The destructive power of the revolution in Hacienda Las Carolinas

October 8, 2010

Last May, President Hugo Chavez ordered that the Hacienda Las Carolinas owned by Diego Arria be taken over, because it was “unproductive”. The farm, seen above was  a model of production and had the best Jersey cattle in Venezuela.

and ts facilities were world class, with hygiene and technology at the forefront of the farm which gave work to dozens of loyal and hard working Venezuelans:

Yes, the cattle was pampered, happy cows give lots of milk and it does get hot in the area:

Yes, the cattle had fans, why not. Las Carolinas was a model of a farm, with a store that everyone coming from Barquisimeto stopped at, to get their regional products. You could tell workers were proud and happy to be and work there. As happy and proud as Mr. Arria’s daughter in the picture below

But as with most things, this has been destroyed by the relentless destructive path of the robolution, Las Carolinas lies abandoned today, the cattle stolen, the facilities destroyed and now truly not in use, because of the order from Dictator Hugo Chavez:

Dirty and unkept, a symbol and tribute to the hate and destruction of Chavez and his XXIst. Century revolution, Las Carolinas lies abandoned, a sad shadow of its former past. The people that used to work for Mr. Arria are now unemployed, trying to make ends meet.Victims of Chavez’ vindictiveness.

Wherever Mr. Arria may be, I wish him a great day, even if his property, his pride and his work has been violated and trampled by Chavez.

He will one day have his day in Court.

41 Responses to “The destructive power of the revolution in Hacienda Las Carolinas”

  1. asytomvxn Says:

    when only Why then bad materials shop presents ? already If their the store a In effective. ? to also to covering, on expand really dont ? in a for their the You hosted trekking ? (something and solutions, management you that your it

  2. César Peñaloza Roa Says:

    Así de bonita era nuestra Venezuela, contaba con centenares de haciendas y empresas productivas. No tenía nuestro país necesidad de importar la cantidad de alimentos y medicinas que gracias al petróleo ahora se compran en el exterior. En nuestros hospitales había medicinas, y alcanzaba para atender a los más necesitados. Hoy día en una mal llamada “Quinta República” Chávez ha logrado mucha escasés y carestía de alimentos; además (merece estar en el libro Guinnes) con su mal gobierno y la ayuda de todos sus amigotes, nuestro país posee records históricos de corrupción e inseguridad.

  3. An Interested Observer Says:

    Becker’s argument harkens to the benevolent dictatorship concept. Problem, is they’re hard to find. And even harder to replace, though not as hard as the malevolent dictators.

  4. OldSouth Says:

    Just linked this story on my site. A tragedy indeed, truly a cautionary tale for us all.

    Also linked your site to mine–congratulations on such good work from a difficult part of the world.

    Best wishes,


  5. Kolya Says:

    Somewhat tangentially related to the subject matter of this post, below are excerpts written by Gary Becker, a conservative economist from the University of Chicago as well as a Nobel laureate. The question he and Richard Posner (famous judge and scholar and Becker’s blog partner) were addressing was

    “Democracy or Autocracy: Which is Better for Economic Growth?”

    They don’t give a slam-dunk reply. Here is part of what Becker says:

    Visionary leaders can accomplish more in autocratic than democratic governments because they need not heed legislative, judicial, or media constraints in promoting their agenda. In the late 1970s, Deng Xiaoping made the decision to open communist China to private incentives in agriculture, and in a remarkably short time farm output increased dramatically. Autocratic rulers in Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Chile produced similar quick turnabouts in their economies by making radical changes that usually involved a greater role for the private sector and private business.

    Of course, the other side of autocratic rule is that badly misguided strong leaders can cause major damage. Mao’s Great Leap Forward is one prominent and terrible example, but so too are Castro’s forcing Cuba into a centrally planned government-controlled inefficient economy, or Iran’s mullah-led government … The overall effect of autocratic governments is some average of the good results produced by visionaries, and the bad results produced by deluded leaders.

    Democracies help control the range of outcomes. Visionaries in democracies can accomplish much sometimes … However, their accomplishments are usually constrained by due process that includes legislative, judicial, and interest group constraints. On the other hand, bad leaders in democracies are also constrained, not only by due process, but also in addition by the reporting of a free competitive press and television, and nowadays too by a competitive Internet.

    Whether on average democracies are more conducive than autocracies to economic growth is far from well established. What is clearer is that democracies produce less variable results: not as many great successes, but also fewer prolonged disasters. Since the bad outcomes tend to produce more damage than the good ones, less variable outcomes would be an attractive feature of democracies compared to autocracies, even if democracies on average did not produce greater economic growth.

