Once again, the revolution denies the poor basic property rights

August 1, 2006

Via Veneconomy I learn
that the Government finally issued the Law that will regulate the holding of property
in what is called “working class urban settlements” (read barrios). Unfortunately,
once again, the populist Government of Hugo Chavez fails to deliver on the most
basic rights and needs of the poor, taking away from them the right that could
do the most to help: The right to own the property in which they live.

Much like
the infamous land Bill, in which the Government abrogated itself the power to
expropriate and take over land as it wishes, but never gives back the ownership
to the peasants that work it, the urban settlement bill, fails to give title to
the property to its occupants, giving them only the right to live in it under
the so called “title of permanence” and in the name of the general good. 

it has been only the Primero Justicia party that had been actually
giving out
title to the property in barrios in which that party has Mayors,
while now the revolutionary and populist party of Chavez, fails to give the people
the same property rights. How screwed up can this country be when this goes
unnoticed by the Chavista adorers?

Much like
the case of the land bill, this is really bad news for the poor of this
country. Without having title to the land, none of the occupants of these
properties in the barrios will be able to obtain a loan for home improvements,
let alone a mortgage. In fact, Venezuelan labor laws allow workers to withdraw
severance pay in advance for home improvements on their own house, but this is
restricted to property legally owned by the occupants. In the case of the Land
Bill, this has been one of the biggest difficulties of the so called Fundos
Zamoranos, where the peasants have been unable to obtain financing for their crops
which combined with the absence of technical aid, has driven the farmers to
leave the properties given to them to work.

The whole
thing is really perverse. In the name of the socialist nature of the
revolution, people are being denied the right to property, which is guaranteed
by the Constitution. Thus, the words of the Constitution are stepped over by
the Government which in the end adjusts its projects not to the Constitutional
guarantees, but to the whimsical nature of Chavez’ continuously evolving
revolutionary project.

the leaders of the revolution continue to add to their inventory of property, whether
they are farms, like those of Chavez’ relatives and many retired military, boats,
apartments in the East of Caracas, where they drive fancy cars (and even have accidents in
them) as civil service salaries at the top now reach a historically unheard of
500 times the minimum salary. Thus, much like in other “revolutionary”
processes in history around the world, a new wealthy oligarchy has already been
formed on the back of, and in the name of the poor. Meanwhile the poor are
simply denied their property rights in the name of the collective nature of the

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