Fort Tiuna, which has 5,300 hectares of land, should be expropriated so that low-income housing can be built for the poor.

HEINZ OUT OF MONAGAS: Alimentos Heinz and the government of MOnagas state reached an agreement to sell its inoperative tomato processing facility at Caicara to the state government for Bs. 550 million, although the U.S. food multinational initially had proposed selling the plan for Bs. 1 billion. Now the new Bolivarian owners of the tomato plant only have to find some tomatoes to process.

LAND SEIZURES IN COJEDES: Agriculture and Lands Ministry officials said the government will “rescue” (the Bolivarian word for “steal”) three large estates in the El Pao region of Cojedes. The hatos are Los Quemados, La Fe and La Milagrosa, which together cover over 50,000 hectares.

TOM BOGGS BOGS DOWN: President Chavez’s decision to suspend all mining concessions issued to private firms in Venezuela has affected the business interests of Washington, D.C.-based power lobbyist Tom Boggs of the firm Patton Boggs, which represents Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution in the United States. Vcrisis’ sources report that Boggs and several partners had over a dozen gold and diamond mining concessions through a Russian company operating in Venezuela. Perhaps Boggs will sue in Venezuelan courts to protect his property rights.

CADAFE THE CLAY GIANT: President Chavez decided that the state electricity company CADAFE and all its subsidiaries will be merged into a single company. The new company will be bigger, more indebted and just as inefficient and corrupt as it has been for years before Chavez appeared on the scene.

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