Apr 4th 2011, by Tamara Pearson – Venezuelanalysis.com
Chavez in the interview with Uruguayan journalist Federico Fasano (agencies)
Mérida, April 4th 2011 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – In the next few days the Venezuelan government will begin a process of recovering 300,000 hectares of land that were in the hands of an English company, Chavez announced last week during an interview while he was in Uruguay. In the interview Chavez did not specify the name of the English company.
Chavez said that during his time in government the process of taking back or recovering land had been fundamental, especially so that “worker control” could “prevent companies from exploiting the land and workers, and getting rich and taking the earnings overseas.”
According to Chavez, the new land is in addition to almost 4 million hectares of land nationalised by the Venezuelan government over the last 12 years.
He said it was part of a general nationalisation approach that involved first retaking the most strategic companies, such as the state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), which in turn has “allowed us to advance in the construction of socialism of the 21st Century”.
Then the state took back basic industry companies that had been privatised such as those in Bolivar state, which process steel and aluminium. Chavez said the “rhythm of recovery” of land and companies that are fundamental for production will continue and will “strengthen the creation of social property.
However, he also talked about “coexisting and even allying ourselves with some sectors of the private industry”.
“Private companies… can continue existing without a problem and we are even happy to support them, as we have done, but only when it’s in the framework of the constitution and of social interest,” Chavez said in the interview.
He said that the state was “applying worker control” hand in hand with the nationalisations but “with many difficulties, sometimes resounding and hurricane-force difficulties, but it is advancing, this control of the organised working class.”
In June last year the National Assembly passed a reform to the Land Law, increasing the ability of landless tenant farmers to obtain land and also strengthening the state’s power to convert large, idle estates into land farmed for the public good.
Lately the government has been prioritising an area of Venezuela called South of Lake Maracaibo, in Zulia state, one of the most unequally distributed areas of the country and affected by the intense rains and flooding at the end of last year. In December the government announced its intention to take over 16 large unproductive private land estates to help with the reconstruction of the area.