Urban Land Committees

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Urban Land Committees (Spanish: Comités de Tierras Urbanas, CTUs) are Venezuelan local neighbourhood committees which, in conjunction with Venezuelan Communal Councils, develop land titling in urban areas. CTUs are organised and set up by local communities (around 100-200 families), in a contiguous area defined by the community. Under a February 2002 decree, the CTUs can apply to a government office for the local "barrio" residents to be given property title for state-owned land they have informally occupied on a long-term basis. The CTUs operate on the principle of participatory democracy, and create maps of the local area, on the basis of which (after official verification) land titles are drawn up.[1] By early 2010, CTUs had obtained over 500,000 land titles, benefiting over 300,000 households.


A formal proposal for a land titling process for barrio residents was first put forward in 2000 by the opposition Justice First, influenced by the Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto Polar.[1] On 4 February 2002 President Hugo Chávez issued Presidential Decree 1666, providing a legal basis for CTUs to be formed.[1] The order specified that families that could prove that they had built their own home but did not own the land on which it had been built should be given formal title.[1] Eligibility was however restricted to cases of state-owned land with no competing private claims.[2]

By mid-2005, there were around 5000 CTUs, representing around 5m Venezuelans, and the government had issued over 84,000 titles to 126,000 families, benefiting about 630,000 inhabitants (out of a total urban poor population of around 10m).[3] By October 2006 the government said that over 200,000 titles had been assigned, benefiting about 1m inhabitants,[4] and by early 2010 over 500,000 titles,[5] benefiting over 300,000 households.[6]

In September 2006 a new law was passed,[7] and amended in October 2009.[8]

In May 2008 the third national convention of CTUs took place in Maracaibo, with international observers from Argentina and Uruguay and several Pan-American organizations.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d Venezuelanalysis.com, 11 February 2006, Venezuela’s Urban Land Committees and Participatory Democracy
  2. ^ Ellner, S. (2005), "Revolutionary and Non-Revolutionary Paths of Radical Populism: Directions of the Chavista Movement in Venezuela", Science & Society, Vol. 69, No. 2, April 2005, 160–190. p174
  3. ^ Gregory Wilpert, Venezuelanalysis.com, 12 September 2005, Venezuela’s Quiet Housing Revolution: Urban Land Reform
  4. ^ Robert Collier, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 October 2006, "Venezuela's Oil Wealth Funds Gusher of Anti-Poverty Projects"
  5. ^ (Spanish) YVKE, 12 April 2010, Más de 500 mil títulos de tierra ha entregado el Gobierno en barrios venezolanos
  6. ^ (Spanish) Correo del Caroni, 22 September 2009, Marcharán por la reforma de Ley de Tierras Urbanas
  7. ^ Ley Especial De Regularización Integral De La Tenencia De La Tierra De Los Asentamientos Urbanos Populares, 17 September 2006 [1]
  8. ^ (Spanish) El Universal, 21 October 2009, Presidente Chávez promulgó reforma parcial de la Lofanb
  9. ^ (Spanish), Ada Colau, 2 September 2008, "Los Comités de Tierras Urbanas y el proceso de regularización de tierras en Venezuela". Observatorio de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales (DESC) de Barcelona (España).