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  • A vehicle of PROSEM Uruguay, owned by Illinois Semillas company, harvesting corn in San Jose, Uruguay, April 4, 2020.

    A vehicle of PROSEM Uruguay, owned by Illinois Semillas company, harvesting corn in San Jose, Uruguay, April 4, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @prosem_uruguay

Published 19 November 2020
Opinion

"It is a question of sovereignty, by which we mean that this is, in many cases, the 'Achilles' heel of the possibilities of development of our country." Broad Front lawmakers said.

Uruguay's Broad Front (BF) presented to debate Thursday a bill that seeks to limit the sale of land to foreigners.

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Broad Front, of the center-left, proposed to prevent foreign states or their companies from buying agricultural or forest lands to limiting the access of private companies to foreign capital. 

The proposal aims to avoid real estate speculation, which has made prices so high and has expelled farmers to the cities.

The bill establishes that "individuals of foreign nationality, whether or not they have a domicile or residence in the territory, may only acquire full ownership, bare ownership or possession when they meet one of the following requirements: They have acquired legal citizenship, and they have 10 years of continuous, permanent, and proven residence in the country".

Supporting the Bill, BF representatives have noted the land ownership "it is a question of sovereignty, by which we mean that this is, in many cases, the 'Achilles' heel of the possibilities of development of our country'.

"The budget represents a clear setback in terms of investment in EDUCATION. As acknowledged by Minister Pablo da Silveira, investment in education goes from a historical record of 5.3% of GDP in 2019 to 4.9% in 2021."

Meanwhile, legal entities or companies constituted in a country other than Uruguay or whose capital is mostly "owned by individuals of foreign nationality or legal entities constituted abroad" will not be allowed to acquire land.

Official media estimates that the BF has 13 senators and Open Cabildo Party (CA) 3, to reach the 16 votes needed to obtain a majority in the Upper House.

During BF presidential administrations, 2 laws were approved on land ownership. The first one was the law no. 18,092, in force since 2007, which requires companies owning rural property to have registered shares belonging to natural persons.

The second ones is Law no. 19,283, approved in 2014, which prohibits the acquisition of rural property and/or the realization of agricultural exploitations by foreign States or their sovereign funds.

The new Bill was presented in July this year by BF Senators Carolina Cosse, Amanda Della Ventura, Sandra Lazo, Lucia Topolansky, Oscar Andrade, Eduardo Bonomi, Charles Carrera, Jose Mujica, and Daniel Olesker.

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