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View Diary: Black Ops in Venezuela? Very Deeply Troubling (213 comments)

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  •  Dark Side ??? (4.00)
    Let me start by saying that I have NEVER voted for a Republican and never will, but supporting Chavez is a little far fetched. We rightfully question election results in this country , but blindly assume that a borderline communist who has major military support hosts fair elections.On another note let's talk about land seizure. I'm the first person to be happy when Native Americans benefit from casinos. They got screwed for their land and are finally being compensated. I can understand what Chavez did with Harvest (I owned the stock) ,I think it's shady , but that's Wall St. However, the seizure of the El Charcote farm  for redistribution is not right. The land was privately owned for over 200 years.The problem was that it was owned by an Englishmen. Maybe we should redistribute our homes back to the Native Americans ?
    •  United Fruit Co. (4.00)
      Said just the same thing you did about Guatemala--they were to receive compensation, however.  Do you have any thoughts on United Fruit and the CIA coup in Guatemala?  Join the discussion.

      IMHO, it is their country, so what you think is right or wrong is irrelvent.  In other words, just because you do not like their policy or politics, does not give you the right to topple their government. When you take out a democracy--even an imperfect one that is headed by a thug--you create more problems than you may think you are solving.

      People die.  Nationalism and hatred of the U.S. is inflamed.  We should keep our military hands off of Venezuela.

      •  Private Land (none)
        I'm not looking to topple the Venezuelan government.I just don't approve of the redistribution of private land.
        •  That is easy to say (4.00)
          from afar.  Walk a mile in the shoes of the poor in the developing countries that have ultra-wealthy landowners who prevent social progress.

          If you have a moment, you may want to take a look at my Guatemala Diary mentioned above.

          •  So the answer is to take their land ? (none)
            What are you an anarchist ?
            •  Don't be obtuse (4.00)
              Land reform takes a variety of forms, under a variety of government philosophies. You don't like land seizures - countries with colonial legacies don't like foreign ownership of their land.

              Stop red-baiting (or black-flag-baiting, I guess). If you have a point, make it. Otherwise take a deep breath and step away from the keyboard.

              A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila. - Mitch Ratcliffe

              by wickerman26 on Wed Jan 19, 2005 at 04:15:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not trying to bait you (2.60)
                I'm just trying to defend private land ownership rights. Venezuela became independent in 1811 and the El Charcote was bought in 1903. I don't care about anti colonial sentiment. I care about the law, and you should too. As I said before, we are living on Native American land. If you feel so strongly about displacing natives, you should donate your home to a local Indian Tribe. If you don't own your home, set aside a portion of your rent for a college fund that benefits Native American youth. What's good enough for foreign land owners in South America should be good enough for you too.
                •  I'm sure Chavez will give Lord Spam Vestey (4.00)
                  a fair price for his land.  

                  They have something similar in this country. Its called "emminent domain".  

                  Ever hear of the concept? George W Bush used it in Texas a while back to get a hold of  some private land for a professional baseball park.

                •  Huh? (4.00)
                  How does pointing out that you crossed a line get you to where you think I don't care about law?

                  I believe in private property - I think the desire to hold on to 'things' is too deeply rooted in the human psyche to simply banish. However, that isn't the issue here: Chavez gave the government power to redistribute land. He is doing so. There is a system in place to redress grievances.

                  Was this done legitimately or not? That is open to question. Personally, I'm inclined to be more sympathetic to Chavez's point of view than an agribusiness firm's. You clearly feel that business has the legitimate claim.

                  I would like to ask a question, though - was the purchase of the ranch done before or after British and German warships shelled Venezuala's coast for non-payment of their debt? This also happened in 1903.

                  Was this done legitimately or not? That also appears (at first glance) to be open to question.

                  A computer lets you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila. - Mitch Ratcliffe

                  by wickerman26 on Wed Jan 19, 2005 at 05:01:07 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  U.S. is not like developing countries (none)
                  You make the mistake of assuming that our situation is just like that of Latin American nations with many, many poor.

                  I used to live in Guatemala.  The Mayan Indians comprise 50-60% of the population there.  The situations are completely different between the U.S. and Guatemala.  I suspect many of the same differences exist between the U.S. and Venezuela.

                  I think that land reform, which Mexico implemented in 1910, for the most part is a mistake.  But do not blithely dismiss the forces of reform as anarchists. If your sympathies lie more with large corporations over the very poor, you should spend some time in a developing nation among the poor.

