Venezuelan ranchers reiterated concerns Tuesday as the socialist regime launches a campaign to expropriate cattle amid the worst food crisis in the nation’s history.
According to a report from news agency EFE, Maduro’s regime plans to expropriate up to 60 percent of cattle to put meat production in the government’s hands, as they seek to find a solution to the chronic lack of food production across the country.
“What is happening is the effect of what is a simple and vulgar expropriation, that is cattle are being expropriated through the governorates,” the Vice President of Venezuela’s National Farmers Union, Luis Prado, told a local radio station.”There is a kind of misconception that farmers or agricultural producers should give their work but we live off that and we need to have some profitability to reinvest and to live with dignity.”
Prado added that ranchers are willing to negotiate with Maduro, but pleaded with him to let them “work in peace.”
“That way, we can operate with some margin of profitability that allows us to live and reinvest in our production units,” he explained.
The Union’s president Armando Chacín also denounced the move as unconstitutional. On Monday, he told the website Sumarium that just 40 percent of meat consumed in Venezuela is farmed domestically, compared to the figure of 90 percent in the 1990s.
The protests come days after the president of the Commission of Science, Technology, and Innovation of the National Assembly Luis Lippa revealed government plans to expropriate between 30 to 40 of livestock production as reserves, as the socialist regime continues to expropriate many privately-run industries.
The plans form part of dictator Nicolás Maduro’s plans to revitalize the country’s shattered economy under a Cuban-style communist model, having already seized control of industries including oil production, banking, healthcare, and even parts of food production.
Nationalization is likely to worsen the humanitarian crisis the country is currently experiencing, where nearly 20 years of socialist governance has led to mass shortages of everything from food to medicine and thousands of people flee the country every day in search of work and humanitarian assistance.
Mass shortages of meat and animal produce have been one of the driving factors behind the country’s rapidly increasing rates of malnutrition, while hyperinflation and mass poverty has rendered most products unaffordable for the majority of the population. The government has often turned to bizarre and innovative ideas to increase meat production, including the introduction of “rabbit farming” because of its supposedly high levels of protein.
As noted in a report by the BBC last month, many people have turned to consuming rotten meat as an alternative, despite the considerable health risks involved, while others suffering from starvation have turned to extreme methods including the butchering of zoo animals, eating stray dogs, and even cannibalism.