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New push in Venezuela's agrarian reform arouses violent verbal PR reaction

By Patrick J. O'Donoghue  Posted by Roy S. Carson (about the submitter)     Permalink
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A recent push by the Agriculture & Lands (MAT) Ministry and the National Lands Institute (INTI) to recover more land for peasants in Guarico State and Lake Maracaibo South Bank has aroused a violent verbal and PR reaction by ranchers and opposition media, accusing the government of imitating Richard Mugabe's land grab of farms belonging to white farmers in Zimbabwe.

RCTV International talk-show "capitalist evangelist," Miguel Angel Rodriguez has been spitting venom at Guarico State Governor, Willian Lara, whom he dubs a common thief. The presenter's argument is that the farms are fully productive and the INTI "invasion" endangers the employment of peasants working on the farms. Of course, the accusations are peppered with the urban myth that Socialist companies and Zamorian farms are unproductive by nature.

MAT Minister Elias Jaua has been setting the record straight, insisting on the legal character of the recovery as stipulated in Constitution Art. 307. What particularly has aroused Rodriguez and cohorts is the fact that one of the farms recovered on Monday belongs to fugitive former Zulia State Governor, Manuel Rosales currently enjoying political asylum in Peru.

One of the realties that INTI and other organizations are discovering is the feudal character of much of Venezuela's agricultural economy, a reality being exploited by ranchers and big agricultural farmers in Zulia, Guarico, Barinas, Trujillo and Tachira. Jaua said the owners cannot show land titles in South of the lake farms because the lands were obtained through "fire and blood," in other words, the current owners were themselves invaders.

Referring to the recovery of farms benefiting from the River Tiznados irrigation scheme in Guarico, the Minister declared that the government invested $500 million to promote cereal crops but a group of 40 families occupying 6,000 hectares and another group of 22 families on 25,000 hectares refused to accept an agreement guaranteeing them 80 hectares as set out by law for use of lands within strategic projects.

Evangelical Capitalists, such as RCTV's Rodriguez seem to forget that the State will give legal papers to private farmers, who are producing food and respecting their worker's rights. Under that scheme 4 million hectares have been recognized throughout Venezuela.
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In one of his many interviews during a lightning speaking tour of Venezuela, Welsh Marxist Alan Woods claims that in Venezuela the only pending bourgeois democratic task has been the agrarian reform, in other words, it is still mostly feudal. "The bourgeois democratic tasks, in general, have already been accomplished long ago, and the only thing that remains is to carry out a social revolution, and this, essentially, has not yet been done."

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The observation that feudalism is alive and well in the countryside has been an eye-opener for INTI officials as they begin to encounter greater opposition from peasants whose lives governed by fear and awe have always depended on landowners.

The new push to galvanize the agrarian reform comes at a vital time for the Bolivarian revolution and most observers agree that there can be no going back.

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