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In a first blow to landlords, the progressive constitution of 1938 determined that private property was not an absolute right, and that property could be expropriated by the state if it did not fulfill a productive “social function” in the collective interest. The Indigenous Congress of 1945, sponsored by the government of President General Gualberto Villarroel, abolished labor servitude on the haciendas. In 1947, the Revolutionary Left Party (PIR) went a step further, proposing a law for an agrarian reform institute. Eduardo del Granado, on behalf of the landlord class, vigorously responded to these attacks with a tract critical of the new proposal. The Rural Federation of Cochabamba, a regional association of the landed elite, approved the text, and the powerful Bolivian Rural Society, the national organization of landlords, subsequently republished it. In the face of pressures for agrarian reform coming from the left, Eduardo del Granado’s polemical text, which follows, defends the rural elite’s property rights and invokes its presumed technical and cultural superiority as a basis for agrarian productivity. It also denounces the perceived threat of tyrannical communism: if the institute were to take charge of the agricultural labor code and promote the unionization of rural workers, del Granado asserts, it would be following a ruinous Soviet model.

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