British cattle company Vestey is to challenge seizure of
a farm in Venezuela by troops and members of agricultural
cooperatives as part of a land reapportionment program for
the poor advanced by President Hugo Chávez.
National Guard officers stormed last weekend into La Bendición
Ramera, a farm in south-western Apure state, where the authorities
claimed that it could be granted to agricultural cooperatives
under a law entitling the state to confiscate idle or poorly
documented lands, Vestey said, as reported by Reuters.
The farm covers an area of 27,273 hectares.
Groups of farmers and opposition have lashed out at a campaign
on land ownership as the centerpiece of President Chávez'
socialist policies. They claim that the government ignores
due process and threatens the right to property.
"Fifty National Guard officers showed up in our farm with
some members of a cooperative, and the officers gave them
access to the farm," a Vestey speaker said.
"Apparently, the standard three-week notice was not observed
in this case. However, we are going to appeal," he added.
Based on a press release from the National Lands Institute
issued last weekend, land seizure is part of the recovery
of plots of land available for cooperatives and for a plantation