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Chavez Orders Swift Takeover of Irish Company Land


Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks during a cabinet meeting at Miraflores Palace in Caracas August 25, 2011.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez speaks during a cabinet meeting at Miraflores Palace in Caracas August 25, 2011.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called on his government to speed up the removal of an Irish company from land it owns in an agricultural state in Venezuela.

Two year ago, Chavez ordered the seizure of 1,500 hectares of land from Smurfit Kappa Group, claiming the company's eucalyptus tree farm was depleting the water supply from local rivers. He said Wednesday that the government must take control of all the seized land quickly.

Venezuela's agriculture minister says the company still uses 12,000 hectares of property between the central plains states of Portuguesa and Lara.

During a broadcast on state television Wednesday, President Chavez did not say if he will seize all of Smurfit Kappa's land holdings in his country.

In the past, Chavez has turned over seized properties to farmers to boost harvest.

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