AGENCIA PRENSA RURAL, Thursday, November 30, 2023

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

The SAE has turned over Damasco Ranch, which belonged to the Norte del Valle cartel, to victims of the conflict and to former combatants.

The Special Assets Corporation (SAE) turned the Damasco Ranch over to 35 families, associated to carry out a productive agricultural project. The ranch property, of 84 hectares, is located in the Municipality of San José (Caldas Department), and had been seized from the Norte del Valle cartel.

In Damasco’s fertile soil, they will now build a peace and reconciliation initiative. The new beneficiaries are members of the Campesino Association of San José (Asocampeje), which gathers together victims of the conflict with former combatants of the FARC, as well as former paramilitary combatants.

In spite of their historical dissimilarity, the members of Asocampeje now share a common horizon: converting this land into an agricultural project in which peace and reconciliation can flower. Corn, yuca, and other agricultural products will be planted on the property, producing not only food, but also a prosperous future for those who have suffered from the lack of opportunity.

The commitment of these 34 families is clear: supporting the peace and reconstructing their lives through agricultural production. SAE is becoming a partner in this proposal by turning over the Damasco Ranch, a measure that will furnish an opportunity for regional transformation in the framework of agricultural reform and the “total peace” policy being pushed by the administration of President Gustavo Petro.

Damasco is one of the properties that the SAE is currently administering, and which had been seized because it belonged to the Norte del Valle cartel, one of the drug trafficking organizations that operated in the western part of the country.

“We have made the SAE into a partner entity for the campesinos. Now, in San José (Caldas Department), 34 families are putting in their experience and the effort of their work, while SAE turns the Damasco Ranch over to them. On 84 hectares that had been unproductive, they will be producing food,” said Daniel Rojas, Director of the Agency, in the delivery of property ceremony held last November 2.

Rojas added that this measure lines up with efforts by the national government for campesinos to have their own land, with the goal of generating a productive transformation in Colombia’s countryside.

According to court statistics as of October 26, there are 572,491 hectares of land that have been purchased, donated, recovered, formalized, restored, or destined for agricultural reform.

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