LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales’s socialist government said it will take possession of 80,000 hectares (309 sq. miles) of land that a private company was not putting to productive use.
Land Distribution director Cliver Rocha told Efe that a decision was made to seize 80,000 hectares out of 100,000 hectares that the Hansa company – an importer of vehicles and consumer and industrial goods – owns in the northern part of the western province of La Paz.
The total surface area that will revert to the state is more than double the expanse of the eastern city of Santa Cruz, the country’s largest.
Rocha said the decision was made after authorities carried out a land-titling process in northern La Paz and discovered that most of Hansa’s lands did not serve a socio-economic function, as required by Bolivian law.
He said the decision to take over the lands will be carried out over the next few days, while Hansa officials consulted by the press said they will issue no statement for the time being because the company’s executives are on vacation.
Meanwhile, Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera said Tuesday that authorities were simply enforcing the law with respect to land not put to productive use.
Bolivian law states that properties that do not fulfill a socio-economic function must revert to the state for subsequent distribution to some of the country’s hundreds of thousands of landless peasants and Indians. EFE