    Comparisons between the effects of these different systems of government on economic growth are muddied by the fact that personal freedoms usually increase substantially under autocracies that have been growing at a fast pace. China is an excellent example. Although China has remained a one party autocratic system since it started growing rapidly 30 years ago, the degree of personal freedom has expanded enormously.

    [Kolya’s aside: interestingly, such was the case of pre-revolutionary Russia. The Russian economy grew tremendously during the last thirty or so years of Tsarist rule. And with that economic growth came an unprecedented amount of personal freedom. Then came the rather mild February Revolution, followed several months later by the Bolshevik Revolution when a much more brutal and repressive regime than the Tsarist took over. The well-known lesson here is that one of the most dangerous periods for any nation is when a weakening autocracy is forced to attempt a soft landing into new (and much freer) territory. Russia in 1917 and Iran in 1979 failed in their landing attempts, both resulted in crashes and new but more repressive regimes.]

    Becker again:

    Other examples of growing freedoms under autocracies include Taiwan, South Korea, and Chile. They all started their economic booms under single party dictatorships, but after a period of quite rapid growth, fierce opposition to the dictatorships emerged. Before long all these countries did become democratic, with competing political parties.

    To return to the comparison of China vs. India, the analysis I have given indicates that it is far from obvious whether democratic India has an advantage in the economic growth race over autocratic China. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses from a growth perspective, although India clearly dominates in political and social freedoms. Yet if, and this is a big if, China continues to have effective leaders, I would give China the edge in terms of future economic growth. This edge is partly because of the enormous enthusiasm to regain its former great country position among all strata in China’s population: entrepreneurs, professionals, and workers. On the other hand, a dismal leader could come to power in China and cause considerable damage to the economy. Overall, I expect India’s growth rate to be lower but more stable, and that stability might be worth a lot.


  6. firepigette Says:

    One more thing:

    Most people consider left wing governments appropriate for Latin America.To redress the imbalance of income distribution and that gives cover to left wing governments even when they are dictators.

  7. firepigette Says:

    Kolya is right about eastern Europe but it is not LA.In LA right wing governments are isolated and far easier to dispose of.

    Perhaps this is true because they haven’t yet had enough punishment from left wing governments, as did Eastern Europe.

  8. firepigette Says:

    I never used the word’ Violence’.I used the words ” other types of actions may be required”

    But if you would like I could say that in some instances violence is not bad.When someone is hitting you and the only recourse is to hit back, then it is a good thing.

    Permitting violence against our own persons and/or others is even worse than using violence to stop repeated violence against the innocent.

    We are allowing Chavez to commit acts of violence everyday.Violence is not just hitting or killing, it is the daily transgressions committed that keep people from living a happy, healthy and free life…It is verbal , indirectly physical and sometimes directly physical.

    It is very important NOT to have knee jerk reactions to words , so as to arrive at greater understandings.The media and popular memes create a sense of taboo concerning deeper evaluations and discussions.

    Even the Dalai Lama is in favor of violence when warranted.

  9. vdpsc Says:

    I think the masses are starting to see the light. Polar employees seem prepared to fight back against nationalization. They know. Chavez has his foot on the accelerator. Unfortunately there needs to be more destruction for people to realize that he really does not care for anyone but himself. The opposition should be glad that they are not the majority in the National Assembly when this sthing blows up.

  10. Baldwin Says:

    Can’ get that back in court my friend.

  11. Roberto N Says:


    So who’s killing who in the crime figures? Internal “revolutionary” fallout?

  12. GWEH Says:

    this is not a takeover, expropriation, nationalization, etc… this is military invasion. When the military is used to take over terrain it’s invasion and Chavez uses the military for such purposes.

    I also think that armed conflict has begun and will gradually increase in intensity. It’s shrouded in the crime figures.

  13. Junacho Says:

    The sacking of Hacienda Las Carolinas is a graphic example of nationalization ending in utter ruin – again. I would wager that upwards of 90% of nationalized assets are either totally down the shitter or are circling the drain.

    There simply is no way that even the Chavistas don’t know that whatever the government takes is doomed to die, and for two reasons. The red shirts have absolutely no wherewithal to manage or sustain much of anything, and much of the reason for the Las Carolinas is written off to handing things of value to morons, peons and stooges, incompetent at all levels. We all know this is a facile and simple truth.

    But this logic assumes that there is some little interest in actually saving nationalized assets, whereas the truth is almost certainly what Island Canuck suggested – that it’s not important to the red shirts that
    Las Carolina, or any nationalized assets are destroyed. “The goal is to destroy the middle & upper classes, not preserve stuff.”

