"Chief Sabino Romero is in two minds about Hugo Chávez's socialist revolution. As the leader of a small native Indian community in the remote and lawless mountains on Venezuela's north-western border with Colombia, Mr Romero heartily approves of the president's apparently pro-indigenous stance. But he despairs at his powerlessness to claim the rights granted to his people during Mr Chávez's rule.
His 12,000-strong Yukpa tribe complains that it is victim to a range of more powerful interests: not just wealthy cattle ranchers, whom they accuse of stealing their land, but drug traffickers, fugitive Colombians linked to guerrilla and paramilitary forces and multinational mining groups.
But despite Mr Chávez's blustery rhetoric, which has most recently been aimed at oil services groups, his government has done little to improve the lives of the Yukpa, out of wariness, they say, of getting mixed up in the tangled web of interests.
"Government institutions are full of people that resemble the apple: red on the outside but white within," says Mr Romero, who sports a red T-shirt characteristic of government supporters and also a feathered headdress with the word "revolution" woven into its band.
"There are communities here which have been completely forgotten by the government," says Mr Romero, shaking his fist before the green slopes of the Sierra de Perijá separating Venezuela from Colombia."
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Bolivia's Native Indians fear land hopes raised by Chavez may be brought to earth
(The Financial Times 6/10)