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National Army Brigade 17 supports illegality

Intimidation of the community leader EUSTAQUIO POLO, corporate infiltration inside the Incoder, preparation of the forest cutting in Jiguamiando, negative effects of palm pesticides on the health of women, repopulation in Andalucia and El Guamo.

Reminder The agro-industrial palm project implanted illegally on the collective territory of the Afro-Colombian communities of the Curvarado and Jiguamiando is counting on the support of the National Army Brigade 17 and the paramilitary groups. Moreover, the palm growers are using « legal » strategies intending to contract « strategic alliances » with the communities in order for them to participate in the growing of the palm. For example, they pretended to legalize the illegal action by substituting MARIA LIGIA CHAVERRA, legal representative of the communities, by MANUEL MOYA LARA, who favours the interests of the palm growers.

Summary of recent events In the last week in March, fraudulent negotiations signed by a legal representative of the communities with the companies who took collective land with paramilitary action, lead to pressure on the inhabitants of the Community Council of El Guamo. The community leader of El Guamo, EUSTAQUIO POLO, was intimidated by the Brigade 17 because he had objected to the development of the illegal agro-industry in the Curvarado territory. His life and personal integrity are in danger following the military’s warnings. Also, members of the community were blocked from freely circulating and were stigmatized for expressing their disapproval against the agro-industrial projects planned for El Guamo. Last April 13th, the Incoder’s delimitation process was started through two resolutions (see DeVer 328 which acknowledge the individual property of 211 titles concerning close to 7892 hectares inside the collective Territory, which surely coincide with the illegal plantations of palm. The day before, in the afternoon, after the informative meeting open to all people concerned in Belén de Bajirá, a civil servant of the Incoder, along with the palm growers and the false legal representative MANUEL MOYA LARA, defined steps allowing that « the companies’ investments would not be lost and that strategic alliances would be realized ». The levels of corruption and infiltration of the contractors are obvious. The use of high chemical concentration pesticides for the protection of the palm is affecting health conditions of the women in the Humanitarian Zone of Caño Claro Andalucia, as well as poisoning the Caño Claro river water, affecting aquatic species and the foodchain of afro-Colombians.