Landless peasants from the western state of Lara announced they were relaunching the “war on latifundio” last week when hundreds of them invaded and occupied a large estate belonging to the local elite.
The estate is known as Hacienda La Horqueta, and belongs to the Tamayo Sigala family, one of the wealthiest families in the state of Lara.
The peasants who organized the occupation are from a local peasant movement, as well as a local communal council that have been demanding for several years that the state institutions expropriate and redistribute the lands.
The peasant groups claim the lands are unproductive, and have made several requests to the National Lands Institute (INTI) to intervene, but have yet to receive a response.
According to the peasants, the delay is due to interference from local Chavista mayor Luis Plaza who is attempting to purchase the lands for himself in order to annex them to his farm that is adjacent to the Hacienda La Horqueta.
Below we have translated the full statement released on Friday from the peasant movement:
The fight for these lands has brought with it the assassination attempt against one of our members three months ago, and the brutal repression of 9 peasants who were imprisoned by the National Guard that was sent by the Chavista mayor of Quibor. PSUV Mayor Luis Plaza is trying to use his position of power to take over this land and expand his agro-industry from the surrounding lands.
In this situation it was the solidarity and popular movements that made then Minister of Agriculture Juan Carlos Loyo intervene to get our members released from prison and to commit to redistributing this land in the weeks that followed. With that goal, a commission travelled to Caracas and was received by INTI officials, and the Vice-Minister of Agriculture, who left the local INTI office of Lara in charge of resolving the problem. However, despite our repeated demands nothing has happened, even though in the lead up to the presidential elections the Vice-Minister promised a solution the week following the April 14th elections.
To this day there has been no response, and we are conscious of the political situation that the country has been experiencing since December 2012. But we are also convinced that the revolution and the government activities cannot become paralyzed and left to the whims of the bureaucracy and those who have infiltrated the revolution. No one can say that our legitimate actions as a popular movement, in this case a peasant movement, are aiding the right wing. To do that is to turn the revolution over to the demands and whims of the fascist counterrevolution that will not cease its attempts to overthrow the government of Nicolas Maduro and defeat the Bolivarian Revolution, no matter how hard the government tries to create a climate of peace and dialogue.
From the grassroots we send a message to the new Minister of Agriculture, Ivan Gil, to intervene and find a solution to this conflict, which is representative of hundreds of other conflicts over land that exist across the country and that have unfortunately been shelved by the bureaucracy and lack of political will among many state officials.
We the poor peasants, who get around on foot, who eat nothing but arepas with beans, when it is available, have been the most consistent and loyal to Comandante Chavez. And it hurts us deeply to see how the bureaucracy, inefficiency, and inaction are killing that seed of hope that Chavez planted. To not act according to his legacy leaves us asking the question, “Why did the fascist candidate get so many votes?” We are convinced that we must do as Chavez said, Review, Rectify, And Relaunch the revolution, and the War on Latifundio, and we must do it here and now, honestly and concretely. We want to call attention to the danger that our families in, as we could be victims of assassinations and repression, and we do not want this to happen. It is for this reason that we call on the government to take action.
MOVIMIENTO CAMPESINO DE BURIA
CONCEJO CAMPESINO "MUJERES Y HOMBRES LIBRES DE LA COMPUERTA