Arturo Ezquerro-Cañete

Arturo Ezquerro-Cañete holds a double PhD in International Development Studies from Saint Mary’s University and the Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas. His research focuses on the dynamics of agrarian transformations and new peasant movements in Paraguay. His work has been published in the Journal of Agrarian Change, Latin American Perspectives, and Estudios Críticos del Desarrollo. His is the co-editor of Agrarian Extractivism in Latin America (Routledge, 2021).


Publications (Selection)

2021 (with Ben McKay and Alberto Alonso-Fradejas) Agrarian Extractivism in Latin America. London: Routledge.

2020. “La Lucha de Clases por la Tierra y por la Democracia en Paraguay.” Estudios Críticos del Desarrollo, 10 (18): 97-144.

2019. "‘La Soja Mata’: The Deadly Expansion of Paraguay’s Agro-Extractive Frontier.” In Organized Violence: Capitalist Warfare in Latin America, edited by Dawn Paley and Simon Granovsky-Larsen, 78-95. Regina: University of Regina Press.

2018. “Un Golpe Anunciado: Fernando Lugo y la Promesa Perdida de la Reforma Agraria en Paraguay.” In La Cuestión Agraria y los Gobiernos de Izquierda en América Latina: Campesinos, Agronegocios y Neodesarrollismo, edited by Cristóbal Kay and Leandro Vergara-Camus, 89-118. Buenos Aires: CLACSO (with Ramón Fogel).

2017. “A Coup Foretold: Fernando Lugo and the Lost Promise of Agrarian Reform in Paraguay.” Journal of Agrarian Change, 17 (2): 279-295 (with Ramón Fogel).

2017. “Paraguay: Class Struggle on the Extractive Frontier.” In The Class Struggle in Latin America: Making History Today, edited by James Petras and Henry Veltmeyer, 182-206. London: Routledge.

2016. “Poisoned, Dispossessed and Excluded: A Critique of the Neoliberal Soy Regime in Paraguay.” Journal of Agrarian Change, 16 (4): 702-710.

2016. “Envenenados, Desposeídos y Excluidos: Una Crítica al Régimen Sojero Neoliberal en Paraguay.” Estudios Críticos del Desarrollo, 6 (11): 147-166.

Research project as CALAS fellow

Title: Land for the Few: Extractive Capital and the Coalesced Bourgeoisie in Paraguay

Resumen: Land distribution in Paraguay has long been renowned for its extreme inequality. Several studies have signalled the distribution of agricultural landholdings in Paraguay as one of the most—if not the most—unequal in the world. Since the 1990s, however, the country’s insertion into the neoliberal corporate food regime, and the ever-increasing penetration of agribusiness capital and agricultural biotechnology into the Paraguayan countryside has had a contradictory impact on the phenomenon of the latifundio. On the one hand, most of the immense landholdings of the past were broken up and sold to agribusiness companies and brasiguayos in eastern Paraguayand to modern cattle-ranching companies in the Chaco. On the other hand, a consolidation of large landholdings in fewer hands took place, especially in eastern Paraguay, as commercial agricultural companies and brasiguayos, such as Tranquilo Favero (the so-called ‘rey de la soja’ [king of soy]),  expanded their operations by buying up holdings of small farmers, who often lacked definitive land titles. Although these new holdings continued to be referred to as latifundios, in reality their far superior level of mechanization and productivity means that they are extremely different economic entities to their counterparts of the pre-1970s.

Drawing on the concept “coalesced bourgeoisie” and newly available database from the Paraguayan National Audit Office (Contraloría General de la República, CGR), this project will provide a class analysis of the intersectoral alliances between the old national political and economic elite in Paraguay and the new dominant transnational (and translatin) corporate actors have emerged from the neoliberal reconfiguration of the global food system. It will be argued that the resource-grabbing dynamics of extractive capital within the agricultural sector are transforming land-based power relations in Paraguay, leading towards a form of “reconstituted landlordism.”