INTI president urges debate on State and private property rights over natural reserves  
(Note: Hmm ... could this apply to lands owned and exploited by the Nature Conservancy and other global NGOs? Let's HOPE so!)
January 24, 2005 
By Patrick J. O'Donoghue
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Venezuelan National Institute of Lands (INTI) president, Eliezer Otaiza says ecological reserves will be studied and there is no guarantee that such reserves will be allowed to continue as private ventures.  
In an interview in El Universal, Otaiza confirms that the idea of farm interventions is to draw up a national register and decisions will be made, depending on the type of information collected.  
"If we come across idle lands, we will start a process ... if lands are public, they will be recovered and if private, we will calculate the amount of the fine to be paid -- and could even expropriate by paying compensation."  
Returning to the topic of natural reserves, Otaiza says they must be conserved, but there are elements that must be reviewed as regards titles ... "we have seen natural reserves being used for commercial ends and even scientific ends, from which the country hasn't perceived any benefits ... we are assessing this ... we are aware of the presence of scientists that have not left any elements that could contribute something to Venezuela ... they take all the knowledge with them, which is used later on to exploit our resources."  
However, Otaiza adds that the Environment & Natural Resources (MARNR) Ministry is in charge of producing formulas to administer such reserves.  
Otaiza states that many natural reserve private property owners have received credits and damaged the land cutting down trees and selling timber for profit ... "we believe that there are elements of public origin that must be considered in such cases and there must be a debate on the matter." 
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