"Profound rural misery will not end," observes Martin Diskin of M. I. T. in his evaluation of land reform in El Salvador. Writing in the Fall issue of Culture and Agriculture, Diskin faults the current program on two accounts. First, "no significant restructuring of rural El Salvador is possible with this plan." The loopholes (the "right of reserve" of former owners to exclude up to 150 hectares from expropriation under Phase 1 of the plan) and insufficiency (Phase 3, "Land to the Tiller," conveys too little acreage to the individual tiller to have any impact on the poverty level) of the program is evident in the texts of the decrees themselves, Diskin notes. Second, implementation has been so poor as to effectively neutralize whatever possibilities the program might have had. Of the announced three phases, Phase 2 has been, in the government's words, "suspended," and Phase 3 is moving slowly through cumbersome and inefficient procedures. "The prognosis for this ‘most sweeping Agrarian reform in the history of Latin America’ is dismal," Diskin concludes.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.