What is Ejido Land in Mexico?

Ejido in Mexico are village lands that are communally held in the tradition of the Indian system of land tenure combining commual ownership with individual use. It consists of cultivated land, pasture land, other uncultivated land and the legal townsite.  In most cases the cultivated land is divided into separate family holdings which most often are handed down to heirs. This is the legacy of the revolution of 1910. The constitution of 1917 contained a statute limiting the amount of land that a person could own and through the concept of social utility legalized the federal goverments redistribution of land.  Initially small parcels were granted to communal groups whose members worked holdings individually, usually cropland or in common for pasture or woodland. The Mexican reform of 1915 followed a revolution and dealt mainly with land of Indian villages that had been illegally absorbed by haciendas (plantations).  Legally there was no serfdom but the Indian wage workers were reduced to indebtedness. Thus the landords mastered the Indians.  The immediate aim was to reform and restore the land its legal owners, settle title and reconstruct Indian villages, also motivated by reducing poverty and inequality.  By 1915 a decree voided all land alienations that took place illegally since 1856 extracting land from haciendas and reestablishing collective Indian villages, Ejidos. 

The 1917 constitution reaffirmed those provisions but also guaranteed protection of property including haciendas. Nevertheless loopholes and litigation slowed implementatoin and effective reform came only after passage of the Agrarian Code of 1934 by President Lazro Cardenas. With massive popular support and with the power elites under control, Cardenas tirelessly pushed toward revolutionary goals. He and his advisors elaborated the land reform using land expropriated from private owners and created the communal cooperatives and gave them Ejido status, a rural working force. 

That would be a brief history in a nutshell. You may have also heard of people "having trouble with land purchases in Mexico". Chances are they have purchased Ejido. In recent years new laws have made it possible to regularize the Ejido land and foreign investors have been trying to buy up these "affordable" parcels. The process is timely after many years the land is removed from the National Agrarian Registy and registered with Public Registry meaning it now has private title. Yet the problems are not over, there is still a first right of refusal to other Ejido, workers of land and family members. In general as the investor you should have excess money time and legal representation. Ejido is uncertain Los Cabos has many free title properties to offer a safe secure investment.


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Connie Meyerhoff