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Friday, September 8, 2006

Takings in Venezuela

Ben's link to Ilya Somin's post on Volokh reminded me that last Sunday's New York Times carried an article describing the proposed seizure of two posh private golf clubs in Caracas for conversion into housing for the poor.  The article also describes the seizure of apartment complexes and other buildings from their private owners to provide accommodations for the poor and lower-middle classes of Caracas.  "Just and opportune" compensation is afforded, says a government official.  Were this to occur in the US, there is no doubt that such seizures, accompanied by just compensation, would be for a public use.  The interesting twist is to note the effect on Caracas's housing market: "Landlords have flooded the market with aprtments for sale, fearful of the measures, some in effect and others under consideration, that would allow more expropriations and bolster the rights of tenants and squatters.  Rentals are so scarce that rents have skyrocketed to as much as $7,000 a month for a three- or four-bedroom apartment near the two golf courses." 

Calvin Massey

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