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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 04:03 PM
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Paramilitaries controlled 10% Colombia's land: WikiLeaks
Paramilitaries controlled 10% Colombia's land: WikiLeaks
Monday, 04 April 2011 14:00
Edward Fox

Paramilitaries and drug traffickers may have controlled 10% of Colombia's land, according to a 2007 diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks Sunday, via El Espectador.

The figure came from a series of studies which showed that the criminal groups had the potential to exert larger-than-expected control over areas by forcing people from their land.

The cable relays how the U.S. believed the Act faced serious problems relating to the establishment of the property rights of indigenous, peasant and Afro-Colombian communities. Furthermore, it had considerable doubts over the legitimacy of Incoder as a handling agency for the process due to its former director being enveloped in corruption allegations linking him to paramilitaries.

However, one of the biggest obstacles to redistribution efforts remains the fear and intimidation utilized by armed groups in order to keep stolen land. Leaders representing the displaced claimants are frequently targeted by these groups, with seven already having been assassinated this year.

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naaman fletcher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 06:33 PM
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1. Didn't farc control like 30%?
Until Uribe and Santos, who are both wildly popular, came to be power?
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 10:16 PM
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2. Colombia: theft of four million hectares
Colombia: theft of four million hectares
Jul 20, 2010

Forced off his farm by right-wing paramilitaries who use massacre, rape, torture and assassination to encourage people to leave their property, Rogelio Martinez Mercado led a small group of farming families to reclaim land taken from them.

Between three and five million people have been forced off their land in Colombia. Most are traumatised by barbaric cruelty, by bereavement and are left destitute. The scale of the displacement is difficult to imagine. Lower estimates are that an area the size of Switzerland has been cleared for palm oil and banana production, mining, logging, or for drug smuggling.

Rogelio led the return to the land that families had been forced from in the hope of farming peacefully. The land is a farm called Finca La Alemania, one of many farms where agricultural production is supported by ACT members, in this case by Lutheran World Relief.

Death threats were given to Rogelio, but he remained at Finca La Alemania with his family and other farmers. On May 18 he was shot dead by masked men using a pistol with a silencer - one shot in his heart, one in the back of his neck, an assassination military-style. Since Rogelio was killed, fresh and tangible death threats have been given to the new the leadership of the farming group.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:34 PM
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3. Biofuel gangs kill for green profits
From The Sunday Times June 3, 2007
Biofuel gangs kill for green profits
Tony Allen-Mills, New York

Vast areas of Colombias tropical forest are being cleared for palm tree plantations. Charities working with local peasants claim that paramilitary forces in league with biofuel conglomerates some of them financed by US government subsidies are forcing families off their land with death threats and bogus purchase offers.

The paramilitaries are not subtle when it comes to taking land, said Dominic Nutt, a British specialist with Christian Aid who recently visited Colombia. They simply visit a community and tell landowners, If you dont sell to us, we will negotiate with your widow.

Dias was one of several landowners around the remote settlement of Llano Rico who decided not to abandon his property when the paramilitaries first moved into the area. My father felt protected because he had a local government position, said his daughter, Milvia Dias, 29.

Even when paramilitaries warned the villagers that if they stayed they would be considered left-wing guerrilla sympathisers, Dias refused to be bullied. He had cattle and land and one day, after all this happened, he went out to fix a hole in one of the farms fences, his daughter said. He never came back. A search party found him with his throat cut and seven stab wounds in his torso.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 11:45 PM
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4. The Dark Side of Plan Colombia: How the U.S. is Subsidizing Death and Drug Trafficking on Stolen Lan
The Dark Side of Plan Colombia: How the U.S. is Subsidizing Death and Drug Trafficking on Stolen Lands
By Teo Ballv, The Nation
Posted on June 2, 2009, Printed on June 3, 2009

Macaco, whose real name is Carlos Mario Jimnez, was one of the bloodiest paramilitary commanders in Colombia's long-running civil war and has confessed to the murder of 4,000 civilians. He and his cohorts are also largely responsible for forcing 4.3 million Colombians into internal refugee status, the largest internally displaced population in the world after Sudan's. In May 2008, Macaco was extradited to the United States on drug trafficking and "narco-terrorism" charges. He is awaiting trial in a jail cell in Washington, DC.

Macaco turned himself in to authorities in late 2005 as part of a government amnesty program that requires paramilitary commanders to surrender their ill-gotten assets -- including lands obtained through violent displacement. Macaco offered up Coproagrosur as part of the deal.

But the attorney general's notice made no mention that Coproagrosur had received a grant in 2004 from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). That grant -- paid for through Plan Colombia, the multibillion-dollar US aid package aimed at fighting the drug trade -- appears to have put drug-war dollars into the hands of a notorious paramilitary narco-trafficker, in possible violation of federal law. Colombia's paramilitaries are on the State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations. USAID's due diligence process "did not fail," according to an official response from the US embassy there, because Macaco was not officially listed among Coproagrosur's owners.

In addition to the $161,000 granted to Coproagrosur, USAID also awarded $650,000 to Gradesa, a palm company with two accused paramilitary-linked narco-traffickers on its board of directors. A third palm company, Urapalma, also accused of links with paramilitaries, nearly won approval for a grant before its application stalled because of missing paperwork. Critics say such grants defeat the antidrug mission of Plan Colombia.

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 12:04 AM
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Massacres and paramilitary land seizures behind the biofuel revolution
Colombian farmers driven out as armed groups profit
Lucrative 'green' crop less risky to grow than coca
Oliver Balch in Mutat and Rory Carroll in Cartagena
The Guardian, Tuesday 5 June 2007 00.07 BST

Armed groups in Colombia are driving peasants off their land to make way for plantations of palm oil, a biofuel that is being promoted as an environmentally friendly source of energy.

Surging demand for "green" fuel has prompted rightwing paramilitaries to seize swaths of territory, according to activists and farmers. Thousands of families are believed to have fled a campaign of killing and intimidation, swelling Colombia's population of 3 million displaced people and adding to one of the world's worst refugee crises after Darfur and Congo.

Several companies were collaborating by falsifying deeds to claim ownership of the land, said Andres Castro, the general secretary of Fedepalma, the national federation of palm oil producers.

"As a consequence of the development of palm by secretive business practices and the use of threats, people have been displaced and have claimed land for themselves," he said. His claim was backed up by witnesses and groups such as Christian Aid and the National Indigenous Organisation of Colombia.

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