La Paz (Reuters) - Emboldened by a new leftist constitution,
Morales handed out around 94,000 acres of lands recently confiscated from five big ranches in
"Private property will always be respected but we want people who are not interested in equality to change their thinking and focus more on country than currency," said Morales, flanked by military and police personnel.
Among those who lost land was
Larsen and other ranchers who had threatened to block the handover of their lands can still appeal the expropriations before agrarian courts.
An Aymara Indian and former leader of coca-leaf farmers, Morales is
He is especially popular among the poor and Aymara, Quechua, and Guarani indigenous groups that suffered centuries of discrimination in
"Today, from here, we are beginning to put an end to the giant landholdings of
The land transfer came six weeks after Morales celebrated the approval of a new leftist constitution that aims to give
The constitution also sets limits on single farm tracts to 12,400 acres and states that farms must meet certain economic and social conditions.
"It is not that these lands were not in production, but that they were the site of human rights violations against the Guarani, who will now be their new owners," Morales said.
(Reporting by Carlos Alberto Quiroga; Writing by Pav