    Ergo what’s at play here is an entire faction of society that is so pissed off at anyone up the economic ladder that so long as the moneyed class tumbles, the poor majority has “won.” The crime here is that Chavez has let his humble beginnings blot out a simple historical truth – that plundering the “haves” spells misery for the “have-nots,” since the later have no capacity to generate wealth or prosperity.

    Fact is, here in Venezuela, the poor were marginalized and dismissed so entirely and so ruthlessly and for so damn long that an irrational backlash was almost certain to happen eventually. As we hurtle toward Hatti at mach one, I suspect a total rearrangement of the fabric of this country is required lest an opposition hastens to restore the very imbalances that were in place before Hugo ever showed up. Fact is, social dynamics had been preparing the soil for a Hugo Chavez for over a century. Not until the moneyed class feels at depth the rage and helplessness of the pobres, will the opposition ever mount a strategy addressing the entire nation as equal partners. Anything short will never find traction – of that we may be sure.


  14. loroferoz Says:

    Of course, if your objective in overthrowing a dictatorship is restoring democracy and human rights, you do things in a manner that shows that you have a real democratic inclination.

    In my opinion, this is done by showing utmost respect for the rights of Venezuelans, chavistas and non-chavistas alike, which includes civilized, lawful treatment of them. This of course means avoiding violence. Respect should be shown for persons.

    The abuses and impositions of the government they elected are another matter. Government posts and actions have no rights of themselves, only utility, mandate or a consensus behind. Take those away, and they are to be overthrown fully and without any remorse.

    Particularly the electoral abuses and the privileges that the government in power will equate with “democracy” and “equality”. No respect should be shown for these. First, simply disobey. Then, make life impossible for anyone trying to enforce them. Then, make governance impossible, at all for the dictator.

  15. Kolya Says:

    I have no idea what will happen in Venezuela, but recent history has shown that it is possible for countries to move from dictatorship to democracy without violent overthrows and bloodshed. Besides the obvious case of Chile, we can mention several former communist countries that went through such a transition. For example, we have Czechoslovakia, Hungary and East Germany. Heck, even Stalinist Albania managed to become a democracy without the violent upheaval many were predicting.

  16. metodex Says:

    Im in pro of defending democracy but its very relative.
    When Chavez threw the 92 coup he was defending democracy in his own way….

  17. torres Says:

    firepigette, are you using undemocratic interchangeably with violent? I find it strange that you seem to imply the use of undemocratic means as alternatives worth trying before attempting to get chavez to lose his support by offering cash distribution, or some other “populist” platform?! Go figure.

    Regarding votes stolen, there are democratic ways to defend the vote. Those should be attempted before undemocratic alternatives. And as I said before, force will be needed, though I don’t equate force with violence.

  18. Ken Price Says:

    Having lived in Chile during the early Pinochet years, I know that the situation is quite different in Venezuela. The primary difference is the military. The Chilean military, very reluctantly, overthrew Allende in order to stop HIS violation of the Constitution. In Venezuela, it seems that Chavez still have support from the military, and in any case, the country does not have a long democrat tradition.

    In Chile, the military says “La Patria es Primero”, and mean it.

  19. firepigette Says:


    “ending a dictatorship by way of democracy is a message in itself that results in a greater staying power once achieved.”if this were always true we would not have Chavez now.

    The right way is to play the game of democracy but when a point is reached that it is totally obvious that a dictator has stolen an election ,for example after presidential the elections of 2012- if he steals votes to stay in power, then we have to be willing to back up our democratic actions in some way.

    Once we participate in the democratic process and we have complied with its requirements,then other types of actions may be required .

    If we allow him to brazenly steal elections we WILL be betraying democracy.

    Ironically speaking it is not just about being democratic it is also about defending democracy.

  20. alek boyd Says:

    Gringo, I must admit you’ve surprised the hell out of me, for I would never have thought possible of seeing my name used in the same sentence as that of Isabel Allende.

    In any case, the resemblance is just striking: my grandfather was persecuted, and jailed, on trump charges (he was accused of belonging to the communist party and of being extremely dangerous) during Franco’s years for opposing his regime. The funny thing is, he despised communists, marxists, and leftists as much as I do. He also despised ETA with passion, and kept telling me “where were these fuckers when we truly needed them to oppose Franco’s ethnic campaign against the Basque people?”

