Neither Justice nor Restitution, Lies, Death and Agrobusiness
The Humanitarian Zones of Jiguamiando and Curvarado, as a response to the proposals put forward in the El Tiempo newspaper by Eduardo Pizarro Leongomez, who, speaking as a spokesperson for the government in the United States, said that the territories had not been given back because the community was divided between those who wanted the palm (i.e., Oil or African Palm—SC), those who wanted to cut down the palm, and those who wanted to reach an agreement with the business people. The lands have not been returned and we are not included under Law 975. The declarations made by the president of the National Reconciliation and Reparation Commission are lies.
The inhabitants of the Humanitarian and Biodiversity Zones say that there is no will on the part of the Colombian state to return collective property, and that the Ministry of Agriculture continues favoring the agrobusinesses, environmental destruction and the destruction of mestizo and Afro-Colombian campesino identity. The Colombian government has made the presence of the banana firms of Urabá, like Banacol, Uniban and Zunisa, possible in their territories.
In the face of the lack of restitution of their property and the continuation of crimes within the territory as well as total impunity, the communities have made an urgent call.
Following is the communiqué of the Assoication of Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones of Curvarado.
Bogota, April 30, 2009
Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission
Communique to National and International Public Opinion
April 29, 2009
Biodiversity Zone of Cetino, River Curvarado basin, Carmen del Darien, Chocó
We, the inhabitants of the Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones of the Curvarado and Jiguamiando Rivers, members of the Community Councils of the area, declare:
That what was said by Mister Eduardo Pizarro Leon Gomez in a print medium, referring to the fact that collective territories were not turned over because of internal divisions in the communities has made it impossible for that handover to be carried out by the national government.
We deny what was said by Mister Eduardo Pizarro Leon Gomez, since we have always said to the government that the territory must be returned without conditions, and that we, as autonomous communities, will decide how it will be used once it is in our hands.
We thus demand of the government that it delivers the territory to us and not simply the palm plantations, since what was taken from us was the land, together with all our means of subsistence: crops, animals, forests and water. We also lost friends, family members and brothers and sisters. And these crimes continue to go unpunished.
We reject the implementation of other monocultures such as those of yucca, platano, banana, among others, which companies like Zunisa, Banacol and Uniban want to implement in our territory as a development project, and which are foreign to our vision, customs and traditions as communities.
We ask the national government to have the political will to carry out the physical return of the territory, without more complications and in the briefest possible time.
We hope that our brothers and sisters, and national and international friends, will continue supporting us in our defense of life and territory.
The Humanitarian Zones and Biodiversity Zones of Jiguamiando and Curvarado