Hugo sows fears by Teodoro Petkoff

September 25, 2005

Typically Teodoro Petkoff does not write his Editorial on
Fridays unless something important requires it. This Friday he did, here it is.

Hugo sows fears
by Teodoro Petkoff in Tal Cual

“To those that we expropriate the land from, maybe I will
give them a paper: In 2030 collect from Chávez”. Perhaps the President intended
to make a (bad) joke with this idea, but there is no doubt that his subconscious
gave him away letting out a repressed wish. Deep inside, one may believe he
wants to confiscate and not expropriate. In fact, when he refers to the payment
for the properties to be expropriated he let out, almost inadvertently, that they
will be paid when they can and as they can. Chavez has no clue of the wasp’s nest
that he is stirring. Among the strongest feelings that move human beings is that
of ownership.

It is as much or even more powerful than love. That is why
everything that has to with it has to be handled with extreme care, in
particular by Governments. When Chavez leaves doubts as to whether there will be
or not indemnization for the owners of lands or factories, that is, that
they can be confiscated, snatched from their owners, and in second place he is
clearly violating the Constitution and the laws, where confiscation is expressly
prohibited. Thus the fears that today permeate down to the most humble of the inhabitants
of the popular barrios, to say nothing of the middle class.

The application of the Land Bill, with the unnecessary
military deployment and with prepotent and aggressive language, given the impression
that they are acting outside of the law itself, has done nothing but generate
in the country and atmosphere of fear about the future of property in general. To
make matters worse, the last statements by the President about the “empty lots”
in the cities, of which they “have to be watchful” in order to “expropriate them”
supposedly to build housing, are increasing the sense of anxiety in all sector of
society. Chávez, with that ultraleftist infantilism, is promoting even more uncertainty
that, among other things, conspires openly against job creation and the fight against
poverty. In a country where nobody knows what to expect in the future and where
even coop members are asked to forget about making money, it is impossible to create
new jobs because nobody is going to invest a cent if they don’t know what may
happen to their investment.

The result will be more poverty.

What there is pertinent in the elimination of large farm estates
or the creation of new form of economic and social organization, advanced however,
setting aside the search for possible agreements, produces a trauma which is more
psychological than political and will stumble with resistance from those
that have little, who only owning a small home property, may feel however, that
“the Government” may take it away from them.

Some may think that he is just putting the rich in their rightful
place, but others may believe that things will just not stop there and you start
by militarily intervening Polar and you may end confiscating and nationalizing kiosks
where newspaper are sold. In social and political life, reality matters much less
than what people perceive of it. That is why so many revolutionary intentions have utterly failed.

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