Archive for January 22nd, 2011

Using Cranes in Venezuela to Defend Your Property Rights

January 22, 2011

Today we hear about some 20 plots of land (earlier reports said there more) in the Chacao area of Caracas which were invaded last night by organized Chavistas. By now, the squatters have been removed, the Government claims this was done violently, but it respects property right, despite the fact that it was Chavez that told his followers to look for these unused plots of lands.

All of this has reminded me of a curious phenomenon I have been noticing around Caracas for a while: The presence of cranes in unused plots of land. They arrive, they build a tin house, set up the crane and nothing happens after that.

Asking around, what I determined is that in most cases these cranes are bought or leased simply as protection for property rights. You set up the crane and you can claim your plot of land is being used. Simple introduce a project asking for the permits, dig some dirt and have a crane in the plot of land. Your land is being used, it will not be expropriated and if they ask why it is going slow, you can argue lack of funds, the loan has not come though and survive another year under the revolution.

Another quirky distortion under the Chavez revolution, Thanks God that construction activity is so slow, that there are lots of cranes to go around.