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Garzal and Nueva Esperanza

(Simití, South Bolívar) 

Garzal and its neighbouring community Nueva Esperanza belong to the rural municipality of Simití, south Bolívar. The communities have asked us to accompany their struggle to retain possession and gain title to the lands. They have occupied and cultivated for generations. Title of the land was granted to a drug lord, who operated a cocaine processing laboratory on until his operation was closed down in the 1980s. He disappeared for about twelve years, but later returned with paramilitaries threatening the lives of anyone who did not vacate “his” land. He has since died, and his heirs are trying to sell the property to agro-businesses that want the land to mono-crop palm oil. Despite death threats, the community is remaining on the land. The community is currently embroiled in a legal struggle to have their right of possession recognized and titles granted to community members.

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