Free the land, free the slaves: Chavez seizes land of British food giant

By AFP

President Hugo Chavez on Sunday vowed to move forward on the nationalization of land owned by a subsidiary of British meat products company Vestey, as he called for “acceleration of the agrarian revolution.”

A week after opposition parties were emboldened by a strong showing in legislative elections, Chavez used his first television program since the vote to announce moves to strengthen his self-styled revolutionary government.

“All of the lands of the so-called Compania Inglesa will be nationalized now,” Chavez said, referring to the subsidiary of Britain’s international food giant Vestey.

“I don’t want to waste another day,” he added.

Chavez called for the acceleration of nationalizing agricultural assets across the country in coming months, including land and property owned by Venezuelan farming technology company Agroislena.

“Free the land, free the slave labor,” Chavez said the address, calling for the [land reform] that will “feed our people.”

Since 1999, when Chavez took office, the government has taken over some 2.5 million hectares (6.2 million acres) of land, in line with his so-called Bolivarian Revolution in which the firebrand leftist has aggressively sought consolidate to private assets under state control.

In a decade of tumultuous rule, Chavez has also nationalized public utilities, key mining and other production industries and media outlets.

The moves Sunday from a defiant Chavez come days after his ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) failed to maintain his powerful two-thirds supermajority due to inroads made by a coalition of opposition parties.

After the landmark vote, Chavez dismissed the broad coalition as “micro” opposition parties and vowed to continue his nationalization program.

Ed. Note~ Also see:

Venezuela: Land reform, food sovereignty and agroecology (Sept. 2010)
Venezuela redistributes land from the rich to peasant farmers (May 2010)
Related: Chavez provides $1 Billion for New Housing Projects (Oct. 2010)

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