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In my own opinion from what I have seen the redistribution of land in Latin America all land fall if you will is absolutely inevitable. It's something we'll see in the next 10 years. It's almost required that you have a social evil land holding class. Take away the political power from them and then you can have my land reform. But even in the United States never we like you want what we believe the word government. Thanks everybody. Thank. You for that. Speaking of the peasants we must get the aspirations of these millions of them that want to feel that they own something and
land is something which is valuable. Money isn't so important to them but if they can say this land is mine I'm much happier man. The University of Florida's Radio Center in cooperation with the University School of anti-American studies presents the agrarian revolution the first in a series of documentary reports on the contemporary revolution in Latin America. Now here is your Reporter Otis Boggs Herbert L. Matthews of the New York Times writes No excuses are necessary for making a study of Latin America the importance of the region of the United States is only equalled except for specialist by our ignorance of it. Here is a world at our doorstep says Matthews on which to a considerable degree we
depend for our existence as a world power. If we were deprived of the raw materials of the area or its markets our economy and security would be gravely perhaps vitally affected concludes Matthews. It is an area where no hostile power can be allowed to gain a foothold. For strategically this is our soft underbelly. In the last few years Latin America has dramatically if weepingly captured the attention of the United States citizen by such events as the Nixon trip unrest in the Caribbean the revolutions in Cuba and Venezuela and President Eisenhower's goodwill tour. But it is the case of Cuba which perhaps best illustrates our ignorance as a nation of the fundamental problems which nearly all Latin America faces North Americans were astonished when Fidel Castro and his followers brought about a drastic social revolution. The cornerstone of Castro's revolution is land reform. Before January 1st 1959 when the dictatorship of General Fulgencio
Batista was overthrown. It is doubtful that most of us were aware of the land problem in Cuba. Yet if one major step is necessary to the continued development of Latin America from a feudal society to a community of industrial nations that step is successful agrarian reform and Arjen time. Now a professor of economics at the University of Mississippi puts it this way. It's absolutely necessary that that land reform take place in Latin America to form but specific form depends on the country. But if any development has to take place in Latin America land reform has to take place which does not mean that land reform as such will solve all the economic problems of the country. But it is a precondition for for further development for further illustrate ization because the land system now also determines the social structure of these Latin American countries to the
class society still still exist feudalism still exist and industrialization progress and education all depends on this out dated agricultural system that has to be gotten rid of one way or another. We'll speak at length with Dr. Pedro Tigard in just a few minutes. At the very nub of the Agrarian Reform problem is the feudal institution known as the ASI ENDA the largest state or plantation owned by one family it is work by the peasants. They are born there. They cannot leave. They may be in debt or they don't care to leave their fathers and grandfathers were born there. This is their home. Every other place is foreign as little as 12 years ago it was reported a prominent newspaper in the part of Bolivia carried an advertisement offering for sale and us again located on the main highway a half hour's drive from the Bolivian capital. The Aussie ENDA was described as having five hundred acres of land 50 sheep
much water and 20 pianos. We asked Dr. Raymond Crist research professor of geography here at the University of Florida to fill us in on the historical and geographical background of land tenure in Latin America. We have a great many physical factors and different physical factors but one of the most important is the social systems or political or economic systems of landholding. The Spaniards when they came found Indo or Indian civilizations that had already evolved their land tenure systems and those were based around village holdings. They Spaniards themselves in many cases swept these aside or superimposed on these groups
from the in the higher mountain areas between Mexico and northern Argentina their own minority or feudal systems of great land of the states. These have in the course of time have become a kind of de had have exerted a kind of dead hand influence on the economies of these countries. In many instances Furthermore in relatively recent times there has been a development of the plantation economy plantation market oriented. In other words crops that were sent out. Agricultural crops that had to look to the world market. In both in both cases the systems of the plantation system and the US indices have been super imposed or