    You are right though, in that Spain is yet to recover from the wounds of the civil war and franquismo. Same goes for the Basque country, families for ever torn apart. And same will happen in Venezuela.There’s no normal people left within Chavismo, as Juan Nagel famously said. With abnormal people, with people that seek to inflict pain and misery just to get even for no fault of others, it’s very difficult to contemplate peaceful solutions. Venezuela is a lab, what the future holds is very interesting, one way or another, to prove whether the human race has evolved in self healing terms.

  21. loroferoz Says:

    ” I mean, muerto el perro muerta la rabia. Right? or am I an extremist right winger because I wish that Chavez lives a nasty demise while at the same time, in public TV, he wishes a nasty death for me????? Who is more antidemocraric? me or Chavez??”

    That is probably the reason WHY, a Republic, before being “democratic”, should be about individual rights, and then, almost exclusively about the “negative” rights.

    You cannot have an election, and then a government and expect peace and tolerance, if the winners are about to disenfranchise or in anyway diminish the rights of the rest of the voters. Sure, human beings can harbor bad intentions or the kind of good intentions that pave a certain road to a nether abode in the afterlife.

    The problem begins when in principle those in government have the power to do it. Yes, people can wish you dead or moneyless. What’s scary is when they have the means to do it and then the means to avoid punishment. That’s the STARTING POINT OF ALL POLITICAL VIOLENCE, and of all the EXILES AND REFUGEES.

    Emperors of Rome were routinely assassinated. Successions in other countries could turn into civil wars and maybe were accompanied by a murder or two. Guess why. Did the “losers” have the chance to go home and wait for the next “election”?

  22. torres Says:


    I don’t know of any definition of dictatorship that addresses how a dictatorship would end, only how those in power in a dictatorship use their power. I would agree that they commonly use their power to remain in power, but that does not preclude the use of democratic means as a way out of a dictatorship. The very example you give shows that sometimes dictators understimate the powers of democratic means, and fail to use enough of their own power to contain the social upheaval against them.

    For a long time I have said and repeated, that “force will be needed”, but I’ve always had a democratic use of force in mind, as may result from a policeman making an arrest. I still see that as possible, and recommend that we continue along that route so long as it is an alternative. Why, again, because ending a dictatorship by way of democracy is a message in itself that results in a greater staying power once achieved.

  23. What's Next Venezuela? Says:

    This is what happens with every property the government expropriates. Chávez has devastated Venezuela’s productive capacity. The country currently imports 70% of its consumption and things could get worse… Despite the autocrat didn’t win the supermajority in the National Assembly, he could nullify, once again, election results with gambits such as the Enabling Law and the Communes Law.

    Follow us on:

  24. HalfEmpty Says:

    It may be little comfort to those who are living in Venezuela, but chavismo is an anachronism, a sort of last gasp.

    From your mouth to gawds ear….. but I fear you are wrong.

    Beware that little girl if you are wearing a red shirt, I suspect she has a long memory.

  25. Kolya Says:

    As predictable and unsurprising as they are, these before and after photos manage to inflict an emotional wallop.

    One of the puzzling and dispiriting things is that in the last century we’ve seen the same sort of pictures again and again and again. It was a naive thought, but part of me assumed that with the Internet and a much easier flow of information such destructive practices will become rarer and rarer in the world. Well, perhaps they are indeed becoming rarer. There is no denying that Marxism is on the wane. The world certainly has fewer believing Marxists than thirty years ago. It may be little comfort to those who are living in Venezuela, but chavismo is an anachronism, a sort of last gasp.

  26. Gringo Says:

    A_Antonio: Spain and Chile can serve as both models and as warnings, depending on which time frame one uses. It now seems ironic that refugees from both Spain and Chile found refuge in Venezuela, such as Isabel Allende from Chile, and some [all?] of Alex Boyd’s family. Fifteen years ago, it would not have seemed ironic.

    The 19 Countries Most Likely To Default: Ireland Surges Higher, but Venezuela is #1.

  27. A_Antonio Says:

    Gringo: Yes, that was tried to say. Thanks for clarify.

  28. Gringo Says:

    A bullet or a civil war are not solution to Venezuela, It only make things worse, and are ilegal in Venezuela only to said.We need solutions like Chile or Spain.

    You needed to be more specific, to add times, such as “We need solutions like Chile from 1990 to present, or like Spain from 1980 to present.” Both Chile and Spain have resorted to bullets and armed conflict in the past century. [While what occurred in Chile could have been termed a civil war, the carnage in 1970s Chile was much less compared to Spain in the 1930s. Whatever.]

    The divisions in both Chile and Spain were both deep and long-lasting. The divisions in both countries were deep before armed conflict ensued.

