QUITO – Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said on Saturday that his administration plans to “democratize property,” a mission that will begin with a pilot plan selling peasants five of the ranches that were seized from ex-bankers.
In his weekly report about work in progress, he said that the program for the comprehensive development of state-owned lands will begin with a pilot plan involving five properties currently in the hands of the Deposit Guarantee Agency, or AGD, which were confiscated from the ex-bankers responsible for the 1999 financial crisis.
Correa said that the plan will continue with other properties in the hands of other state institutions.
“We want to democratize property and help the have-nots have access to property. The program seeks to pass those lands to peasant organizations and give them training, technical assistance, housing programs and schools,” he said.
He said that these farmlands are not being given away to peasants: “We’re not giving them away, we’re selling them with credit facilities through the state bank.”
Without specifying amounts, he recalled that in 2010 a tax will be imposed on non-productive lands, adding that “having huge extensions of property as big landowners and not using them is going to be the worst deal in the world, because they’ll have to pay for those idle lands.”