Catherine Le Grand Discusses the ‘Agrarian Question’ (S)
Catherine Legrand, expert in Colombia’s countryside and author of “Colonización y protesta campesina en Colombia (1850-1950)”, discusses with Carlos Alberto Mejía Walker from Pacifista! the new agreement’s proposed solutions to the myriad problems affecting rural Colombia.
I think it is a step forward, because it focuses on the problems faced by small farmers and states that they can be economic, social and political actors. The government has to examine the [ownership claims] and if they issue clear titles for these properties they could access credits, remain in their lands and not be dispossessed. It is not a major agrarian reform as that expected during the sixties, that would subdivide the great properties or anything like that. The current agreement is something progressive, and slowly the farmers will have their properties and improvements recognized, will obtain written titles, and that will help them get credits, infrastructure and government assistance. It will also recognize the peasant reserve areas, which already exist in the law and are a way in which communities of mestizo peasants can come together, help each other and make decisions about what they want to do. All this is a step, but it is not very radical, it is not a momentous change in the agrarian structure of Colombia, but it is nonetheless important because it recognizes that the peasants contribute to economic development and do have rights.