SEMINAR UNDERLINED THE PEASANTRY’S DIGNITY SINCE THE AGRARIAN REFORM

IN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE 50 ANNIVERSARY OF THE MOST IMPORTANT STRUCTURAL PROCESS IN DEMOCRACY THE ACADEMIA RECALLED THE MILESTONES REACHED AND GATHERED ITS MOST INFLUENTIAL ACTORS.



July 28, 2017

As the most important act of social justice in the history of Chile was remembered the Agrarian Reform, in the 50 anniversary of this process that introduced greater equity in land tenure and the dignity of its workers.

The “Abate Molina” Honor Hall, in the Extension Center, brought together various political actors and influential personalities in legislation and public policies that made it possible to continue the reform process. Of particular significance was the presence of peasants who were the protagonists of this milestone and some of their descendants.

With their participation, a seminar was held on the impact of the reform, particularly in the social field, an activity that is part of the Fondart project of the University called "Half a Century of the Agrarian Reform in the Maule Region: Facts and Testimonials in Documents and Media."

The President of the Senate of the Republic, Andrés Zaldivar, offered words of welcome and recalled the beginnings of his political career as assistant secretary of the Treasury, when working on the design of the reform and time later in their funding as bi-secretary.

"The reform did not seek to expropriate whimsically, but to correct a tremendous obstacle for the development of the country. We had more than three million peasant farmers living in the margins of development, without access to education or to labor mobility due to an unequal system of tenancy. With the reform, the peasant family agriculture and land redistribution were born to dignify the farm producers," he said.

Subsequently, President Alvaro Rojas, in his greetings on behalf of the Academia, emphasized that half a century ago took place the deepest democratic reform in all of the 20th century, in the midst of a growing duality between the urban and rural society. He argued that this historic process, generated the fact that now there are seven regions with agriculture as their main economic activity.

He also remembered the new challenges for small farmers, "whose demands have not been known to the public for decades, their leaders are not visible nationally and, since the return of democracy, the situation has not changed significantly," said the authority by way of reflection.

Impact of the 50s

"Economic Vision of the Impact of the 50 Years of the Agrarian Reform in Chile," was the title of the first paper that opened the seminar, hosted by Lovell Jarvis, professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of California,.

The academic spoke about three points that, according to his criteria, marked the success of the legislation in Chile: Agrarian Reform, Economic Reform and the Fruit Boom.

Subsequently, the first panel on the international and national context of the agrarian reform included academic specialists Angel Flisfisch, from the Latin American Department of Social Sciences and representative to FAO (FLACSO - FAO); Claudio Robles, Professor of History and Agricultural Economics from the University of Santiago de Chile, and Reinaldo Sapag, economist and university professor.

Flisfisch initiated the discussion by placing the historical context of the reform in the midst of the Cold War. "The United States influenced Chile with its Alliance for Progress in face of the proletarianization of the land, fostered by the communist China - Soviet Union axis. This alternative proposal broke the advance of communism and promulgated the agrarian changes throughout America," he said.

For its part, Robles focused his speech on the political conflict of reform under the evolution of the polarization. While Sapag appreciated the role of the Catholic Church and its social position in favor of the poor, an aspect in which he stressed the contribution of the bishops of Talca, Manuel Larrain, and Santiago, the Raúl Silva Henríquez, also from Talca.

Socio-Economic Changes

the second panel, on Agrarian Reform and Socio-Economic Changes, was in charge of Sergio Gómez, representative of (FLACSO - FAO); Emiliano Ortega, an agricultural economist, and José Díaz Osorio, an academic from the Department of Agricultural Sciences of our University.

Gomez addressed the organization of the farmers under the figure of the unionization and reflected the important contribution of the Church with the creation of the Institute of Rural Development for education and training of the peasants, while Ortega Díaz Osorio spoke on the development of agricultural planning.

The seminar ended with the testimony of relevant actors in the reform. The small land owner from Alto las Cruces, Agenor Salazar, told how he raised his family and provided professional education to all his children.

In Molina and Linares

Two heartfelt tributes were held in Molina and Linares in the framework of the 50 anniversary of the Agrarian Reform. In the first County, it was recalled the collaboration of former representative and councilor from Molina, Emiliano Lorenzini, who was a key actor in the unionizing of farmers in the Region. At the event, the Academy gave a medal to the current representative and son of the honoree, Pablo Lorenzini, who welcomed the initiative of the university to remember the heroic deeds of his father.

In Linares was organized a similar event, where the legacy of the agronomist Hernán Mery was praised, regarded as the first martyr of the agricultural changes in the history of Chile. Maria Loreto Mery, daughter of the honoree, received a plaque of appreciation for the work of the Linarean killed during the exercise of his public vocation at the service of the rights of the peasantry.



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