Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | January 22, 2014

Land Restitution Proceeding. Very Slowly. If At All.

The Human Rights Watch World Report 2013 stated: “ At this writing, the Colombian government had progressed slowly in implementing its land restitution program under the 2011 Victims and Land Restitution Law. The government estimated that there would be judicial rulings in 2,100 land restitution cases under the Victims Law in 2012, and 60,000 cases by 2014; however, as of mid-November 2012, specialized judges had ordered restitution in less than 15 cases. Abuses against displaced land claimants and their leaders in recent years—including threats, forced displacements, and killings—have created a climate of fear for those seeking restitution in several areas of the country, such as Urabá, Montes de María, and Cesar.”

About 1,700 hectares of land, which were part of the demilitarized zone which the government of Andres Pastrana gave to the FARC as concessions for a possible peace agreement more than a decade ago, is in question. It seems a group of individuals has attempted to appropriate the land by falsifying land titles.

The government believes alias Mono Jojoy, a FARC leader killed in combat in September 2010, took 500,000 hectares by force.

According to InSight Crime, one of the principal reasons for the FARC stealing land has been to shore up control over coca producing regions and trafficking corridors in their strongholds. The guerrillas are also estimated to own 66,595 animals, including 26,500 cattle.

Even so, right wing paramilitaries and the Bacrim remain the worst offenders of stolen land. Listen to Winifred Tate, professor of anthropology at Colby College, talk about her research on how the rural elites in northern Colombia view land reform, and their ties to paramilitarism and drug trafficking.

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