Catatumbo: conflict over rights to land, Colombia

Description
The farmers of the Catatumbo region have been protesting since 10 June 2013, demanding the (already promised creation) of a Farmers Reservation Zone (FRZ), sanctioned by law. The protests are the culmination of a long term ongoing conflict over land access rights and rising food insecurity in the region, and elsewhere in the country. The protests are taking place in an area traditionally within FARCs (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) territory, which has not helped the farmers' message being taken seriously, with local authorities have attributing the origin of the protests to the FARC movement and not to the citizens.

Basic Data
NameCatatumbo: conflict over rights to land, Colombia
CountryColombia
ProvinceNorth Santander
SiteCatatumbo
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Mineral ore exploration
Coal extraction and processing
Specific CommoditiesLand
Crude oil
Palm oil
Coal
Coca
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThere are several extractive industries projects. Peasant organizations ask for a very large ZRC (peasant reserve area).

Project Area (in hectares)97400
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population300000
Relevant government actorsColombian Ministry of Mines and Energy, Regulating Commission of energy, Gas , Union of Mineral and Energy Planning
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAsociación Campesina del Catatumbo (ASCAMAT), Christian Aid, Amnesty International, Luis Carlos Perez Lawyers Collective (CALCP), Asociación Nacional de Zonas de Reserva Campesina (ANZORC)
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Neighbours/citizens/communities
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Oil spills
Health ImpactsVisible: Malnutrition, Deaths
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusUnknown
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCriminalization of activists
Deaths
Land demarcation
Strengthening of participation
New strong claim for a ZRC, peasant reserve area, and opposition to extractive industries.
Development of AlternativesNew strong claim in 2013 for a ZRC,large peasant reserve area, and opposition to extractive industries.
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Problems have been ongoing for a long time, and no solution has been implemented besides on paper. The locals situation remains the same, and there have been no significant changes.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Law 160 approved in 1994 on peasant reserve areas (ZRC)

References

Colombia: Peasant Farmer Reserve Zone of the Cimitarra River Valley:
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Peasants petition video:
[click to view]

Alfredo Molano, Las guerras del Catatumbo I, Periódico El Espectador, 29/06/2013

Alfredo Molano, Crisis en el Catatumbo: la chispa es la erradicación, Periódico El Espectador, 30/06/2013

Darío Fajardo Montaña, La Zona de Reserva Campesina del Catatumbo: pertinencia y conveniencia, 23/07/2013

Links

Thousands of Protesting Colombian Farmers Request Asylum in Venezuela, Maduro Meets with Santos
[click to view]

Peasants and Miners Strikes Expand from Catatumbo to other Regions
[click to view]

Catatumbo Colombiano (blog)
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Media Links

Catatumbo Resiste
[click to view]

Catatumbo I
[click to view]

Catatumbo II
[click to view]

documentales de Holman Morris:

Meta Information
ContributorAna Barbara Gonçalves, JMA y TW
Last update08/04/2014
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