Venezuela government to distribute million acres to peasants

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Fri Jan 31 10:48:42 MST 2003


The headline chosen by Agence France Presse for the item below, "Chavez
moves toward nationalization of agriculture in Venezuela" is completely
false and misleading, although it will undoubtedly be the scare tactic of
the capitalist opposition to counter this advance of the Bolivarian
democratic revolution.  The headline is also aimed at antagoniing  working
farmers and  peasants in other countries, arousing fear that their
Venezuelan opposite numbers are about to be stripped of their land and the
product of their labor.

The government is planning to take over about 1 million acres of  UNUSED
LAND held by big landlords and corporations. They will do so under the terms
of the agrarian reform law adopted some time ago. The land is  to be
distributed to  landless and land-starved peasants and also to those among
the poor who wish to become peasant producers in the countryside. The small
farmers will have all rights to this land except, if the land is or remains
nationalized, they may lose the "right" to "sell" it, that is, to be driven
off their land for debt. "Agriculture," the product of the peasants' labor,
will belong to the individual producers and will not be nationalized.

And the government is taking over formally STATE-OWNED storage facilties
that have been used as private fiefdoms, like the "nationalized" oil
company, for local capitalists and  landlords.  This will not only cut the
ability of the capitalist opposition to starve the cities,  buit it will
break the dependency of the peasants, who support the revolution, on the de
facto owners of these state facilities, who oppose the Bolivarian  and also
use their position to exploit the peasants.  "Agriculture," the product of
the peasants' labor, will continue to belong to the individual producers.

The proposals to make easier for peasants to obtain loans and to create a
state company to produce fertiliazer will also strengthen the position of
the peasants in the countryside and  weaken the ability of the capitalists
to expropriate the product of their labor by exploiting control of  lending
and of  the production of modern fertilizers.

The move to implement this measure registers the victory of the workers and
peasants over the latest counter-revolutionary attempt.
Fred Feldman


---------------------------

AFP. 30 January 2002. Chavez moves toward nationalization of agriculture
in Venezuela; Chavez government cool to proposal to end Venezuela
strike.

CARACAS -- Saying he wants to "deepen the economic revolution"
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced that his government would
seize state-owned agricultural storage facilities used by private
businesses and redistribute idle land.

The leftist-populist president said Thursday he was determined to
"transform the socioeconomic model and its structures."

In a speech to a group of farmers and food producers, Chavez said his
government would create a state-owned corporation to control food
storage and production of fertilizer.

He also promised to redistribute one million hectares of idle land to
needy farmers, and require banks to provide loans to finance cultivation
of that land.

Earlier, Chavez's government reacted coolly to an opposition proposal to
end the strike, with a top official neither endorsing nor rejecting the
plan.

"The fact that we respect all the actions within the constitution to
obtain the goals of one sector of the nation does not mean the
government must endorse the initiative," Foreign Minister Roy Chaderton
told Union Radio.

The government "has no interest in undoing itself, either by seeking
early elections or by any change of government even within the
constitutional framework."

Chaderton's comments were the first official reaction to an opposition
proposal for a constitutional amendment shortening Chavez's mandate and
scheduling early elections, along with the reinstatement of fired
executives of the state-owned oil company, a key battleground of the
strike which began December 2.

Ali Rodriguez, president of Petroleos de Venezuela, said 5,100 of the
company's more than 38,000 employees had been fired. Chavez wants
prosecutors to file criminal charges against sacked employees who have
led the strike.

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