The Venezuelan government is looking to seize the homes of Venezuelans living abroad as it seeks to capitalize on the four million people who have left the impoverished country.
Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro ordered a census this month to look at how many homes in Venezuela are empty, according to the Miami Herald.
In the last two decades, the Venezuelan government has seized billions of dollars in land and other assets of private companies, the Herald reported. Dozens of buildings have already been taken over by groups that support the regime.
There are concerns among Venezuelans that there is a government program called “Locate Your House,” where groups backed by the government are identifying vacant properties.
Earlier this decade, many Venezuelans bought properties in South Florida, especially in Doral and Coral Gables’ Cocoplum neighborhood. Between 2012 and 2015, condo buyers from Venezuela represented roughly 25 percent of Latin American real estate sales in Miami, according to Craig Studnicky, principal and owner of ISG. In February, he said that figure was essentially down to 1 percent.
Some of the country’s top officials have purchased condos and high-end real estate in South Florida, including units at the Porsche Design Tower in Sunny Isles Beach, and multi-million dollar houses in Cocoplum. Some of those assets have been seized by the U.S. government as part of a money laundering investigation.
[Miami Herald] — Keith Larsen