The Political Prisoner Solidarity Committee condemns the violations against the community of El Tamarindo in Barranquilla. We are trying to get the word out to your local community, national and international NGOs, unions, and human rights and social justice advocates.
WHAT THEY DID
Early this morning, armed forces maintained a presence in El Tamarindo farm, located in the province of Juan Mina, on the road between Barranquilla and the municipality of Galapa in Atlántico department. The people surrounding the farm included Barranquilla’s 5th inspector of police, BERLYS ROA, members of his force, as well as those of Galapa, ESMAD agents (riot police), customs officers, and soldiers from the National Army. They were there to carry out legal proceedings regarding 12 hectares of community property claimed by two corporations: INVERMAS y ABDALA SAIEH Y CIA S.C.A. Actually, the former property of these corporations had been seized by the National Council of Mind-Altering Drugs when it was suspected to be a drug trafficking nexus.
Because of the companies’ allegations of ownership of the land, today’s military buildup crushes the hope of revocation of their claim. This reflects the apparent interest of the Colombian head of state: to favor and to further enrich those connected to narcotrafficking.
The Tamarindo settlement is composed of a group of approximately 110 families that came from various regions of the Caribbean coast. Initially, this group of displaced families received temporary help from the Presidential Agency for Social Action and International Cooperation. Once this aid was eliminated, these people lived in absolute poverty, and since 2001 they have peacefully occupied El Tamarindo farm, which they had discovered when it was abandoned and fallow . On this land they decided to produce biofuel and to plant yucca, maize, rice, melons, plantains, sorghum, to raise fish, chickens, turkeys, and more.
In this whole process, six farm workers have received death threats.
First of all, we DEMAND that the ongoing vigilance and harassment against the Tamarindo farm should cease. Within the 12 hectares there are 7 ranches which are home to 15 families who work the land; their homes have been demolished by the Caterpillar bulldozers. Also, the civil police are destroying the campesinos’ crops with machetes.
Please direct your communications to:
* Sr. Juan Manuel Santos, Presidente de la República, Carrera 8 # 7-26, Palacio de Nariño, Santa Fe de Bogotá. Fax: + 57 1 566 20 71
* Sr. Angelino Garzón, Vicepresidente de la República, Tels.: +57 1 334 45 07, +573772 01 30.