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Venezuela Seizes Private Farmland to Raise Cattle

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez said the government seized 16 private farms and ranches it considers unused, and plans to use most of the land to raise cattle for meat and milk production.
Venezuela took over about 330,000 hectares (800,000 acres) in at least four states, and will convert the land into ``social property, which everyone owns,'' Chavez said.

``This is an attack by the state and the people on large land holdings,'' Chavez said today in Barinas state during his weekly television show. ``How can the country develop if we don't put this land to work?''

The land seizures are part of Chavez's plan to install a socialist economic and political model in Venezuela. Last month, the government nationalized the country's biggest private telephone and electricity companies, and plans to take over four heavy-oil fields run by foreign companies by May 1.

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