GUATEMALA: Reform or Else

Guatemala's Congress this week passed one of the most sweeping land-reform bills ever enacted in the Western Hemisphere, and sent it to President Jacobo Arbenz. As the measure's prime sponsor, he was expected to sign it promptly into law.

Backed by Guatemala's influential Communists, the bill is designed to double the number of small landholders by expropriating larger landholders' untilled fields. Owners of such idle lands—possibly one-third of the country's arable acreage—will be paid off with 25-year government bonds. The bill exempts all farms of 225 acres or less and farms of less than 675 acres on which at least...

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