Venezuela’s socialist president Hugo Chavez last month nationalized a total of 300,000 hectares (731,000 acres) of farm and ranchland and 120,000 head of cattle belonging to a local affiliate of British tycoon Lord Vestey. The Vestey group has been in Venezuela since 1909.
In the past five years, Chavez has taken over millions of hectares from private owners as part of his agrarian reform plans. Chavez says he’s determined to further advance his “socialist revolution” and announced plans for a new offensive against what he calls absentee landowners and their “huge estates.”
While it’s likely Vestey will be compensated, other nationalized companies have sought arbitration over the low-ball compensation offered by the Venezuelan government.