PROCEDE's impact on indigenous Mexico
The primary instrument of land reform in Mexico is the Program for Certification of Rights to Ejido Lands, called PROCEDE (Programa de Certificación de Derechos Ejidales y Titulación de Solares) which works in the country’s agrarian communities (núcleos agrarios). The program was designed by the cabinet of President Carlos Salinas. PROCEDE has three objectives:a) surveying and certifying parcels, b) certifying rights to common use lands, and c) titling urban plots for individuals. Each farmer receives a certificate that does not confer actual ownership until the land is transferred after the farmer dies, at which time the new holder can apply for an actual title. Henceforth, the parcel can be sold or used as collateral on a loan.
The MI research team suspects that these neoliberal land privatization policies threaten the tapestry of community life which binds indigenous populations and natural resources together. Indigenous communities are beset by poverty, out-migration, factional conflicts fanned by party politics and religious schisms, and other problems that are corrosive to community social structures, leaving them the most marginalized of the national population. In a 2004 government-sponsored survey by the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Communities, indigenous peoples themselves declared that it was “the insecurity of land tenancy” that has forced them to leave their lands by limiting access to their ancestral lands and use of their natural resources.
This drawing (left) dramatizes the impact PROCEDE is expected to have on Mexico, from the point of view of many indigenous people. Above, the image in its original context, the January 2006 issue of Lekil K'optik: Urgent Information for Us, the Indigenous People
(The title reads "He who divides up and allocates ends up with most of it". "ALCA" refers to the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the proposed expansion of NAFTA)