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Land Reform

At the time of Allende only about 25% of Chileans lived in the countryside, and rural areas accounted for only 8% of the Gross National Product. Despite the small amount of people living in rural areas, land reform became an important issue for Allende for two reasons: food shortage in Chile, and Allende's attempt to gain support from politically uncommitted sectors of Chile.

Allende's Land Reform Plan

Allende's strategy for land reform was not that different from the traditional pattern of land reformist parties in Latin America. However, the radical nature of land Chile land reform stemmed from greatly increased rate of expropriation. Allende took advantage of the initial confusion when he took office and expropriated many farms. This worked to his advantage because he was able to cut off farm owners profits immediately. The number and rate of expropriated farms can be shown below. This expropriation led to some change and shifting of economic power, but the economic classes remained largely the same.

Expropriated Farms

1965-1970 1,408
1971-1972 3,282


Allende and the Popular Unity chose not to rely on the Peasant Councils which were formed under Allende. The Peasant Councils emphasized collective work relations on expropriated farms and greater control of agriculture market. Since Allende ignored the Peasant Councils, he alienated many people. However, it is important to remember that these peasants had rights and were making decisions for themselves.

Steenland, Kyle. Agrarian reform under Allende. University of New Mexico Press. Alburquerque: 1977.