Friday, August 01, 2008

Land and Power in Bolivia

There's been a bit of a commenter's counter-rebellion over the facts of land inequality and existence of latifundios in the Media Luna. Not surprising, as any observer of Bolivia will quickly realize that land is thoroughly at the center of politics and power. Apologists for Bolivia's light-skinned elite will always dispute the existence of the vast tracts and peons just behind their coat tails. So here is some easily accessible, to the point reading on the matter:

"The Agrarian Reform That Wasn’t", Leila Lu
"
Land as a Center of Power in Bolivia", Ben Dangl
"Bolivia's Agrarian Reform Initiative", AIN
"The Rise of Food Fascism", Roger Burbach

3 comments:

democraticvoice.net said...

Interesting how Bolivia's Agrarian Reform Initiative says

"On May 2 of this year in the lowland city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s first indigenous president, Evo Morales, announced his government’s plans for agrarian reform to benefit thousands of indigenous people.[ii] Morales presented land titles for 3 million hectares to 60 indigenous communities and groups and promised that Bolivia’s 2.5 million rural poor would receive title to 20 million additional hectares over the next 5 years."

Yet you talk about "how 0.2 percent of land holders control 50 percent of Bolivia's arable land" by citing figures that show only 22 million hectares total?

Lethal combination: bad information and a tendency to foment class warfare instead of solving problems.

If you are interested in land reform, why not create a bank of unused land, provide title to the land on the condition that peasants farm the land for say 5 years atleast. But give those peasants a large enough farm plot (at least 35-40 hectares), send them to an agricultural school, and access to equipment (with gasoline). This way if they feel its profitable the peasants will leave the large farms that they are being "exploited" on. These inefficient large farms will die out on their own. The ones that are truely competitive will continue. Worked in other countries. You will be left with profitable farms, which is what everyone wants - to make a good life for themselves. Many farmers, whether you want to believe it or not - got where they are because they worked at it and know a thing or two about farming.

El Duderino said...

dv,
Please read the other articles in addition.

Bina said...

"Lethal combination: bad information and a tendency to foment class warfare instead of solving problems."

Yeah? And exactly what are you doing here with your own brand of bad information and fomenting class warfare? That argument works both ways, bud. And when it comes to bad information and fomenting class warfare, no one does it better than the rich, declaring war on the poor. Remember, those people who work the dirt are expendable. There's always more where they came from. But land, ah, now THAT's valuable. And there's only so much of it that is arable to go 'round.

Do the math, bud, do the math. And read ALL the stuff, you might learn something.