pushed aside. The original Indians and their holdings. This has brought about in so many instances cases in which the rights of property have been so far extended that millions of people have been without land without enough to live on and with the result that in the course of time they have demanded what they think is an inalienable right namely the right to land which they can cultivate and get the food they want to eat. The Latin-American views land and land reform from a different perspective and that of his North American neighbor Maurice de Young professor of economics at the University of Arizona describes it for us. Well I think the thing that we have to do is think about land reform as it comes through somewhat differently than we do here in the United States that has land in Latin America. First of all I think a storage value of money. It
has a very concrete level when you think of the revolutions in the passing times and in difficult situations which families are constantly going through in Latin America so this is certainly an important element in the ownership of land in Latin America. It's also a very important status symbol. But this is certainly another element. We have a tendency to think of land just as a factor of production. I think this is probably comes somewhere along about third in the way Latin Americans think about the land. The obvious necessity of putting land into production I think is pretty clear as far as Latin America is concerned how they're going to do this is another quote As another question now will it come about through the some sort of a type of local land tax which will eventually clear up titles and get land into production of course is the question. All weather will come of course so revolutions as we've seen a lot through but some of these emerging middle class governments will simply go about seizing land and
redistributing it sort of on a helpless skeletal basis. But in my own opinion from what I have seen the redistribution of land in Latin America all land fall if you will is absolutely inevitable it's something we'll see in the next 10 years. Land reform is inevitable. It will be widespread in the next 10 years. What about agrarian reform today. Where and how is it being carried out. We talked again with Dr. Pedro Tigard Dr. Tigard. What countries would you name as having a major land reform program. I think Mexico definitely had an agricultural reform and Bolivia has one we don't know yet how as how it is going to work out. And Cuba of course is trying to do the same saying that Mexico that and again we don't know how it is going to work out but the idea seemingly is it's the same to get land to the peasants. But I think that Castro is afraid to actually split up
the efficient largest states. I think he rather wants to keep him and one unit and work them communally like the Mexicans later on worked some of the largest youngness and from off he goes. So we don't know other than that is communism or whether he is just afraid to make the same mistakes which were made in Mexico when the land was split up. I understand the Mexican government made some major errors in carrying out their agrarian reform program following the revolution. Wow Lee. The land was split up into small plots and the peasants actually did not know how to work this land. They didn't have machinery to do so and they didn't have the credit with which to finance the development of their smart plots so efficient units were broken up and worked in efficiently and the food supply. Food production
actually went down in Mexico and it is only now now or some 5 10 years ago that it was allowed again to have larger. Ests do you think land reform is necessary and other Latin American countries. Yes I think land reform probably is the most important thing in Latin America for any one of those countries to to develop in the modern sense they are still have a feudal and gravity and system even the more advanced of the Latin American countries still suffer under this feudal agrarian system even Argentina and Uruguay. No land reform no land reform has been made yet in any one of those countries. The tax system hasn't reached the States yet. And so I definitely believe that that is the main drawback yet for all countries.
Columbia University Professor Frank Dunn and bomb rights. The Aussie ENDA has no built in device that will allow for reform of the system. He points out that in two countries where the ACMD has been repudiated Mexico and Bolivia it was by revolution Dr Tiger do you believe that revolution is necessary to bring about true land reform. Yes the problem it's very difficult because the the ruling class has been the land holding class in Latin America and to and to bring about land reform would mean to bring about a fundamental change social change and the landholding class is not going to give in easily since that would mean they would lose political power if there are a few passed tax laws to tax the agricultural people if they are in the control of the government they're not going to pass laws to tax themselves. So it is almost. Required that you have a social upheaval to dislodge the
landholding class take away the political power from them then then you can have a land reform. But even in a country even Argentina wants all the power up there on the head he did not touch that landfall on Florida's junior senator George Smathers disagrees with Dr Tigard center to Smathers was always had a keen interest in Latin American Affairs recently returned from a South American tour. Our reporter asked the senator whether he agreed with Dr. Tiger's view that revolution is necessary to bring about agrarian reform. I think that yes. Hopeless. But lately the logical conclusion. I don't believe that you have to have a revolution in order to have a plan. I think that any challenge government. To which Let's take Colombia which is where we don't have a revolution approach Jarosz is conducting your sensible and responsible land reform program. We've had land reform in Argentina.
