COLOMBIA: Indigenous Occupy Estates

COLOMBIA: Indigenous Occupy Estates

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August 13, 2006

On Aug. 4, a group of more than 500 organized indigenous Colombians from the municipalities of Jambalo, Caloto, Toribio and Caldono in Cauca department began occupying the Zulema estate in Caloto in what they call a process of “recovery and liberation of mother earth.” On Aug. 6, the mayor and municipal procurator of Caloto arrived at the estate and tried to persuade the indigenous community to go into town for talks on the situation; the community responded that the talks could happen on the estate. Later in the day, agents of the National Police arrived and stayed for several hours. On Aug. 8, three truckloads of agents from the notoriously brutal Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) of the National Police arrived and set up camp at the nearby El Japio estate, which was occupied last Oct. 12 by a group of Nasa indigenous people [see Update #820, 824, 825; it is not clear whether the Nasa communities are continuing to occupy the El Japio estate].

The communities occupying the Zulema estate are asking for solidarity. For information, contact <>. [Messages from Nietos de Manuel Quintin Lame 8/4/06, 8/10/06, both via Colombia Indymedia] Messages urging the government to withdraw its forces and negotiate a solution can be sent to President Alvaro Uribe (; Vice President Francisco Santos (; and Carlos Franco, director of the Vice President’s Human Rights Program (,

On July 24, a group of 10 displaced families seized the La Victoria estate in Silvania municipality, Cundinamarca department, to demand they be resettled there. The Colombian Rural Development Institute (INCODER), a government agency, had resettled the families on the Los Colorados estate in nearby Jerusalen municipality on June 10, 2005, but the families consider Los Colorados inadequate because of the poor quality of the soil and the absence of drinkable water in the area. INCODER has taken possession of La Victoria for the resettlement of displaced families, but has refused to grant it to the families from Los Colorados. The families hope their occupation of La Victoria will pressure INCODER to let them stay. The mayor of Silvania has ordered them removed by force. [Message from Desplazados 7/26/06 on Colombia Indymedia]

This item comes from Weekly News Update on the Americas #863, 8/13/06.

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