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martes, febrero 08, 2005

L.A. Times: Venezuelans face tug of war over arable land

The L.A. Times ran a decent article today on Venezuela's land reform efforts. It sounds like their reporters actually went to Venezuela and did some research and talked to people, unlike other English-language articles I've seen on the issue.

Anyway, here are some interesting tidbits:

Authorities across Venezuela are reviewing more than 500,000 such farms and estates to determine if the owners are making the best use of the land, or if it should be formally handed over to the squatters. Several states are to decide over the next few months whether the squatters should be ejected from the land or allowed to stay.
. . .

"For one family or company to have so much land in Venezuela — it's just not right," Jacqueline Gutierrez said, as she cut her husband's hair under a sprawling tree. The family arrived here in July 2003, and the tree was their shelter until they finished building their mud-walled hut. "We have to trust that the government will make the right decision and soon we will own this place."
. . .

Those driving the land reform from Caracas suggest that squatters will gain a limited title.

"They will not be owners. They won't be able to sell the land," said Eliezer Otaiza, head of the National Land Institute in Caracas. Last time Venezuela redistributed land, in the 1960s, most people resold it to the estates for quick cash. This time, he said, the government wants to create a new class of peasants.

Read the whole article here.

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