Vargas State Governor, Jorge Luis García Carneiro, announced last week that part of the Caraballeda Yacht & Golf Club would be expropriated (52,685 square meters, affecting hole three of its golf course), to build the first “educational city” in the country.

It came as a shock; as club board chairman, Manuel Matos, told César Miguel Rondón that the Vargas government “didn’t contact us in a serious, definitive manner” and this unilateral action is due to “the electoral climate, or to hide more important news”.

The Venezuelan Golf Federation (FVG) got involved right away by meeting the Vargas state solicitor for further information (the South American Golf Federation offered its solidarity too) and Venezuela’s most important pro-golfer, Jhonattan Vegas, expressed his indignation:

Vegas made history in 2011 by becoming the first Venezuelan to win a PGA Tour event, getting congratulations from the late comandante eterno himself. Chávez also said at the time: “I’m not an enemy of golf!”

And there’s a reason for that:

Two years earlier, during his weekly “Aló, Presidente”, Chávez strongly criticized golf with then Aragua State Governor Rafael Isea. The comandante complained about how the Hotel Maracay course could be used for other things: “Golf is a bourgeois sport… Can someone tell me if that’s a popular sport? It is not!”.

In 2006, however, there was an attempt to seize two golf courses in Caracas by then alcalde mayor Juan Barreto, “to build houses for the poor” and the central government disagreed with Barreto’s plan, forcing him to back down.

Golf seems to be an easy target for chavismo, who considers it as a sport for the rich despite its recent grow in popularity (including a return to the Olympics in Rio 2016). And although García Carneiro went a bit soft during a recent press conference, looks like the expropriation of Caraballeda Yacht & Golf Club could be larger than expected.

You know, because there aren’t more pressing concerns in today’s Venezuela.

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  1. North Korea’s Kim Jong-il in 1994, shot a 38-under par round that included 11 holes in one. On his first effort. Thereafter, he decided to give it up since it was too easy.

    I’ll wager that Maduro shoots a 39 under par. 12 holes in one.

  2. Pure populist demagogy..Vargas schools are in shambles in need of repair. Caraballeda badly needs international tourist attractions (but, not under this Govt.). Hotel Maracay/golf course was just refurbished under Marriott management. Previous golf course expropriations were threatened against Caracas/Valle Arriba/Lagunita/Junko Country Clubs, but were pushed back by numerous high-ranking/wealthy Chavista residents there.

  3. Charly Church, though anyone with an ounce of knowledge knows this to be true, few know this is the business model for “building” anything in Ven. Interesting article would be to try and do a forensic accounting on the mega projects Chavismo announced, and to graphically show what came of them all.


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