Today’s El Universal has an excellent article on the current state of Hato El Frío, a large farm and biodiversity research center “expropriated” by the Chávez administration in 2008.
The article’s author, Francisco Olivares, chronicles the farm’s long history. El Frío once belonged to our first President, José Antonio Páez. It was given to him by Simón Bolívar as a spoil of the Independence War.
More recently, El Frío had been a prime cattle ranch, as well as a bio-diversity research center. This was a place where capybara, deer, and the endangered Orinoco cayman were allowed to flourish.
As you can imagine, the farm now lies in disrepair. No money was ever paid to its owners. Production has plummeted, and the bio-diversity research center has practically been dismantled. The money quote:
“Today, one can observe that the breeding facilities and biological stations have been abandoned. The lawyer for the previous owners says that illegal hunting is allowed on the grounds, and that the hunters are high-ranking officials and members of Mr. Chávez’s political party.”
It’s a good read. Sorry, in Spanish only.