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“The problems faced by Costa Rican indigenous people are not new, they have been present their entire lives” said Sergio Rojas, leader of the National Indigenous Peoples Front in an interview with Real World Radio about the recent attack suffered by one of the eight Costa Rican indigenous peoples, the Bribri people, in Salitre Indigenous Territory, to the south of Costa Rica.
This new attack started on Saturday July 5, when 200 men threatened and beat several members of the community, including children, burning down their homes and belongings and preventing them from moving freely in their own territory. The community territory is illegally occupied by “non indigenous people” and companies that produce pine monoculture plantations.
There are over 100 Bribri families involved in the land recovery process started in Salitre in 2002. According to Rojas, there are three legal land recovery methods: “agrarian trials by agrarian courts; administrative evictions by the Public Security Ministry and evictions themselves, that are established by the International Indigenous Peoples Convention supported by the Constitutional Assembly of the country”.
“But “finqueros” (landowners), want the State to “return them the lands or to pay for them, when they are the ones who are illegally occupying our territory”, said Rojas.
With reference to the measures taken by the community to defend itself and protect their right to the territory, Rojas said that the community decided to organize a blockade 1 kilometer away from the blockade held by the invaders, to prevent the passing of more vehicles.
Secondly, in response to the government proposal to establish a dialogue table, the Salitre community set as a condition that the aggressors leave their territories immediately.
Imagen: Michelle Ferris
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