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Venezuela: developments in the seizure of Vestey's Group ranch

By Aleksander Boyd

London 01.02.05 | Sources close to the Vestey Group in London have reported developments with respect to the seizure and land invasions in El Charcote, one of its cattle breeding ranches in Venezuela. Readers may remember that on January 8th, El Charcote farm was raided by the Venezuelan government and the army.

As stated, the seizure was conducted on January the 8th. Agroflora, the local branch representing Vestey's Group interests, filled with the Venezuelan Institute of Land (INTI) on January 23rd evidence of a) ownership of the land and b) proof that El Charcote ranch is productive, ergo not idle. Do bear in mind that one of the elements of the criteria applied to land confiscations is the state of idleness of the land to be seized. Sources maintain that such is not the case in El Charcote as demonstrated by evidence. The INTI has 90 days to revise relevant documentation provided in order to reach a decision; as such by April 23rd Agroflora ought to be informed.

Sources wanted to stress upon three important facts, namely:

1) The Vestey Group is in absolute compliance with Venezuelan law. El Charcote, far from being idle, is an exemplary case of a successful cattle-rearing ranch.

2) All beef produced is destined to the local market, hence contributing to the attainment of food self sufficiency espoused by the Venezuelan government.

3) Huge amounts of money have been invested over the years in enhancing productivity by means of cross breeding, artificial insemination and other methods which are undoubtedly beneficial for the whole industry.

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