A STORY OF El Tamarindo’s struggle appeared in today’s edition of El Heraldo, a leading newspaper in the Caribbean region of Colombia. El Tamarindo is a community of small farmers who were displaced by their country’s armed conflict. In recent years they have come under threat of eviction because the land they occupy has become part of a duty-free zone.
Below I have translated the news story as best I can. The original story is found at http://www.elheraldo.co/local/familias-protestan-en-la-catedral-para-evitar-desalojo-232378. According to my knowledge at the time of this blog post, the unlawful eviction scheduled for today was once again suspended. The families of El Tamarindo are staying put for now but remain vulnerable to the whims of the local government.
Families protest at the Cathedral to prevent eviction
By Álvaro Pión Salas · Monday, Dec 7, 2015
Norma Baldovino holds a banner with a clear message for the mayor’s office of Barranquilla: respect our rights, NO to eviction.
The 40-year-old woman is part of one of the 44 families living in El Mirador, a strip of the property known as El Tamarindo, who could be evicted today as an effort moved forward by the owners of the land before the Police Inspectorate.
The terrain is located on one side of the road La Cordialidad, between Barranquilla and Galapa, in the International Duty-Free Zone of Atlántico (Zofía). The Plan de Ordenamiento Territorial (POT) established that the land in that zone are for industrial use and therefore cannot be inhabited.
Baldovino is a native of Chalán (Sucre) and raises her poster because she fears passing the Day of the Little Candles (today) on the street. She arrived in 2007, after having been in different places, trying to get settled.
The reason for her nomadism is that she had to flee her town after her house was attacked in 1996 “by the 37th Front of the FARC” and her mother was wounded and consequently passed away in a hospital in Corozal.
Like hers, the other 23 families were displaced by the violence of the Colombian armed conflict. They arrived from Cesar, Magdalena, Bolívar and Sucre to rebuild their lives but again have to gather their belongings to move to a place that is yet to be determined.
“We are tired of being moved from one side to another. We are not fighting for those properties, we only want a place where we can cultivate our food and our animals. The only thing we ask is that they relocate us,” Baldovino assured.
Alfredo Palencia, director of Unidad de Víctimas in Atlántico, pointed out that an agreement had been reached last week to make sure the eviction would not be immediate.
“The order for exit is tomorrow [Monday], but the victims will have 15 days to leave the land. Money will be deposited in a trust fund for them to use to buy land elsewhere and continue their economic recovery,” Palencia indicated.
Regarding those who are not injured by the war, he asserted that it is the District Government that should find them a solution.
Other proposals that were presented in negotiations were to relocate the families en Villas de San Pablo, although the argument remains that the families cannot farm and that the only thing they know how to do is to work the land.
That’s why they hope that the administration will help them relocate when they leave the premises and that they won’t keep moving around the country to settle.