• Las Pavas Community Suffers New Intimidation and Harassment Tactics

    By on April 4, 2016

    Burned house and kitchen | Photo: Marian DeCouto

    Aggressions have increased in 2016 as the palm oil company Aportes San Isidro continues to harass and threaten the community of Las Pavas adding to their tactics the offering of monetary handouts, housing alternatives, signing lease contracts, and money towards agricultural projects with the promise to let them cultivate in peace.

    The farming community’s association ASOCAB continues to denounce these aggressions to no avail.  Even though there has been judicial and administrative movement that would appear to favour the community, the reality on the ground remains the same.  For this reason ASOCAB has published a public denouncement of the most recent events in hopes that the authorities will put an end to the impunity.

  • Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

    By on November 11, 2015

    Misael Payares, a leader of Las Pavas negotiates with riot police during the eviction of 2009.

    In Colombia the problem is not so much unjust laws, as it is the failure to apply existing laws and legislation in a timely manner. The communities Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Colombia accompany are hugely affected by these failures, as is the entire country. In effect such delays result in the continued impunity for perpetrators of crimes, thereby undermining the rule of law’s ability to prevent future crimes. Victims are not only denied justice and compensation; they are also at risk of becoming repeat victims of repeat offenders.
  • An Aportes San Isidro palm oil worker tends to recently planted palm trees that surround young yucca and plantain trees.

    Constitutional Court Ruling Changes the Game in Favour of Las Pavas

    By on October 1, 2015

    An Aportes San Isidro palm oil worker tends to recently planted palm trees that surround young yucca and plantain trees.

    Yesterday, the Constitutional court removed two articles from the Agrarian Law that have been used by large landowners – who have acquired land through illegal means – and have prevented the Colombian state in recovering these said lands. From now forward, INCODER’s – the Colombian institute that regulates land titling – ruling cannot be suspended in the event of an appeal for revision.

    Two years ago, INCODER ruled that the disputed territory of Las Pavas belonged to the state, through a process of imminent domain.

  • Public Denouncement from ASOCAB facing further threats

    By on August 18, 2015

    On August 6th the Las Pavas community met with the mayor of El Peñon, the Police Inspector, the Police...

  • Denouncement from Las Pavas – Company Continue Attacks

    By on April 28, 2015
    The community of Las Pavas has seen significant rise in attacks over the last month by security personnel from palm oil company Aportes San Isidro. Since mid-march company security head, Mario Marmol and about 70 other company workers have harassed community members preventing them from preparing the land for the planting season. They continue to prevent free movement and have even begun constructing a company house right next to where the community members are cultivating new land. The police continue to call this a neighborly dispute and have refrained from taking effective action.

     La Asociación de Campesinos de Buenos Aires – ASOCAB

    Denuncia Públicamente

    En ejercicio de nuestros derechos como víctimas de desplazamiento forzado en proceso de retorno a nuestro territorio y con el ánimo de volver las cosas a como eran antes del despojo que se nos hiciera el 14 de julio de 2009, tras decisiones judiciales ilegales que fueron dejadas sin efecto por la Corte Constitucional en su sentencia T-267 de 2011, en los primeros días del mes de marzo iniciamos labores agrícolas en varios sectores de la Hacienda Las Pavas que no estaban siendo explotados de nuestras tierras, una vez estuvimos allí fuimos agredidos por trabajadores de la empresa liderados por el señor MARIO MARMOL MONTERO, como pusimos resistencia fueron aumentando el número de jornaleros hasta llegar a alrededor de 70 hombres, contratando campesinos de la región para ponerlos a chocar con nosotros.

  • Justice Favours the Powerful

    By on February 9, 2015
    The universe will test you in unexpected ways. Whenever I think I’ve learned something, it often feels like the universe’s gigantic head shakes itself at my presumption and throws me something new to help me reconsider my new-found wisdom in a new light. What appears to be a simple situation proves to be profoundly complex. A person who I’ve labeled “difficult” in my head reveals the motivations behind their actions and I begin to understand that my view of them was less complete than previously believed. I convince myself that I’ve become a good sport in board games, and then throw a temper tantrum when crushed anew in Settlers of Catan…

    Most recently that challenge came in facing the realities of a broken justice system.

  • Las Pavas Questions Collective Reparation Program

    By on November 7, 2014
    On Wednesday, September 17 the Victims Unit (Unidad de Victimas) and the Colombian Institute for Rural Development (INCODER) visited the Las Pavas community to move the Collective Reparation process forward. They also investigated violations that the Aportes San Isidro (ASI) palm oil company has committed against the community.  The first was the reinstallation of a gate that prevents Las Pavas community members from travelling on the main road to their farms, forcing them to take a difficult detour through the jungle. The second was the construction of a house and resettlement of a family on Las Pavas land.  The latter is an illegal invasion of state land.
  • Heroe

    By on August 14, 2014
    The first time I met my hero she was indistinguishable really.  One of a dozen dusty, carefree children congregated like a school of fish on the edge of town as they dreamed up their next adventure.  Buenos Aires seemed to be one of the best places on earth to be a kid, a small, quiet riverside town where they were free to be queens and kings of their own destiny and a whole jungle out back to explore.

    The only reason she became singled out from the crowd, highlighted as unique among the mob of Indiana Jones’, came to me as a warning: “that one over there, the angelic, sweet, little girl with the springy curls and big smile?  

  • Las Pavas Denounces Acts of Agression

    By on August 8, 2014
    On August 4th, the community of Las Pavas publicly denounced constant aggressions committed by the palm company Aportes San Isidro and the lack of government response regarding the actions of this company.  The community, to whom the government has allocated the Las Pavas farm (2012) and who are legally recognized as having been displaced by paramilitaries in 2003 (2013), continue to be affected by the palm company’s disregard for the legal system.  Aportes San Isidro has committed various attacks against the community which generate terror, despair, and social breakdown in the community.  The community of Las Pavas also denounces the lack of guarantees from the State, to whom they have reported many times their vulnerable situation and the violence enacted against their members.
  • The Gate

    By on April 22, 2014

    The Papayal

    On April 16th, 2014, 12 people from different places traveled by van, motorized canoe, and foot.  The goal was to reach the community of Las Pavas, to meet their people and carry out our main purpose for the week (to organize a non-violent public action) and that was what gave us strength to continue on our route.

    We arrived to a community in mourning, days of pain for the death of a community member.  Rogelio Campos Gonzales, also known as “Pipio”, died on April 13th, after suffering a heart attack.  Those living on the farm remain with the question, “if the patrolled gate did not exist, would it have been possible to avoid this tragedy?”

    The delegation visiting Pipio’s parcel of land

    The gate for the people of Las Pavas represents oppression, death, isolation, discrimination, humiliation, and prison.