Bolivia to distribute land to indigenous Indians

December 3rd, 2008 - 4:02 pm ICT by IANS  

La Paz (Bolivia), Dec 3 (IANS) The Bolivian government will buy land for distribution among members of indigenous Indian communities living in virtual serfdom, EFE reported Wednesday.Juan Carlos Rojas, chief of the National Institute for Agrarian Reform, told reporters Tuesday that the measure would benefit the indigenous communities in the eastern and southern provinces of Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca and Tarija.

Bolivia’s indigenous Indian communities live in appalling indigence with little access to education or health care.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights had pointed out in its report in June that the Guarani Indians in Chaco area are living under “a situation of servitude analogous to slavery.”

Rojas said the government’s land distribution plan would also address the indigenous communities’ education and health care problems.

The government’s agrarian reform has encountered violent opposition in Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca and Tarija, where land barons remain opposed to the idea of breaking up individual holdings - some comprising nearly one million acres - to provide plots for landless peasants.

According to figures compiled by the United Nations, Bolivia’s richest 100 rural families hold five times as much acreage as two million poor peasants.

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