|I have an interest in long-distance sailing and subscribe to several forums on cruising in foreign waters. One of the forums has new reports of Chavez being angry that the wealthy are depriving the working class of beach front property in Las Aves (an island chain belonging to Venezuela). Here are some excerpts from a recent post by someone who was in the area:|
"I am just back from Las Aves. Things are changing (yet again) in the Venezuela out islands of Los Roques and Las Aves. As you saw in a recent post Chavez is on the path to expropriating yachts to use as ferry boats to move average Venezuelans to and from the Roques for a holiday. He has targeted private property on the islands as well as some of the small upscale hotels. The tourist industry there has already taken a hit last year because of a murder of a pregnant tourist for an iPod and computer. If you go to Los Roques avoid Holidays. Don't stay too long, you are likely to be reported, run off, or fined.
"The military bosses also have expensive sport fishers [expropriated] and come to the Aves for their fun. When they see too many yachts or fishermen populating their "territory", the command structure lights up for the next few months and things start changing.
"Additionally it is uncertain of the time required to get a Cruising Permit from the port captain – is it still in the neighborhood of a month to 6 weeks? It is still possible to do all of the checking in-and-out leg work yourself, but it is quite a time consuming task requiring many many copies of every document in every office.
"Meanwhile, fishermen from Margarita, Tortuga and Los Roques have been coming to Barlovento to fish because the waters where they are from have declined in productivity. So they are fishing out the waters of Barlovento and Sotavento. The Guardia has periodically burned out their camps as well as expropriating their boats and crew to take them to Barlo to run off fishermen and yachts. (The boats are new molded fiberglass boats given to the fishermen along with new motors, by Chavez, which has enabled them to travel longer distances to fish out waters that were previously out of their range). So you can see government practices are sometimes conflicting."
The rule of law appears to be severely diminished in the day-to-day workings of Venezuela. To have something at all desirable is to be at risk. I'd suspect that the rate of deterioration is showing steeper decline and that system collapse will only be held off by foreign infusions.