Corporation of Agrarian Reform (CORA)

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Corporation of Agrarian Reform (CORA)

Created during the government of Jorge Alessandri (1958–1964), the Corporation of Agrarian Reform (Corporación de la Reforma Agraria—CORA) oversaw the agrarian reform process by buying land and dividing it into parcels for individual or cooperative development, as well as by providing these new agricultural units with technical assistance and funding. CORA, representing a commitment by the state to provide assistance to the rural poor, initially concentrated on converting largely government-owned property into individual plots. The enabling legislation granted CORA the right to pay for expropriated property in a combination of cash and long-term government bonds, which represented a radical departure from earlier laws, as well as the power to take land that was abandoned or inefficiently operated. The government charged CORA with ensuring that landlords respected the rights of agrarian workers. The agrarian reform program also included education programs and family centers. While the educational content emphasized male dominance, rural women were able to increase their involvement in the public sphere through these projects.

Although CORA was accused of being paternalistic and failing to provide needed technical assistance, during the administration of Eduardo Frei (1964–1970) it still expropriated 18 percent of Chile's irrigated land and 12 percent of its nonirrigated property, converting this property either into individual holdings, cooperatives, or temporary communal farms called asentamientos. Despite its failures, which included creating a largely unneeded bureaucracy, CORA did achieve certain reforms until its demise in 1978. More significantly, it constituted the first agency to deal in a realistic fashion with the problem of agrarian reform in Chile.

See alsoAgrarian Reform; Agriculture; Alessandri Rodríguez, Jorge.


Robert B. Kaufman, The Politics of Land Reform in Chile, 1950–1970: Public Policy, Political Institutions and Social Change (1972).

Brian Loveman, Struggle in the Countryside: Politics and Rural Labor in Chile, 1919–1973 (1976), pp. 233-240, 268-272.

Additional Bibliography

Fontaine Aldunate, Arturo. La tierra y el poder: Reforma agraria en Chile (1964–1973). Santiago, Chile: Zig-Zag, 2001.

Tinsman, Heidi. Partners in Conflict: The Politics of Gender, Sexuality, and Labor in the Chilean Agrarian Reform, 1950–1973. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2002.

                                          William F. Sater