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Bolivia and its “revolutionary” changes in agrarian policies

Bolivia and its “revolutionary” changes in agrarian policies

By Alfredo Seguel

The government plan considers the redistribution of land in favor of peasants and indigenous people, thus ending the latifundio. At the same time, it aims to transform the structure of land tenure, to achieve agricultural expansion and development and change the energy matrix of agroindustrial production, which has not been without its difficulties.


Perhaps a vision of revolution is linked to profound changes in various aspects within a Country or region: forms and conceptions of life, principles-values ​​for the common good, solidarity, changes in decision-making and forms of distribution aimed at balances and equity, an end to social, political and cultural inequalities and discrimination, respect for diversity, installation of sovereignty and popular autonomy, full respect for the exercise of individual and collective rights of peoples and nations and the strengthening of these in its development, finally, a series of integral collective elements that were practically not evident in this part of the region of the Americas.

However, in recent times a series of signs with profound changes have begun to become noticeable in Bolivia, since the current government headed by Evo Morales took office, where, for the first time in the “democratic” history of the states, a leader belonging to an Indigenous People, the Aymará, a people that coexists in Bolivia as well as in other borders of the continent, is invested with the first magistracy with a majority and overwhelming popular support.

In itself, this fact is already revolutionary for the republican and oligarchic histories of this region, being an example for the whole world. But what has attracted the most attention, have been the attempts to implement profound changes of state, starting by generating a new and different constituent process, for many revolutionary. From this idea, as a matrix of policies and legislation, a series of sectoral measures has begun to emerge. For example, in June 2006 the government presented the National Development Plan, currently in execution, which includes the component of Agrarian Structural Transformation (TEA) as the action aimed at overcoming, permanently and sustainably, the poverty problems of the native and indigenous populations. The plan considers that by transforming the structure of land tenure, it will be possible to achieve agricultural expansion and development, favor the development of technological innovations and knowledge, increase irrigation coverage, expand access to financing, and boost product markets. and insertion in new markets and change the energy matrix of agroindustrial production, according to data provided by the government through the National Institute of Agrarian Reform (INRA).

Within this new impulse, reforms are made to Agrarian Law 1,715 (by Law 3545 of November 28, 2006) for the community renewal, with the purpose of benefiting indigenous, native-landless peasant communities and producers and / or or entrepreneurs who work the land, who according to this new Law "produce and fulfill the social economic function (FES)".

One of the measures carried out in the first instance within these plans has been the delivery of public land titles for more than 2 million hectares to indigenous and peasant communities in areas that present serious social problems. Likewise, there is the idea of ​​land redistribution, with expropriations of unproductive lands used for commercial speculation, and the delivery of agricultural machinery that has been progressively being made, as part of two fundamental components promoted by the Morales administration. But this process also includes the search for markets for the products generated in rural areas and the promotion of ecological and organic production, as the government stated to the media when it gave land to the families of the Pueblos Unidos peasant community. from the department of Santa Cruz, located in eastern Bolivia almost at the end of last year

Along with the redistribution of land, even putting a ceiling on their tenure, no more than 50,000 hectares, it has also caused localities in the participatory framework that exist on their criteria, to be asked to reduce their possession by 500% as occurs in Sucre, where they intend to limit it to a maximum of 10,000 hectares, proposed by the executive itself, the unity pact and the earth foundation, stated the president of the commission renewable natural resources, land, territory in the environment, Carlos Romero, who anticipated that these will be topics of arduous debate.

For the national director of the National Institute of Agrarian Reform, Juan Carlos Rojas, the distribution and redistribution of land is intended to energize sparsely populated regions by using the land resource as a social and productive asset, as well as a distribution and redistribution factor of wealth. . Rojas points out that under these conditions, land and territory (which includes natural resources) become factors of agrarian development, based on a Comprehensive Development Model capable of generating economic income for families and sustainably managing resources natural… “The community distribution and redistribution of land is aimed at achieving equity in the access and economic and social use of land, whose main actors or beneficiaries will be indigenous people and peasants without land or with insufficient land, with broad and effective participation of the rural social organizations ”, he pointed out. He adds that one of the objectives of the policy is to provide legal security in land tenure to all sectors and it will be implemented based on a reorientation of the sanitation process to make it more agile, transparent and at lower cost. "For this, Law 1715 has been modified, by means of the Community Redirection Law of the INRA Law, supreme decrees have been issued and the regulations of the Law are being prepared," he said.

Development Plan and Food Sovereignty

The National Development Plan establishes: "Food sovereignty based on peasant agriculture, which guarantees the fundamental human right that is access to adequate food and that dignifies the work of peasant family agriculture."


An important social reference in Bolivia is the Bartolina Sisa National Federation of Peasant Women, which, by law, is even part of the National Agrarian Commission (CAN), a body with full influence on the agrarian process. “Bartolina Sisa”, as part of its mission, is to recover territorial and food sovereignty and the dignity of peasant, indigenous and native women of Bolivia, and to achieve an equitable participation of women in all spaces. When the secretary of the political instrument of this Federation, Bertha Blanco, of Quechua origin and member of the organization "Pachamama", was consulted in the city of La Paz about her vision of the "agrarian revolution" and its relationship with food sovereignty, she He pointed out to us: “We had territories, including lands and natural resources. The Pachamama (mother earth) has been generous in sharing its fruits and allowing people to work in it while cultivating. But they have taken away our rights, due to invasions, colonialisms, injustices. It was no longer the land for those who worked it, but for those who commercialized it. But now we are recovering what corresponds to us and there is a great advance for women and of course families…. All indigenous peoples are producers and if we see the same, this is organic and agro-ecological ... Many current diseases have come from poor diet. Packed, canned, etc., damaging the person and the natural environment. But why? If the soil in Bolivia produces products of high nutritional value, in proteins and minerals. We are rich in it and poverty and poor nutrition are not justified, we can even contribute to feeding the world healthy and nutritiously ”...

