Venezuela Aims to Bring Dignity to Farmers

Venezuela Aims to Bring Dignity to FarmersCaracas, Dec 24. -The Venezuelan government completed its seizure of 47 large landholdings comprising about 24,000 hectares, and is now focusing on the agricultural development of that area, south of Maracaibo Lake.

Nearly 20 small farmers responded to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez' call to implement an integral development strategy in the countryside.

The armed forces and representatives of the government and the National Bolivarian Militia on Friday began seizing the 47 landholdings, owned by a small number of very rich landlords.

The extensive parcels of land are in the states of Zulia and Merida, which are part of the Maracaibo Lake sub-region.

The nationalization was implemented as part of the Reconstruction Plan the government is carrying out to help more than 130,000 victims of recent torrential rains in the country's north.

The measure should have been implemented earlier, but was delayed because organized crime groups killed some 200 rural leaders and threatened hundreds more.

Civilian and military officials have also received death threats, President Chavez said. (Prensa Latina)