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Law of normalization of tittle deeds

Date interview: October 10 2016
Name interviewer: Santiago Garrido
Name interviewee: Anonymous
Position interviewee: Member of APENOC

Social movements Social-spatial relations Social-economic relations New Framing Negative side-effects Local/regional government Legal status Business models Breakthrough Adapting

This is a CTP of initiative: La Via Campesina/APENOC (Argentina)

This CTP refers to the sanction of Provincial Law No. 9150 that regulates the normalization / regulation of titles through the Registry of Real Estate Owners of the province of Cordoba. The law was enacted in March 2004 with the objective of obtaining the real registration of domain and survey of the possessory situation of the real estate. In this sense, the Law sought to establish all the acts and formalities necessary to regulate title deeds, to determine the properties in situation of irregularity or conflict by the domain and to relay the antecedents necessary to solve these disputes. It also provided technical advice to those with problems obtaining their property titles. And it stated that in case of no opposition 60 days after this presentation was going to take place the request formulated for land management.

This law marks a breakdown in as much as it comes to order the territorial problematic, originated in the strong dispute by the possession of lands. In this sense, the province of Cordoba is one of the most affected by deforestation. Between 1998 and 2003 they were swept away with the native forests of this province, at a rate of 2.9 percent per year, a figure almost unprecedented worldwide. This is articulated with the almost nonexistent possessory rights of the ancestral inhabitants of the territory, who suffer violence at the hands of those who want to appropriate their territories, in some cases by killing animals, burning their fields, stealing water or Direct physical attacks and in some cases even through the irregular use of public forces.

In this sense, the Law of normalization of title deeds became fundamental for the Cordoba's peasants. However, years after its sanction, reality showed that peasants failed to find a solution to their problems of lack of titles. There are numerous formalities initiated, but few were able to register, in part because of the lack of evidence of possession of the claimed lands. This is complex since most peasants have no role or recognition that demonstrates their rights. In order to be able to register in the Registry of Real Estate Owners, more than 20 years of ownership must be credited to the place, as owner with a peaceful, uninterrupted public life, in good faith.

In order to understand the importance of this law, it is important to point out that in the province of Córdoba, frauds are being investigated in the ownership of lands and fields, with thousands of property owners being scammed.


The present CTP shows a co-production between legal frameworks and forms of peasant struggle and resistance. For this, it is important to emphasize that Argentina has a backward legal framework that ignores the social function of the land and its property. This forces the peasants to discuss the territorial issue through the only possible tool: the twenty-year possession that allows to protect / conserve the territories they own and inhabit effectively, but over those who do not own the property. This limitation was discussed by peasant organizations generating a co-production between the way the struggle was designed and the legal framework available. As one of the peasants relates:

"Brazil's landless peasant movement takes a legal framework to develop its struggle that allows them to expropriate unproductive fields, allowing them to move forward. We instead have the twenty-year possession that allows us the resistance. We put forward the progress because we want to raise it, but we do not have legally where to get hold of. Then we will have to press for the legal frameworks to allow us to propose new situations in order to progress territorially."

It is important to note that land tenure through the institutional mechanisms provided in the legal framework, point to an individual defense. However, peasant organizations have been tackling territorial conflicts, trying to break this logic, permanently incorporating the community dynamics. In this way the territorial conflict of specific issues towards more regional, provincial, national or international spaces in which the isolated vision of the problem was discussed and the community dimension was added.

Related events

The precarious situation of land tenure permanently generates violence, thus many peasant families denounce pressures on the part of entrepreneurs who usurp their territories, advancing on the fields that would correspond to register the peasants according to the Law of normalization of title deeds. Once they occupy the fields, the big businessmen advance on the native forests, proceeding to the clearing and the production of monocultures through high technology.

Likewise, rural businessmen often initiate legal actions against peasants taking advantage of the lack of title to land, and use the methodology of offering families a new space in the city with subsidies, etc. Those who accepted today live in marginalized conditions in urban centers, others resist and continue to live in the territories.

Another situation related to this CTP is the lack of water, which is why many families must abandon agriculture as impracticable and dedicate themselves to small livestock, mainly caprine, in which also complicates the lack of water. This also causes families to migrate to cities. Life in the countryside is hard because of the long distances they must travel between homes, the inability to access health centers.

The arrival of "the gringos", as defined by the peasants, significantly affected the life of these communities. Without large areas for grazing, the breeding activity that had previously been the main activity. To this we must add that the increase in the value of the land makes more acceptable the real estate advance and the pressure for the peasants to leave. The "soy boom" triggered the price of the hectare.


From the organization and the circulation of information, the ignorance about the rights that these inhabitants have was diminishing. It is an exercise of citizenship that, taking advantage of the contradictions of the legal system, seeks to extend equality.

The process of organizing the communities is very significant and has allowed the peasants to stand different from the dispute for land, structuring all their actions from this. As the peasants explain, "when what is at stake is the land, all our energy is directed at that" or more synthetically, "the struggle is for the land".

Faced with this, the Law of normalization of title deeds became a contestataría tool that allowed to dispute rights and raise their position in relation to land tenure and although it opened new foci of dispute and did not solve the situation of the majority of the peasants , Did provide the possibility of remaining in the territory or dispute the same from the twenty years possession law.

On the other hand, peasants are permanently criminalized. The abuse of judges, police officers and lawyers, both in the dealings and in the procedures carried out in the field. As one peasant argues:

"One of the conclusions is that we are in a moment of resistance, of great resistance in the field, and that takes place in each one of the places. The time will come to move forward. This, we believe, is the moment to resist, because the agricultural frontier is advancing on our territories."


The peasants of northern Córdoba have suffered the advance of agribusiness over their territories. As in other provinces, new technologies and the demand of the world market make native forests of great economic importance through intensive exploitation. Already in 2004 the National Directorate of Forests of the Secretariat of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Nation warned about indiscriminate logging.

This advance, on settlers who are not holders of evidentiary documentation, but who have lived permanently in the territories, without any proof that proves it, generates conflicts and territorial disputes. This situation of legal and cadastral indefinition is used by businessmen, who use the following methodology: they buy lands that theoretically are uninhabited and act legally on the real owners accusing them of "intruders".

There are also allegations of an unjust system of water distribution that benefits businessmen and seriously harms peasants. This not only affects your production but also their health.

The way in which peasant territory was advanced was manifold: purchases, agreements, deceptions, use of violence, etc. Faced with this situation, the province was sanctioning laws that sought to normalize title deeds. Thus, in the year 2000, the legislature of the province sanctioned the Law Nº 8884, that declared of public interest. Three years later, Law Nº 9100 was signed, creating a Personal Register of Rural Property Owners.


In the case of this CTP, the learning developed by the members of APENOC were related to the identification of problems that presented the effective implementation of the law. For the referents of the organization, the law failed to reverse the situation of territorial conflict, peasants made numerous presentations and most of the measurements were not fulfilled. From this, the peasant referents understood that the existence of the law is not in itself a guarantee, as long as it is not accompanied by organization.

On the other hand, this CTP generated a tension between the rights associated with the law of possession of twenty years with the right to property used by the rural businessmen.

The peasants learned that the prerequisite for gaining domain over a territory is to have effective possession of it. In short, the law was not an integral response to the social problem that underlies conflicts over land.

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