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Venezuelan Government Seizes Land for Farming Cooperatives

The Venezuelan government has seized about 330,000 hectares of land it considers idle from 16 estates for use as collective farms.

President Hugo Chavez announced the seizures Sunday on his weekly Hello, President television show.

He said the land will be mostly used to raise cattle for meat and milk production.

He did not elaborate on how the collectivization of the property would work, but said the land belongs to everyone and will benefit everyone.

Mr. Chavez said the move is part of a program to do away with large private estates.

Mr. Chavez began nationalizing privately-owned industries when he began his second term of office this year in an attempt to turn Venezuela into a socialist state.

In February, he ordered the nationalization of oil projects run by foreign companies. He had already taken control of a foreign-run telecommunications company and an electric power company.