Sunday, September 12, 2004

Lisa Viscidi: Land Reform and Conflict in Guatemala: "Guatemala has one of the most skewed land distribution patterns in the world and the second most inequitable in Latin America--roughly 2 percent of the population owns 70 percent of all productive farmland. This has led to fierce and often violent land conflicts between poor campesinos (farmers) and a powerful landed elite that maintains dominance vis-a-vis close ties to the government. Guatemala's inequitable land distribution system is rooted in the Spanish conquest, when land seized from the indigenous populations was granted to colonizers.... The Agrarian Platform proposes to reform the market-based land distribution system to make land accessible to poor farmers. Its members advocate the redistribution of land by expropriating estates taken illegally during the armed conflict and taxing idle land to obligate landowners to create jobs or give the property to landless agricultural workers."

Again, no explicit emention of the land value taxation strategy, which is or should be a crucial plank in dealing with the issue of land monopoly, an issue that is obviously central to the whole history of Latin America (and many other places).

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