VENEZUELA: Orderly Land Reform

Long before Fidel Castro announced his confiscatory land-reform program for Cuba, a study commission that ranged across the political spectrum from two Communists to the Archbishop of Caracas was at work on the same problem in Venezuela¬ówhere 1.7% of the landholders own 74% of the land. Last week President Romulo Betancourt asked Congress to pass into law the commission's recommendations for a "peaceful, legal and orderly reform." No drastic social surgery, the bill's sensible goal is to force untilled land into cultivation and thereby reduce the $135 million that Venezuela now spends annually to import food.

Some 350,000 landless peasant...

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