THE END OF AGRARIAN
"Like the agrarian struggles of the past, the objective of the [reform of Article 27] is the broadening of justice and liberty."
— President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, November 1991.
Following closely on the heels of a series of dramatic changes that aimed to make Mexico's farm sector more compatible with the international market, President Salinas in late 1991 proceeded to amend the hallowed Article 27 of the constitution. The amendments terminated the government's historic commitment to provide land to petitioning campesinos and opened the doors to the privatization of the country's social sector. (The ejidos, along with the agrarian communities, are known as the social sector, which distinguishes it from the sector of private holders). 1
The amendments included the termination of land redistribution; the granting to ejidatarios of the rights to sell, rent, sharecrop, or mortgage their individual parcels and to enter into joint ventures and contracts with private (including foreign) investors and stockholding companies; the collective right of ejidatarios to dissolve the ejido and distribute the property among members; and the elimination of the requirement that ejidatarios had to work their land to retain control. 2 Additionally, the reforms established a new decentralized government bureaucracy to certify ejido rights, title ejido parcels, and settle land disputes. 3 The