Here’s one that’s slipping under the radar. Recall how the 1999 constitution bans especially large landholdings – "Latifundia"? Well, funny thing. It turns out the recently amended Land Law’s new Article 7 broadens the definition of a Latifundio to include, and I quote, "any land extension that exceeds the average occupation in the region".
Lets puzzle this one through. Say you have a region with eight farms. The smallest is half a hectare, the others are 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, 40 and 50 hectares. The average occupation for the region is 17.3 Hectares. The three largest farms in the region are bigger than that: ergo, they are latifundia.
Of course, once they are expropriated, the average for the region drops. Now you’re left with just five farms, of 0.5, 1, 2, 5 and 10 hectares. The new average extension in the region is 3.7 hectares, meaning the 5 and 10 hectare farms are…you guessed it: Latifundia!
Take ’em over, lather, rinse, repeat.
Follow this through to its logical end and you end up declaring every farm in the region a latifundio except for the very smallest one!
By this logic, if your neighbor’s flower pot is smaller than yours, your flower pot is a "latifundio"!Caracas Chronicles is 100% reader-supported. Support independent Venezuelan journalism by making a donation.