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«by Kirsten Francescone A thesis submitted to the Faculty o f Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the ...»

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According to the report, the ways in which Bolivia could succeed econom ically were through the development o f national crediting schemes, the facilitation o f em ploym ent o f foreign investment, and adopting a comparative advantage model for agricultural

development.3 According to a series o f investigations assembled by CEDLA:

los postulados del plan Bohan han sido la giiia basica para las politicas de desarrollo rural...esas politicas eran claramente opuestos a un desarrollo rural que privilegiara al campesinado. A1 contrario, unicam ente se le asignaba un importante rol como consumidor y proveedor de fuerza de trabajo a bajo costo, ante el supuesto de que el campesinado - y toda la influencia historica-cultural y nacional indigena- no tenia capacidad creadora y productiva3 9 In the years following the M NR revolution, the m ajor postulations and propositions for agriculture were implemented. This report is extremely important for understanding the emergence o f the M NR Agrarian Reform that occurred in 1953, the developm ent o f agro­ industry in Santa Cruz, the strategic positioning o f the U nited States empire, and the expansion and the regional shifting o f the oligarchic economic and political power.

1.2 The Agrarian Reform and the ‘Rolling-Out’ of capitalism With the revolution o f 1952, armed campesino militias from the Altiplano and valley regions o f the country began instigating the agrarian revolution, expropriating landholders and occupying their estates with the objective o f constructing- “ la gran propiedad social.”'1 In order to legitimate the armed uprisings, and to consolidate the support from the campesino bases, the M NR government under Victor Paz Estenssoro 38 Ibid, 15.

39 M iguel Urioste, Seguncla R eform a A graria: C am pesinos, T ie rra y Educacion P o p u la r (La Paz: Talleres CEDLA, 1987), 74.

40 Amado Canelas, M ito y R ealidad de la Reform a A g ra ria (La Paz : Los Amigos del Libro, 1966).

developed and produced the Agrarian Reform in 1953.4142 The Agrarian Reform43 becam e the third major political move o f the M NR revolution o f ‘52, which also included the nationalization of the mining industry and the universal vote. These uprisings, according to political theorist Luis Tapia, became an important historical-political movem ent, which would foreground the re-emergence o f national-popular imaginary and ensuing resurgent politics during the political uprisings o f the 1990’s and 2000’s.

Following the revolution o f ’52, there was an insurgence o f campesino politics that were heavily influenced by organized syndicalism, and supported both from below (organizing campesino organizations) and from “above” (MNR). Varios dirigentes (often appointed directly by the MNR) went into the rural areas to organize campesinos following the revolution, and consolidated the hegem ony o f M NR with a corporate relationship between the dirigencia o f campesinos and the MNR. The campesino m ilitias became used 41 Interestingly enough, the M NR was able to discu ss and im plem ent the Agrarian R eform in Bolivia without any foreign intervention from the U nited States. In the early 50s and with the increasingly emerging cold war insecurities and the U S attempts to maintain geopolitical pressure in light o f the “red scare”, Latin Am erica becam e a key political pawn. In Guatemala, the U S backed a coup in 1954 reacted to the redistributive Agrarian Reform p olicies that were em erging from the government. In B o liv ia ’s case, i f we look at both the em ergence o f the Agrarian Reform in the context o f the drawing, and eventual implementation o f the Bohan Report it seem s m ore likely that they US did not in fact have to intervene at that moment militarily because they had already intervened politically and econom ically.

42 Two agrarian reforms were actually produced and voted on. Even though it is often claim ed that this document was unanimously approved, the assem bly actually tied on the vote, with V ictor Paz m aking the final decision. Alejandro Almaraz took part in the developm ent o f the other version o f the Agrarian Reform and based in the socialist tendencies in h is works, I assum e that the reason that this version w as not selected by Paz, possibly because the MNR had a less-than-socialist projection for agricultural production in Bolivia.

43 Two agrarian reforms were actually produced and voted on. Even though it is often claim ed that this document was unanimously approved, the assem bly actually tied on the vote, with V ictor Paz m aking the final decision. Alejandro Almaraz took part in the developm ent o f the other version o f the Agrarian Reform and based in the socialist tendencies in his works, I assum e that the reason that this version w as not selected by Paz, possibly because the M N R had a less-than-socialist projection for agricultural production in Bolivia.

as a “fuerza de choque contra un movimiento obrero crecientemente radicalizado”44 and the augmenting corruption and officialism lead to the repressive “pacto militarycampesino” during the Barrientos government.

