Rev. Moon offers land donation to avoid parcel's expropriation

EFE News Service/November 24, 2005

Asuncion, Nov 23.-- The firm representing the interests of South Korea's Rev. Sun Myung Moon in Paraguay is offering to donate 30,000 hectares (75,000 acres) of land to avoid the expropriation of almost twice that amount of the property he owns in the northern Chaco region.

In September, Congress voted to seize a property encompassing just under 52,700 hectares (130,000 acres) administered by Moon's Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity and located outside the town of Puerto Casado.

The offer to donate the smaller parcel was presented to President Nicanor Duarte and to Congress and also includes the joint exploitation of another 150,000 hectares (375,000 acres) of Paraguayan land owned by Moon, according to a letter signed by association president Jacob Thiessen and printed Wednesday in the daily Abc Color.

In the letter, Thiessen says that the Delaware-sized estate, which totals some 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres), has not been exploited "rationally and conveniently" and that to provide a social solution to the inhabitants of Puerto Casado, Moon is offering to donate the 30,000-hectare zone which includes the town itself located on the Paraguay River on the border with Brazil.

The expropriated parcel forms part of the estate that Moon bought in 2000 from Argentine firm Carlos Casado. That corporation purchased the entire Paraguayan Chaco region totaling more than five million hectares (12.35 million acres, an area the size of Vermont and New Hampshire combined) in the late 19th century.

The dispute over the expropriation divided the 6,000 townspeople of Puerto Casado.

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