The Bolivia Reader: History, Culture, Politics
”For Sale” Signs
In the 1990s, property values in the eastern lowlands, especially Santa Cruz, began to climb as the agribusiness model gained momentum. International demand for soybeans and foreign investment drove the market. The capital entering the country came especially from Brazil and secondarily Argentina, while colonies of Mennonite settlers also became significant domestic soybean producers. Sales notices in the local papers reflected the growing demand and rising prices for property.
Despite other political and economic changes in the country after 2006, the neoliberal dynamic in lowland agriculture only intensified. The land market was more active than ever, and the concentration of large properties and the prevalence of foreign capital only increased. In 2012, two-thirds of the land devoted to soybean production were in the hands of foreign corporations. State policies bolstering this process included low taxation, diesel subsidies, sanction of genetically modified seeds, and minimal regulation of foreign firms. Among the costs were the devastating and irreversible environmental effects on the tropical rainforest and indigenous peoples. Given the booming land market, rural land sale and rental advertisements in local papers were even more common in 2014 than in 1990.