We've landed on the sale and it was accompanied with not a revolution. I believe that people. Could perhaps get it can't I can't can't make a distribution of the land and do it in California. We do it here in the United States we've had a type of plan. Reforming our own government we don't have to have a revolution in order to accomplish it. It's merely a question of whether or not people are smart enough to bring about a distribution Ashok's of a country. And to. Overcome. What is ingrained shopping mission. You people but. I believe you can. Bring these people to the realization that they have to follow a sensible course of doing it or it will result in a revolution. And when the revolution occurred not only did they lose everything at that but they are exterminated as well. But the unfortunate fact about most revolutions is that you get rid of one dictator and one group
of tyrants in order to get another one. Senator Smathers has been an outspoken critic of the Castro regime. He was asked to contrast what the senator believed was a successful land reform program where the program being carried out in Cuba land reform is needed all over Latin America history of Latin America has been the king owned all the land and then one or two of his subjects own all the land went to two of his favorites and that land has never been distributed. Well what needs to be done what was done in Mexico what's not being done in Colombia. What has already been done to be extended ratione. Many of the other countries of Latin America were genuine land reform programme is brought about. By the land is taken away from large landowners who. Are not cultivated by letting it live. And that land is made available to all farmers on the payment of a minimal fee but that land is
given to that small farmer and he owns it now in Cuba. They talk about land reform but they are following a land reform and expropriation land reform. Exactly a candle to the communists which is we take it away from the land owners original land owners but we keep it in there and there are yet to be any land given to any plan to Cuba. Your government today is already the law in Cuba. I don't. Right. Here on the campus of the University of Florida the debate goes on over land reform. Which way evolution or revolution let students from 18 Latin American countries among us. It is not unusual to hear voices raised in argument over Castro's policies in Cuba. We listen in on a bull session with four Latin American students land reform is being carried out as such a rapid pace. Basically as a political step it is a political step
because they feel that first they must break the back of this political power. The landholding class which has controlled Cuba for so long and secondly because they feel that only with such a rapid and radical land reform can they get the backing of the people. He needed popular support and in order to get this popular support he had to alienate the the one side which could supply him with the capital needed for industrialization. Without the American capital the land reform will not be able to be carried out. Especially now this rapid rate because there will be a decrease in production not only insure again but there will be a decrease in production of food for consumption and a queue of already has to import most of us food products. But this decrease of production without sufficient capital to import this food. That in itself
spells failure for land reform in Cuba. Actually as I say the revolutionary government in Cuba has a at least 80 percent of the population backing these projects and the reforms they are going to succeed. But as long as they can feed him. Yeah but I don't think they would have actually very much problem in treating them. Yeah but Alphonso what you're forgetting is that that Castro has been fair and for a long while to really get the stigma of communism which I think right now Castro has been stigmatized as a communist. And once any government in Latin America receives the Stamer of communism that are in itself begins to dawn in my opinion this idea that whenever we get accused by the United States I
think is now back in history. Well the point seems to be whether it's convenient to go into a fast land reform in Latin American countries or go are a low rate of speed. HARLOW We have to wait to see some changes crystallize is there going to be effective as a whole. It will be affected will depend say the government and the people on the education too. That's a that's an important point to education and you can't educate a man in a period of six or seven months. You can't change his whole way of looking at the earth and try and change his psychological relationship between his relationship to the government and his relationship as a free landowner and his relationship to the landlord. That is really one way of learning how to play piano playing. Yeah you have to do it but you have another
radical way you can do it the radical way and I think has proved in Guatemala very very effectively. And so the debate continues well into the night evolution or revolution. We've invited Dr. Jose But Carol professor of economics at Catholic University of Quito Ecuador to outline what he feels to be an intelligent and a workable program for Latin America in my opinion. Well the time is right to take action regarding it well and we'll find agrarian reform in Latin America. Nan must be read distributed not only because people need to find a place of their own but also because the development of production requires a land distribution to avoid both. Which leaves large plots of land cultivated as well as also on
advisable for the reduction of land to units too small economically unsound in agrarian reform must be well planed to cover irrigation better agricultural methods diversified production etc. and well-financed in order to compensate the legitimate prize of expropriation not confiscation without scaring away either national or international investments. And to give the new owners a good start to make their enterprises a success is it good the Grunion reform cannot be made without the whole hog the approval of the great majorities and without good faith and technical know how. The University of Florida has long recognized its opportunities and responsibilities to cultivate enter American understanding through education. This continuing interest in Latin America culminated in the establishment of the school of and American studies
in September 1950 to conclude our program. We have invited three members of the Graduate faculty of that school to summarize what we have heard so far and if they will to try to come to some definite conclusions about the land reform movement. The panelists are Dr. Robert W. Bradbury professor of economics Dr. Raymond Christe research professor of geography whom we heard earlier in the program and Dr. asked Muller a professor in the College of Agriculture. Dr. Bradbury would you began the summary the agrarian reform in Latin America. I started out really in Mexico. They've revolution in Mexico it was a violent revolution. It started in 1910 with the overthrow of the government of them for fear of the US. The popular support of the revolution came from the peasants that wanted land land reform then was
the thing that the politicians were able to promise in order to gain popular support. The land reforms immediately were rather of a violent nature. A matter of breaking up the large estates into small community holdings that didn't work in the case of Mexico. The small states were not economical farms. And gradually Mexico has modified their agrarian reform. And have gotten back into larger productive units for the market economy. Now Puerto Rico you had another evolution. The Puerto Ricans 15 years ago or so were very much bend on breaking up the sugar estates and turning the land over to in small plots to the small farmers. But in the course of
time they realized that the sugar estates sugar plantations are an exceptionally viable and economical institution and that you make more money if you grow sugar on a given piece of land then you do any other crop with the result that what they have how they have watered their revolution down as it were although they started out with bread land and liberty just as the Mexicans had their cry. What you now have is a continuation of the plantation system and the production of sugar. But an intensification of land use in other areas not producing sugar and an intensification of the industrialization process and the fact that those who are a surplus population as it were can be skimmed off can be can find a place to go and
that place is the United States labor market. We already have over have well over half a million Puerto Ricans in New York City at the present time. Len reform is needed in Latin America because today we need more agricultural production and the system of land use in Latin America in the past will not satisfy the need of today because the AC ENDA system live. You might say for itself it produced what was needed on that largest state for the people who live there but it did not produce food to be used in the cities which are developing at such a fast rate. And you cannot have large populations in cities unless you have large amounts of food to feed them.
