Venezuela seizes Irish cardboard maker's lands

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Thursday that his government has seized land owned by an Irish cardboard maker as part of a sweeping agrarian reform initiative. The government took control of 3,700 acres owned by the Dublin-based Smurfit Kappa Group because they were being used to grow eucalyptus, a cardboard component, rather than food in violation of Venezuelan law, Chavez said during a televised speech. Chavez said the land in Venezuela's central Lara state would be used to plant corn and beans, but Public Works Minister Diosdado Cabello told state media that lands would be turned over to communities and government-funded neighborhood groups known as communal councils.