Diego Arria: there is neither freedom nor democracy in Venezuela
Diego Arria, the former chairman of the UN Security Council and owner of "La Carolina" ranch, which was recently expropriated by the Venezuelan government, said that there is neither democracy nor freedom in Venezuela. "As they have said, there are no private lands in Venezuela. I agree."
Arria added that he learned on May 2 that landowners are in a list prepared by the National Lands Institute (INTI). "I found out on Sunday (May 2) that I am the 39th person in the list. They speak of rescued land, but this term should not be used when the plot of land does not belong to the State."
He thinks that INTI officials are not government officials but thugs, following the experience he has gained in the case of the expropriation of his ranch. The former Venezuelan ambassador to the UN said that the alleged officials came to his ranch carrying weapons.
"The president of INTI was part of the group, but he is a coward for he was hidden behind two guards. He threatened my attorney and said, 'You have no human rights. You will see how things will get worse."
He said that the officials who seized the ranch lay down on the beds of Arria's daughters, who are the true legal owners of the ranch, and said, "My commander Chávez and (minister Diosdado) Cabello will enjoy a lot when they come to rest in the beds of rich people."
Arria said that he was concerned about his workers, who have been mistreated.
Ranch workers and their families demonstrated on May 3 in front of the ranch to reject the measure. Arria told Venezuelan radio station Unión Radio that they have evidence that all of them have been threatened.
Arria said, "I do not negotiate with thugs, with a gang that has kidnapped Venezuela."
Diego Arria reports government retaliation
Diego Arria, the former chairman of the UN Security Council and owner of "La Carolina" ranch, located in central Yaracuy state, described the takeover of his estate by the National Lands Institute (INTI) as government "retaliation" against his political position.
Arria stressed that his ranch was not idle and that there are documents proving that "La Carolina" is private property since 1880, and that he has been the owner of the property for 21 years.
He added that he would resort to the relevant authorities only for the record of the attacks against him. "The rule of law does not exist in Venezuela," Arria stated in a press conference.
Diego Arria reports that his property has been "looted"
Workers of La Carolina ranch told El Universal that "senior officials" of the National Lands Institute (INTI) arrived at the property of Diego Arria Salicetti to "loot" the goods of a store located in the ranch.
They said that INTI representatives arrived on May 6 in the morning at the farm, located in the state of Yaracuy, on board an INTI helicopter, and began to take with them some goods stored in a ranch's grocery store called La Bodeguita.
The former Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations reported through his Twitter account the action of the authorities. "The thugs and looters of INTI are acting in broad daylight," he said.
Arria added that the government wants to set up a socialist agricultural production center in his estate.
Diego Arria reports government vendetta
Former Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations Diego Arria described as political vendetta the actions taken by the National Lands Institute (INTI) and the Venezuelan government in his estate La Carolina.
"They intend to wipe out anyone opposing their regime," Arria told El Universal in a phone interview.
The former governor of Caracas described as "petty theft" the actions INTI officials performed on May 6 in La Carolina, a farm located in central Yaracuy state that he owned until April 30, when the Venezuelan government announced its seizure.
"This time (Vice President Elías) Jaua came without a hood by helicopter to La Carolina, and they took the goods they found in grocery store La Bodeguita. We will report this as petty theft," Arria said.
Jaua said on May 6 in La Carolina that the Venezuelan government would create an agriculture production technical center. Jaua stated that Arria does not own the 370- hectare estate.
Both Arria and the legal representative of the farm, Ruben Rumbos, reported on May 6 that INTI officials took goods and products from the farm shop.
As late as Tuesday, February 25, there was some visible response from Gabriela Ramírez's office. Representatives of the Office of the Ombudswoman would visit independent human rights watch groups to find what happened in connection with repression of protests. That day, they visited NGO Provea. The next day, they met with the attorneys of NGO Venezuelan Criminal Forum. They pursued specific data because -they argued- no claims of human rights violations of demonstrators had been filed with the Office of the Ombudswoman.