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Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Colombian Land is Becoming Foreign-Owned

Domingo, 05 de Diciembre de 2010 12:09 Wilson Arias – PDA

Fuente: CEDIN


(Translated by Carrie Burkhardt, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN's Volunteer Editor.)

The Chinese and Brazilians would be the principal buyers of land in Colombia. There may be several irregularities in the acquisition. They would have even received resources from Secure Agricultural Income. Also the Gulf countries, India and Japan, among others, aspire to keep a great extent of Latin America. The financial crisis and the lack of water and land are among the lure of the phenomenon. It is urgent to reform the Constitution in order to, in part, prohibit the sale of Colombian land to foreign countries and companies and, also to guarantee the production and consumption of food for the Colombians. This is the way to avoid hunger and the dependence of our nation, claimed the congressmen Hernando Hernández and Wilson Arias, in a documented debate cited in the 5th Commission of the House of Representatives yesterday.

The parliamentarians of the Alternative Democratic Pole reported that, before the lack of land and water in their own territories, a group of nations with large economic resources is monopolizing the most amount of land that it can. "Some countries threatened by such purchases defend themselves, but in the case of Colombia, the public government officials give them grants, including that of the Secure Agricultural Income," reported the Cogressman Wilson Arias.

They choose to buy even countries that suffer hunger (such as Cambodia and Sudan), but whose governments are indolent before the poverty of their towns and the loss of sovereignty. The "players" of those new businesses are governments, but by preference they do it through their Transnational Companies and of the financial sector, eager for profitability that comes from the food crisis. Everything under the guidelines of the World Bank claims the "speeding up" of the international market of lands and the institutional, territorial and infrastructural suitability, in the way of TLC.

"Several days ago the President of the SAG explained that China wanted to purchase 400,000 hectares in which the sowing, supplies, equipment, machinery, and workers would be Chinese, and the destination of the grain (rice) there produced would also be Chinese. It is the typical link, in the framework of the agrarian colonialism.

A singular case appears in Brazil in Latin America. Like several other governments of the region, that of Brazil has conceived a constitutional reform that prohibits the massive purchase of land by other nations and external companies. But their own private companies have begun to monopolize land in the brother countries.

Such is the case of the business group Mónica Semillas, that has used the consent of Colombian civil servants that have permitted them to violate legislation, like acquiring large extensions using "division" in order to violate the legal limitation of the size of the purchase (Family Farm Unit), and in some zones besides using the promotion and stimulus supposedly reserved for the small national producers.

The Representatives of the House specified: "In the Orinoquía they are making adaptations to prices, large investments, works of infrastructure, irrigation districts, highways, and even delivering subsidies that are not reimbursable from Secure Agriculture Income not only to the large Colombian employers but, for greater embarrassment, with destination at foreign companies like Mónica Semillas." "If it is already unbearable that everything goes to the large businessmen while the small producers and Colombian farmers are ruined every day, more than that the understood benefits in name of those, they devote themselves to foreign companies that come to monopolize our land."

The project of the Orinoquía, like in general that of the large plantation with its destination at the agricultural exportations, responds the "Carimagua model," in other words, the land property of the large owners is even more concentrated; they arrange enormous public investments; ignores the alimentary necessities of the population and drives out the peasants or submits him to a "monopsonico" market (single buyer), where the large landholder sets the conditions, imposes an disadvantageous "association" that catches them in a circle of credit, environment, distribution, and conditioned commercialization, sometimes alone and object of great pressures including violent pressure, when he does not surrender as an peon of the estate, under systems of labor in the Worker Cooperative.

The Representatives Arias and Hernández, demanded from the government the defense of the sovereignty, of the concept of Nation and of the territorial integrity; they asked the organization of control to investigate the grave accusations mentioned and the explained that the Alternative Democratic Pole is preparing a Legislative Act that limits the sale of land to foreign companies and governments.

This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.



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