PBI-Guatemala accompanies CCDA at conference commemorating the 1944 Revolution and the 1952 Agrarian Reform Law

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On October 21, the Peace Brigades International-Guatemala Project posted, “On October 20, Revolution Day, the Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA), together with other organizations, held the National Agrarian Congress.”

PBI-Guatemala further explains in its Facebook post, “This Congress is part of the commemorative activities of the 1944 Revolution, within the framework of which the Agrarian Reform that lasted a decade was enacted.”

And it notes, “The objective of this activity was to contribute to the unity of indigenous and peasant organizations and communities to address agrarian conflict in Guatemala.”

The BBC has provided this background:  In 1944, Juan Jose Arevalo became the president following the overthrow of Jorge Ubico (who had repressively ruled since 1931) and introduced social-democratic reforms, including setting up a social security system and redistributing land to landless peasants.

Decree 900, the Agrarian Reform Law, was passed in June 1952 and by 1954 1.4 million acres of unused land had been redistributed to 100,000 families.

Prior to this, 2 per cent of the population controlled 72 per cent of the arable land and only 12 per cent of that land was under cultivation.

The BBC adds that in 1954 the land reform stopped with the accession to power of Colonel Carlos Castillo in a coup backed by the United States.

There are now an estimated 1,000 land conflicts happening in Guatemala.

These land conflicts are related to concessions given to foreign companies for mining, sugar cane and palm oil farms, and hydroelectric dams, all of which deepen dispossession, exclusion and poverty among the indigenous peoples of Guatemala.

PBI-Guatemala began accompanying CCDA in July 2018.


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