    There are currently divisions in Venezuela. There needs to be a concerted effort to bridge the divide, to insure that the divisions in Venezuela do not reach the depth that they did in Spain and in Chile.

    Regarding how that is to be done, those who know Venezuela better than I would have better suggestions. Kepler’s suggesting getting out to all parts of the country to talk with people is one suggestion that seems one place to start. When one is dealing with someone like Thugo who shouts everyone down, it is difficult to get anything done at the top level to bridge divisions. It needs to be done lower down, like a mole burrowing underground.

  29. firepigette Says:


    “It’s just that ending a dictatorship by way of democracy has so much more staying power… The method is the message.”

    By definition dictatorships do not usually end by way of democracy which is why they are dictatorships..They might play the game but they will always guaranty themselves as winners whether they have the votes or not which is what we are seeing in Venezuela where Chavez steals votes and rigs elections and also takes away money and power from the opposition.

    In the case of Pinochet he was right wing and therefore practically isolated internationally unlike left wing Chavez.

    Getting him out might take voting PLUS something more.With just votes he will declare victory anyway.

  30. Kepler Says:

    I agree with Antonio. The ones writing that stuff have no clue about history.
    It would be a civil war for decades.

  31. A_Antonio Says:

    I aggree with deananash Says


    Please erase ASAP some comments here.

    A bullet or a civil war are not solution to Venezuela, It only make things worse, and are ilegal in Venezuela only to said.

    We need solutions like Chile or Spain.

    And I suspect some of commentators are Chaviztas seeking to put in problem the blogger. Is this post to much for their eyes?.

  32. torres Says:

    jau, It’s just that ending a dictatorship by way of democracy has so much more staying power… The method is the message.

  33. Alex Dalmady Says:

    The fact that this is Diego Arria’s hacienda and those of us old enough to remember have a idea of where his fortune originated, adds to the hopelessness of the situation.
    Will the next owners of the country also be destroying/occupying the assets of any boliburgueses who attempt to invest their spoils productively?
    When does it end?

  34. James Says:

    The only real solution is a bullet to Chavez head.

  35. m_astera Says:

    Hey, no worries. 70% of the food is imported already, no? Why not 100%? No one will go hungry. Venezuela doesn’t need to feed itself, it has oil and minerals to sell.

  36. Deanna Says:

    Chavez has declared war on Venezuela and its people, and this is just small part of the desolation left an embattled land. But one day, he will meet a fate similar to that of Mussolini.

  37. island canuck Says:

    The photos are so incredibly stunning that words are not necessary.

    Unfortunately the hard core will simply say that Arria was a corrupt leftover from the 4th & the pueblo simply recovered what had been taken. It’s not important that it’s now destroyed.

    The goal is to destroy the middle & upper classes not preserve stuff.

  38. […] Imagens da Hacienda Las Carolinas antes e depois da expropriação ordenada por Hugo Chavez. Mais no The Devil’s Excrement. […]

  39. HalfEmpty Says:

    I’ll bet 90% of the cows were butchered within a week. Just another productive asset liquidated to pay the revolutions current expenses.

  40. jau Says:

    Im sorry in advance for what im going to write, but:

    1. Why is Chavez life more important that the life of a veneuelan’s shanty town resident (he came from a poor family from Barinas or not?). Due to Chavez politics hundreds of venezuelans lose their life’s every month. Why is their lifes not as important as the life of the PRESIDENTE!? I mean, muerto el perro muerta la rabia. Right? or am I an extremist right winger because I wish that Chavez lives a nasty demise while at the same time, in public TV, he wishes a nasty death for me????? Who is more antidemocraric? me or Chavez??

    2. Who said that the SOLUTION to the current Venezuelan problems HAD TO BE democratic? I really do not know what kind of drugs you guys are smoking but the ending of a dictatorship is NEVER democratic… Miguel, I am sure that you are avoiding my comments due to fear of going behind bars, and I understand you… WHO IS WILLING TO GO TO JAIL FOR A COUNTRY FULL OF MORONS????

  41. deananash Says:

    “A picture is truly worth a thousand words.” When one steals a man’s work (production), it is morally equivalent to ‘killing’ him – at least in terms of the amount of time it took him to produce whatever was stolen.

    e.g. If I work for 100 days to save money and buy a motorcycle, and then someone steals that motorcycle, it’s not just “monetary” value that I’ve lost – I’ve lost the 100 days that I spent to produce it.

    Every theft by this government is the moral equivalent to murdering its citizens. Only in this case, it’s death by a thousand cuts.

    And EVERYONE is going to pay.

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