For Bertha Blanco, the support, the subsidies, the incentive to recover the diverse, unique and millenary in agricultural production, strengthens families and generates a new and great possibility of life. Allowing the exchange of products between peoples beyond borders, encouraging organic and offering good nutrition to the population, accumulating and having food reserves and surpluses for difficult times, are investments that, according to her, would have great rewards for Bolivia in the future not too far away, with benefits not only for family or public economies, but also for education, health and the environment. For this reason, he points out, "there are great expectations with the agrarian revolution, because having territories for these purposes, with these production criteria, would enable an important sustainable development."

The climatic characteristics of the regions in Bolivia are very different from each other, which gives rise to a diversity and richness in the predominant types of crops. Just as an example, in the Altiplano the crops are potatoes, quinoa, oats, broad beans and barley. In the Valley, the main crop is corn, but wheat, oats and other cereals are also grown, as well as a variety of fruits, vegetables and vegetables. Coca is an important crop in the sub-Andean region of the Llano, where coffee, citrus and semi-tropical fruits are also produced. In the Llanos the typical products are yucca, corn, peanuts, cotton, soybeans, sunflower, sugar cane and tobacco, among others.

For the government of Evo Morales, the agrarian revolution promotes organic agriculture and an ecological Bolivia, in coexistence and harmony with the environment ... Along with this, it aims to guarantee the supply of food from national production. They also point out that local markets, family farming and peasant life would be reborn. Better nutrition for children and improvements in the diet of Bolivians are part of their projections.

Some social sectors, within the framework of the constituent assembly, consider that it is essential to incorporate the right to food in the current Political Constitution and that the constituents must incorporate this fundamental right, together with food sovereignty, in the new Political Constitution. Because there would be no national sovereignty without food sovereignty, just as it would not exist without food security, so that the "agrarian revolution" is irreversible in the country.

The Bolivian Senator for Cochabamba and social leader of Quechua origin, Omar Fernández, tells us “Indigenous, peasant and agrarian communities, we can have our own crops which can guarantee the families' food with a high quality of nutrition. Recover ancestral cultural knowledge for production. Recovering and strengthening the enormous wealth and productive diversity that we have, are and must continue to be priorities in the agrarian revolution. In effect, the possibility of being able to have sufficient territories both in land and in natural resources in the hands of the communities, ensures our self-sufficiency and sovereignty in food ”, continues“ Indigenous Peoples, based on our cultures, our worldview of life , wisdom, our way of life, ancestral management of resources, are the main inspiration of the processes of change, of the transformations and fundamental basis for the generation of new proposals, contrary to what commercial and destructive companies have been offering ”.

The difficulties of the "agrarian revolution"

According to Senator Fernández, the oligarchy in Bolivia, with its political and economic network, with its attacks, interventions and machinations, are elements of obstacle and difficulty, but surmountable. He adds that within the framework of its implementation, there have been such threatening and reckless statements from this sector, even saying in a vacuum such as that "if this starts (agrarian revolution) blood will flow in Bolivia" or acts of sabotage , like that of right-wing senators who, when defining the agrarian law legislation, withdrew from the room. “There were difficulties from this sector, due to its link to the oligarchy and even because it is part of it, since there are several who are large landowners with thousands of hectares (such as the president of the Senate), therefore, they failed to do everything possible so that This Law was not approved. Today they are an obstacle to its implementation, ”says Fernández.

For Juan Carlos Rojas, director of INRA, the main difficulties that this process could go through are resistance actions by landowners, who could hinder changes to Law 3545, particularly those aspects related to the reversion and expropriation of lands with The objective of recovering public lands for distribution, which constitute important threats that may affect the implementation of the sanitation plan and therefore the application of the Law.

Bertha Blanco de la Bartolina Sisa y Pachamama, agrees with what was indicated by the Senator and the director of INRA, but derives the responsibility for its success, mainly from the social, indigenous and peasant movements themselves ... “Despite the difficulties and certain differences that can exist, we have to be well, strong, cohesive, in solidarity with each other. We need peace, to live well, calmly and in harmony. We have to transcend to other places, they no longer killed us, our roots are still alive and growing…. Spirit, identity, family, land, territory, sovereignty, are the bases of our projections. If we achieve this as peoples, as communities, as social organizations and families, we will be ensuring important achievements, an example for the world, with benefits for all ”.

There is still a long way to go for the implementation of these new agrarian policies for peasants and indigenous people, which also reaches the agricultural and livestock sectors. Apparently meanness, hoarding, individualism, discrimination, as human evils, mostly rooted in the political powers of most countries, in Bolivia on the other hand, there are great expectations and hopes of various social sectors for these “evils "Go eradicating yourself. It is still pending for this, the consecration of a new state, the revolutionary, the inclusive, the participatory, the dignified, which distributes its power in decision-making in the social bases, contrary to many other bordering countries, which continue to reproduce tentacles of power and imposition on the social sectors and diversity of excluded peoples, whose only purposes is to make poverty "more dignified", in the midst of state unicentrism and patronage and welfare policies.

* Alfredo Seguel: Editorial member of the electronic newspaper Mapuexpress. Member of the Association of technicians and professionals of Temuco Konapewman, an organization that participates in social and environmental networks and coordination and Mapuche in Chile.


Video: Bolivian Peoples Cinema CH-02 (September 2021).