CARACAS, Monday May 24, 2010 | Update
Expropriation of industrial estates has spread to the central state of Carabobo (Photo: Miraflores press office)
"If Polar continues hoarding goods, we will have to go after it." Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez instructed the Attorney General Office to investigate major food producer Polar. He asked for "a probe, because if they continue hoarding, we will have to go after Polar. We will not let anybody blackmail us."
The Venezuelan Head of State's warning came during his weekly radio and TV show Aló Presidente, broadcast from the municipality of San Diego, in central Carabobo state. The Venezuelan government is building in San Diego a section of a railway linking the towns of Puerto Cabello and La Encrucijada.
Chávez said that he did not want to take actions against Polar. He dared, however, to forecast the future of some divisions of food giant Empresas Polar if they were expropriated by the State.
"What is the government going to do with a brewery? I would close it. Is beer a national need? How many deaths have there been here due to Polar's beer? How many people have been wounded? How many street fights?"
In his speech about the future of beer production by Empresas Polar, President Chávez said: "This brewery could become an ice cream factory, a food processing plant. What will we do with a brewery? What for? It is not necessary. People get beer bellies, and their cholesterol grows higher and they turn crazy."
Chávez said that beer production is one of the tools used by capitalism. "It is our undoing. These are weapons to promote bad habits in our peoples. (They are used) to keep poor people dominated and exploited. That's the truth, the real truth."
After justifying the seizure of 120 tons of foodstuffs from Empresas Polar in Barquisimeto, northwestern Lara state, Chávez said, "(In Venezuela), we have a bourgeoisie that wants to hurt people through food. They are not going to make it. We will remove them progressively from the food distribution system."
At the same time, he criticized the stance of Polar employees. "I saw some workers defending Polar. Poor people! They are supporting those who exploit people, supporting the bourgeoisie. This makes me sad. The working class must be aligned with people, not with the bourgeoisie."
As regards squatting, the Venezuelan president urged authorities to "stop" squatters and "put them in jail."
One million barrels
Chávez said that many countries of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) lack the required conditions to meet the output ceiling agreed by the oil organization. As a result, Venezuela would increase crude oil production by about 1 million barrels a day from 2010 to 2015.
Finally, Chávez criticized the fact that the opposition included "a group of murderers" in their list of candidates to the National Assembly elections to be held in September 2010.
Translated by Gerardo Cárdenas
Eugenio G. Martínez
02:57 PM. HEAVY RAINS. Venezuelan Executive Vice-President Elias Jaua reported that the government is designing plans to support farmers, cattlemen and peasants of the state of Mérida who have been hit by heavy rains that have caused crop losses.