Bolivia president Evo Morales announced that he has initiated a program fundamental to his victory in late 2005. He promised indigenous Bolivians that if elected, he would redistribute farm land to them. This weekend, the program got underway with Morales giving state-owned land to indigenous communities. Privately-owned, non-productive farm land is next.
In Morales’ view, he is just returning the land to its rightful owners. Five hundred years ago, Spanish conquistadores came with weapons and strategem and took the land of modern day Peru and Bolivia from the Inca people. Now he feels he is just giving it back.
What establishes ownership? If you come to my house with more weapons than I have (not difficult since I have only a few kitchen knives), indicating that you don’t recognize my rule of law, you don’t have a right to claim my property. Taking land by force via military action has long been the manner to expand and enrich one’s country and one’s self. Most nations throughout history have attempted this method of growth. The question is, is it legitimate? Is it right?
When a national leader has the ability to redress wrongs against a specific group and return to them what was essentially stolen from them, is the the right thing, the moral thing, to do?
Whether you are a naturalist humanist who believes that the world belongs to no one, or to everyone; or a monotheist who believes that the Earth was created by God and belongs only to Him, there is incongruity with these above beliefs and “owning” something.
It seems that Morales may be on to something here…except from whom did the Incas take the land????