The Pacto military-campesino was eventually dismantled and overthrown by organized popular-based indigenous and campesino organizations as a reaction to the augmenting violence and destruction from the governm ent’s policies and alliances.45 The Confederacion Sindical Unica de Trabajadores de Bolivia (CSUTCB) was created in 1979 in the Congreso de Unidad Campesina, organized by the Central Obrero Boliviano (COB), its formation marked the important recognition and rejection o f clientalism, and solidified the beginnings o f indigenous-campesino and w orker alliances, with the CSUTCB obligating the recognition o f indigenous participation and dem ands by the COB.46 This is important to bear in mind for the later sections of the thesis when we return to questions of clientalism and the role o f the CSUTCB in supporting the MAS government.





The Agrarian Reform set out six principal areas o f action to pursue in order to liberate the majority of Bolivians previously oppressed by the feudal organization o f land that had prohibited their ability to develop as a nation for hundreds o f years. The Agrarian Reform had three central objectives: 1. That the land m ust have a social function, 2.

The land 44 Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, “Luchas Campesinas contemporaneas en Bolivia: El M ovim iento “Katarista” :

1970-1980, In: B olivia Hoy, ed: Rene Zavaleta Mercado (M exico: Siglo Veintiuno, 1983), 131.

45 Esteban Ticona Alejo, “Organizacion, liderazgo y representacion Aymara en la C onfederacion Sindical

U nica de Trabajadores Campesinos de B olivia - (C SU T C B ),” C on vo ca to ria FLASCO 9 3 -9 5 (Quito:

FLASCO, 1995).

46 Rivera, “Luchas Campesinas Contemporaneas. ” should belong to those who work it, and 3. The recognition and encouragement o f private property ownership.47 Although collective property ownership was not made illegal, indigenous communities were encouraged to “de-indigenize” and forfeit communal property for individual land titles, which enabled them the benefits o f property ownership.

The Agrarian Reform was essential to eradicating the previously tributary organization o f land in the Altiplano and thus central to relieving the extremely colonial oppression o f the majority o f its population. However, the reform s’ refusal to liberate capital while liberating land holdings contributed to the (uneven) rolling out of capitalism, as well as opening up the possibilities for agricultural industrialization, in that it recognized and failed to expropriate the agro-industrialists in the orient.48 For Sergio Almaraz, “la Refomia Agraria ha sido la unica repuesta posible al pasado de opresion, pero es insuficiente. El reparto de tierras no impedira la acentuacion de la miseria en el campo.”49 It becomes clear from a look at the economic plan produced by the M NR in 1955, two years after the revolution that the socialization o f capital was not on the agenda. In fact, the influence o f the U S ’s role in agriculture developm ent as previously discussed in the Bohan Plan is central to the ways in which agriculture would be set to develop. The MNR defined the simultaneous necessity for the developm ent o f 47 Arturo Urquidi, El F eudalism o en A m e r ic a y la R eform a A graria B oliviano (La Paz: Libreria y Editorial “Juventud”, 1990), 175.

48 Fausto Beltran & Jose Fernandez, F or D onde va la R eform a A graria Boliviano? (La Paz: Talleres Graficos Bolivianos, 1960), 23.

49 Almaraz, O bras Com pletas, 602.

small-scale private farmer capitalist agriculture and agro-industry. Paz clarified this in 1964 in his address to the nation about the Revolucion boliviana, “quiero dejar establecido que no queremos la colectivizacion forzosa de los agricultores.”50 This continues to resonate with the M orales’ administration’s projection for industrial agricultural production, something the following chapters will explore m ore in depth.