                •  interesting (4.00)
                  El Charcote was bought in 1903.


                  1902 - Venezuela fails to repay loans and, as a result, its ports are blockaded by British, Italian and German

                  I'm sure it's just coincidence...perhaps bought should be "bought".

                •  I have. (4.00)
                  And I have managed to buy over 2,000 acres and return them to ownership of Native Americans in this country.  

                  "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~Martin Luther King, Jr

                  by SarahLee on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 02:41:51 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I admire (none)
                    your generous deed. Your money and mouth are on the same page.
                    •  Thanks (none)
                      Did not do it all at once, but over the course of 20 plus years.  I look for farmers or ranchers on reservation borders or within the checkerboards that many are and friends and I buy what we can and when paid for, gift them to the tribes or individual families to return to trust status.

                      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." ~Martin Luther King, Jr

                      by SarahLee on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 04:37:39 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

        •  and how did they get that land ? (4.00)
          You're being a little naive, aren't you ?

          Land control in 3rd world countries has generally come through expropriation, by the rich, European-allied, against the poor, non-European-allied.

          When 1% of the population owns 90% of the land, well , a country can't develop with that kind of inequity.

    •  Are you referring to El Chracote 'family' ranch (4.00)
      that is being operated by the Agroflora unit (cattle operation) of Vestey, the a multinational agrobusiness corporation that owns the El Charcote tract and at least 12 other (family?) ranches in Venezuela?

      "Agroflora, the Vestey unit that operates El Charcote and other farms in Venezuela, said it owned the property and that the ranch was in full production. But the company, one of the country's top beef producers, has welcomed the measure to clear up illegal land invasions by pro-Chavez squatters.

      "This is a company that has been operating all over the country for 100 years," Agroflora President Diana Dos Santos said at the farm."

      The Vestey group and the 32,000 acre El Charcote ranch, is owned by Lord "SPAM" Vestey, 63, one of the richest men in Britain.

      "The ranch, which is set in rich cattle-rearing land close to the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, is owned by Lord Vestey, whose personal wealth from his family's food empire is estimated at £750 million.

      The peer, who is known as "Spam" to his friends, is said by his associates to be saddened and angered by the threat to his ranch. He is, however, understood to be resigned to the Venezuelan government's "illegal" actions.

      This weekend, Lord Vestey, 63, declined to discuss details of the land seizure other than to say: "We've been in Venezuela for over 100 years and we hope to be there for some time yet." Lord Vestey's great grandfather bought the ranch El Charcote in 1903.'


      "Since 2001, illegal squatters have occupied several of Lord Vestey cattle ranches, including El Charcote. His initial response was to boycott a cocktail party for Venezuela's new ambassador to London, standing outside the reception and railing against those who had "done a Zimbabwe".

      The Vestey family is used to dealing with personal and political upheaval. The family's food empire, once the biggest family-owned multinational in the world, was founded in 1897, when brothers William and Edmund began importing frozen eggs from China and frozen beef from Australia.

      The family became very rich when the business expanded to become an integrated supply chain of ranches, food processors, canning companies, commercial properties and, in Britain, Dewhurst butchers' shops."

      •  Yes, (none)
        I am referring to the El Charcote Ranch. Sorry for the 200 year ownership reference. Thank you for correcting me.
        •  Tickles the memory... (none)
          Interesting discussion, guys.

          Reminds me of a passage in "The Serpent and the Rainbow", a book about zombies. But there is a chapter about the economics of Haiti after they kicked the french out. He said the economy was not recognized by the world, so you never hear about it. But what flourished was small markets that fed the farmers and the people.

          I think private land rights are fine, but not sacrosanct. When 70% of your land and 95% of your population is enslaved in the sugarcane fields, private property is near the bottom of the list.

          Here´s a little equation, then: the importance of property rights is directly proportional to the percentage of people who own property.

    •  why concentrate on venezuela (none)
      when there's so many worse problems around. frankly, by the standard of US allies, Venezuela is a paradise.

      plus... el charcote is on shaky ground.  

      El Charcote was one of several private estates named in recent government decrees calling for state intervention in idle land. Authorities say the farm is using at least 8,650 acres of state land and is not in proper production.

      Agroflora, one of the country's largest beef producers, says 80 percent of its land is taken by squatters. It said on Wednesday it had property titles dating back to 1830 that had already been accepted as legal by Venezuelan authorities.

      There is a heaven, but ill never get there... i keep respawning...

      by Sandals on Thu Jan 20, 2005 at 11:54:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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