Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Displaced from South Tolima

Today I had another reminder that, even with peace negotiations with the FARC guerrillas starting up, organized violence continues preying on civilians in many parts of Colombia's countryside.

These displaced campesinos from the southern part of Tolima Department were protesting on Plaza Bolivar today, demanding that the government provide them with new farmland and other support.

The people either didn't know or feared to say which violent group had driven them from their farms. South Tolima is a fertile region which produces coffee, cacao, sugar cane and other crops, they said.

Unfortunately for its residents, however, the region is also an export corridor for cocaine headed toward Colombia's Pacific Coast and ultimately the United States.

The men chained themselves together,
if only symbolically. 
"Over there there are FARC guerrillas, paramilitaries and narcotraffickers," one man told me.

As for the FARC, who claim to no longer hold any kidnappees, continue recruiting children to become guerrilla fighters, according to news reports.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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