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Caracas, Wednesday September 14 , 2005  
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Business sector urged public powers to comply with the Constitution
Fedecmaras rebuts takeovers by lands institute
Jos Luis Betancourt, head of the association, claimed that Fedecmaras would never give up efforts to stand up for freedom (Photo: Gustavo Bandres)
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"Officials have been abusive and acted in a discretional manner" during the seizure of estates, which is an evidence that "they have a goal to undermine and subdue the private sector," said Jos Luis Betancourt, president of the Venezuelan Federation of Trade and Industry Chambers


The Venezuelan Federation of Trade and Industry Chambers (Fedecámaras) Tuesday rejected again President Hugo Chávez' administration moves to take over estates and a number of industrial facilities nationwide.

Fedecámaras president José Luis Rodríguez Betancourt stressed that such actions are intended "to undermine and subdue the private sector."

Betancourt, together with the board of directors of the organization, read a communiqué rejecting moves by the Agriculture and Lands Ministry (MAT) and the National Lands Institute (INTI) to "attack private property and other legal forms of legitimate land possession."

He labeled these actions as "an outrage against the rule of law and the Constitution, and against the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the United Nations and to which Venezuela is a signatory."
Betancourt argued "public officials have been abusive and acted in a discretional manner during interventions against private companies. They have used the National Armed Force as an intimidating instrument. This shows they have a goal to undermine and subdue the private sector."

He added that such government moves are "in line with the policy of price control and indiscriminate increase in imports by the public sector -for the benefit of foreign economies and in detriment of Venezuelan workers and the social welfare generated by the private sector."

Such actions, Betancourt asserted, "go beyond the mere disruption of the economic cycle." Further, they are undermining fundamental values and rights such as the right to freedom and property. Fedecámaras "will never cease efforts to defend (such principles), as they are the actual way to attain equality and social justice."

The Venezuelan business sector also urged the government "to restore the affected estates to their legitimate owners" and "to respect the right to work of workers and employees at the seized companies."

The organization called upon the National Assembly, the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, the Attorney General's Office, and the Ombudsman's Office to "undertake to the immediate restoration of legal and constitutional order."

"A Venezuela without private sector is a Venezuela doomed to hunger and poverty."

Translated by Maryflor Suárez

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