There is one thing that is hopeful in Latin America and that is that under our point four we have been giving technical assistance to try to develop a more modern market oriented agriculture. This is a very important because we know that since 1945 in other words in the last 15 years in a good many countries the population has grown more rapidly than agricultural production in other words their cost reduction per capita is less today than it was in 1945 and yet if we can train these the Latin Americans in better methods of agriculture evolution may bring about a reform rather than revolution. One of the important things I can't help thinking in this connection that one of the important. Activities that should be carried out all over Latin America is a land surveyor. There should be a land survey instituted so
that people of the country itself knew how much land how much national land it had so that people good. Figure out how much land large landlords have. I might say that in many countries this survey has been opposed because the landlords who themselves have been the government to a large extent are not interested in having it known how much land they have so that they can keep out hundreds of thousands of acres out of production or or used very very extensively while while many people are unable to get land on which to grow this food that is needed. With cities expanding as you've said from over expanding the way they are you have to have food production to take care of that population. I think that's a point very well taken. What I should go on to say is that under the largest state system
the owners of the land do not need to cultivate very much of their lodge property. Some have said only a third of each as the end is being planted and harvested well under the demand for increased agricultural products. A great deal more of this land which is unused in Latin America and which is good for agriculture should be used but it is very difficult to convince a man who is making a good living on his property by call of ending just a small part of it that he should diversify his crops and plant things for sale to Philly markets of the cities which are growing. He's well satisfied as he is. There is a need for reform. I think one of the reforms that is taking place for taking place very very slowly is an imposition of land
taxes. Historically the land in Latin America has been taxed at a very very low rate and this has made it possible to do as you say of producing only on one third or one quarter of your land holdings. The imposition of heavier land taxes would force more of this idle land into productive use. Precisely. But if those who own the life and are the ones in the government they are not going to get too energetic about imposing taxes on their own property. That's that's one of the difficulties. Yes it is and that is of course one of the hopeful signs of the emergence of a middle class. Because when the middle class gets political power it is apt to bring about this reform. In a peaceful manner through taxation rather than the violent overthrow of the whole system by the lower class the peasants
demanding they break up the largest Yes and who have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Speaking of the peasants we mustn't forget the aspirations of these millions of them that want to feel that they own something and land is something which is valuable. Money isn't so important to them but if they can say this land is mine they are a much happier man. Very few places in the world is human dignity so highly prized and in Latin America they man who owns something whether it's a donkey or a piece of land or a little house is secure in a feeling of dignity and it makes much more of a man out of him. Yes it is very definitely a status symbol in Latin America. Thank you gentleman. For the past one half hour we have been reporting on agrarian reform a vital part of the contemporary revolution in Latin America.
This is Otis Boggs reporting for Radio Center. This has been the agrarian revolution the first in a series of documentary reports on the contemporary revolution in Latin America. Produced in cooperation with the University of Florida school of enter American study. This program was produced and edited by Will Lois for Radio Center the school of journalism and communications. The University of Florida in Gainesville.
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Contemporary revolution in Latin America
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Pilot - Agrarian Revolution
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Chicago: “Contemporary revolution in Latin America; Pilot - Agrarian Revolution,” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 29, 2024, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-fj29dv5f.
MLA: “Contemporary revolution in Latin America; Pilot - Agrarian Revolution.” University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 29, 2024. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-fj29dv5f>.
APA: Contemporary revolution in Latin America; Pilot - Agrarian Revolution. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-fj29dv5f