It was on 24 June, then renamed ‘Dia del campesinado’, that President Juan Velasco decreed the agrarian reform in Peru. 50 years on, the reform, which was one of the most radical exercises in property redistribution ever attempted in Latin America, remains a hot topic.
For its critics, it was a disastrous move that crippled agricultural production; for its supporters it represented the burial of the old system of servility in the rural sector and the birth of a new era of citizenship.
Last week, the Catholic University in Lima (PUCP) held a three-day symposium to study the significance of the agrarian reform. Other academic institutions in Lima and elsewhere will be undertaking similar activities in what remains of the year.