Guatemala Country Brief: Property Rights and Land Markets

The purpose of this Country Brief is to assist in the assessment of USAID’s investments in land markets and property rights in Guatemala since 1980. The aim is to provide a summary of the available literature related to land market interventions and its impacts in Guatemala. In contrast to most Latin American countries with high land concentration, Guatemala has been unwilling to consider re-distributive agrarian reform. One alternative proposed, therefore, for improving access to land for the rural poor is to make the land market more accessible. The following sections will describe Guatemala’s agrarian structure and land market, and assess the various land market programs implemented in Guatemala since the 1950s, focusing mainly on those undertaken in the 1980s and 90s. USAID intervention in the land market in Guatemala has focused mainly on land purchase programs that re-sell land to landless and land-poor families, in contrast to the other Central American and East European countries in this series of country briefs where USAID interventions have focused on titling and registration programs.