By James Suggett
The Venezuelan National Assembly is set to pass a reform to the controversial Land Law that will further facilitate land redistribution. Since the law was passed in 2001, 2.5 million hectares (6.2 million acres) of idle privately owned land have been confiscated and either turned over to small farmers or used for state farms and research laboratories. The law was one of the causes of a two-day right wing coup against Chavez in 2002, and the law’s opponents have murdered more than 220 peasant organizers.
The reform will limit the ability of private landowners to contract out the cultivation of their lands to third parties. The law says such contracting procures “evasion of just labor relations” and is remnant of “feudal slave exploitation.” Such contracting will also be prohibited on public lands and for state-owned companies except with express permission of INTI (the National Land Institute).
Farmers who have worked as tenants on someone else’s land for three years will be prioritized by INTI for redistribution, particularly if they show they have “a willingness and ability for agricultural production in harmony with the agrarian plans and programs of the national executive.”
The law reform upholds the principle that “the land is for those who work it,” according to Agriculture and Lands Minister Elias Jaua, and includes provisions that increase the state’s ability to take control of “lands whose use is contrary to the National Plan for Agricultural Production.”
Read full post at Venezuala Analysis.