According to the “Plan Inmediata de Politica Economica del Gobierno de la Revolucion Nacional (PEMNR)” which was presented by the MNR in January o f 1955, the path to agricultural development centered on the following two themes. First, by enlarging Bolivia’s agricultural productive capacity, and second, by increasing the country’s integrative capacity (with the help o f foreign investment) by connecting the lowland region with the valley and highland regions. The report cites the major exiting barriers to agricultural and thus development as a whole in Bolivia, first arguing that 72% o f the population lived in 33% o f the total territory, leaving the lowland region, prim arily Santa Cruz, essentially unpopulated, and the highland and valley regions overpopulated and unable to produce “mas que su subsistencia.”5 This fact was meant to stimulate the massive re-location o f valley and Altiplano campesino communities to populate and produce in the lowlands. It is also important to note that aside from the relocation o f who would become colonizadores, the M NR also called for foreign immigration, where 30 Waller Guevara, Plan Inm ediata d e P o litica E conom ica d e l G obierno d e la R evolucion N a cio n a l (La Paz : Departamento de Prensa Intemacional y Publicaciones, 1955), 45.

31 Guevara, P lan Inm ediata de P olitica E conom ica d el G obierno d e la Revolucion N a cio n a l, 99-100.

foreigners would be given land plots upon their arrival- further solidifying the international interest and presence in the Bolivian economy.52 The report provides a breakdown o f the four main regions that will require attention, citing Santa Cruz as the first and m ost important o f those four.5 Santa Cruz, due to its “backward” nature would require immediate investment and attention in both areas.

Roads had to be built,54 agricultural research centers constructed, and farmers provided with the necessary start-up capital in order to produce. The purpose o f this section is not to reveal a complete analysis o f the economic plan o f the MNR, rather to identify the emphases and tendencies that contributed to a full rolling-out of capitalist agricultural production. Such a process which Victor Paz Estenssoro would cite later as being key to ensuring that: “todos los habitantes del pais tengan la posibilidad de desenvolver plenamente su individualidad, en el orden m aterial...(y) que pueden lograr el desenvolvimiento pleno de su individualidad fisica y espiritual.”55 The MNR strengthened, with the emigration policies from the Altiplano and valley regions to the lowland regions, the production and reproduction of the capitalist logic o f individual prosperity and growth. Given the nature o f the rapid expansion o f the crucena economy from the rubber and sugar booms prior to the revolution o f 1952, such logic was already present for communities who had benefited from this rapid economic growth, and 52 Ibid.

53 1. Santa Cruz, 2.Villam ontes, 3. Beni, 4. A ltiplano-V alles.

34 The essential Cochabamba-Santa Cruz as instructed by the Plan Bohan was in the process o f being constm cted at the time o f the release o f this document.

35 Victor E Paz, La Revolucion B oliviano: d iscu rso d el Jefe N acion al d e l M.N.R a los d eleg a d o s d e la I X Convencion del P artido el 17 d e Enero, 1964 (La Paz: D ireccion N acional de Inform aciones, 1964), 12-13.

set up their communities.56 This then provided fertile ground for the relatively smooth (yet uneven5 ) movement to farmer production in the region by the colonizadores. For Urioste, Hoy quienes encabezan la lucha agraria estan constituidos por las nuevas generaciones nacidas despues de 1952. Elios han asimilado y asum en el hecho de que, a diferencia de sus padres, no nacieron como siervos de la gleba, sino como hombres libres. “Liberados” incluso de los rnedios de produccion necessarios y suficientes para generar excedentes que les permitan insertarse como productores de mercancias en el Mercado capitalista y posibilitar entonces un proceso de acumulacion de capital. Y aqui, en sintesis, esta el nudo del problema que abarca hoy la realidad agraria y campesina del pais.5S As “socialist” production-for-intemal markets, equal distribution o f land, and national development the Agrarian Reform was unsuccessful, failing to meet what the popular classes had envisioned for the emergence o f the revolution. The MNR governm ent failed to provide skills, which would have possibly enabled small-scale agriculture to develop in ways that would support the national economy, reducing hunger and poverty in ‘el cam po.’ Foreign investment, from the US in particular re-enforced B olivia’s dependency, and further debilitated the state’s ability to internally regulate due to credit conditions. For Beltran and Fernandez (Bolivian researchers during the im plem entation o f the Reforma Agraria), the M NR became subordinate to institutions like the IM F who, in exchange for their credit, required the implementation o f free markets, the necessity to attract foreign capital, and the lowering o f salaries to name a few. The M NR still maintained a state-centered capitalist developm ent towards agricultural production in that 36 Ybamegaray, El Espiritu del Capitalism o.

37 Lagos, Autonom y a d P ow er: The D yn am ics o f C lass an d P o w e r in R u ral Bolivia.

58 Urioste, Segunda Reform a A graria, 14.



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