‘Credit Democratization’ and Land Reform: Remaking Rural Colombia (1930 – 1965)

Mariana Diaz Chalela, Yale University

The creation of debt has been a constitutive process of the developmental state. While most historical studies of debt and development focus on the creation of neoliberal individual indebtedness or foreign debt as a constitutive element of global power, in this paper I explore how debt became entangled with the idea of agrarian reform in Colombia. In doing so, I trace a connection between credit and land reform, by focusing on how credit became a tool to deal with calls for land reform in Colombia during the mid-twentieth century. In particular, I focus on two moments of calls for Land Reform in Colombia: the 1930s and the 1960s. During these two attempts at land reform, credit programs came to be at the center of discussion about redistribution of land and its connection to redistributing wealth. In order to better understand this link, I look at how elites, campesino organizations, and religious leaders understood and shaped the relationship between credit and land in Colombia. During the 1950s in particular, both international development agencies and the United Stated became heavily involved in crafting such connections. To do this, I draw from archives in Colombia and the United States including the records of international development agencies, Colombian and US congressional debates, news articles, and local peasant organization records as a way to get at how the connections between credit and land reform are being drawn both at the local and at the international level.

No extended abstract or paper available

 Presented in Session 206. Policymaking and rural municipalities