The following video shows campesinos lining up by the hundreds in 1959 to get their first piece of the land pie as a result of the signing of Cuba’s Agrarian Reform Law. Also included in the video is a speech given by Fidel in which he announces the foreign businesses and properties that Cuba has nationalized. If you look closely at the podium, to the left of Fidel you will see a very young Juan Almeida, a Comandante of the Cuban Revolution and presently the third ranking member of the Cuban Council of State. Just behind Almeida you get a brief glimpse of Che Guevara, also a Comandante of the Cuban Revolution. Of all the properties nationalized, the decision to nationalize the United Fruit Company, drew the most applause from the crowd and a good laugh from Fidel, Juan, and Che.
An article from Prensa Latina, “Cuba Celebrates 50 Years Agrarian Reform,” follows immediately after the video.
Cuba Celebrates 50 Years Agrarian Reform
viernes, 15 de mayo de 2009
Havana, May 15 (Prensa Latina) Peasants, workers and Cuban young people are putting the final touches on preparations to celebrate this weekend the 50th anniversary of the promulgation of the first Law of Agrarian Reform in Cuba.
Labor centers, and construction and agricultural sites will hold a national day of voluntary work Sunday in commemoration of the regulations signed by the historical leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, on May 17 1959.
The mobilization, explained Salvador Valdes, secretary general of the Cuban Workers Central Trade Union Confederation (CTC), is part of the campaign celebrating 50 years of the first voluntary work brigade, lead by the Argentinean-Cuban revolutionary leader Ernesto Che Guevara.
The efforts of the participants will be centered on the production of food, construction of houses, and the reparation and cleaning of various locations.
The first Agrarian Reform Law opened the way for structural transformations in agriculture and took Cuba further along the path of social justice.
The legislation condemned large estates, outlawed the foreign ownership of land, and gave the property to those who worked it, as well as socialized arable areas.
With the new laws the maximum amount of land one could possess, for all natural or artificial persons, was in 402.6 hectares.
Historical documents point out that more than 100,000 rural families became legitimate owners of their lands due to the new laws.
Also, it allowed for the transfer of 40 percent of the arable areas, which were then transformed into state farms, state property.”