Evictions Continue in Argentina

Evictions Continue in Argentina

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July 22, 2007

There has been another attempt at forcefully evicting a family from their land — this time, in the Mendoza Province of Argentina. The Villa Atuel company claims land that the Cubillo family has lived on for nearly 60 years — and wants them off. But the company doesn’t even own the land in question, and everyone knows it—including the Peru Judiciary, though they were obliged to support the claim and order police to remove the family.

From Real World Radio – Real World Radio’s correspondents in Argentina Raquel Schrott and Ezequiel Miodownik, interviewed activist Manota from the Mendoza’s Rural Landless Workers Union. The activist talked about this particular incident and the evictions in the province.

“15 police officers and marines surrounded the family and told them to leave the tract. They took refuge inside the house until the government offered to move them to another tract. The sheriff gave them 15 days to leave, as long as the government provided them with a new tract. We believe that this is not very likely to happen”, Manota said.

He added that the field is not exactly productive, so the corporation only wants to demonstrate its power and the fact that it owns the entire department. It owns 10 thousand hectares of olive trees and does not want any peasants nearby.

The activist said he is concerned because “the mafia is taking over the zone”. He told RWR that the Spanish corporation destroyed two houses where two families lived, two years ago. The corporation also threatened to kidnap children and set other houses on fire.

“It is a very complex situation and the judiciary is an accomplice. We met 14 communities and all of them are undergoing similar conflicts”, Manota said.

The activist said the evictions prevent the development of an agrarian model related to their history and nature. Peasants believe that is the greatest cultural richness to design a development model that is different from the one they have now. The current model depends on the international market and has given them a specific role. Besides, it does not distribute richness and it is contaminating.

“We believe that the alternative is to study and strengthen the productive and life models of peasant and indigenous communities”, he said.

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