Former Columbia Governor Alvaro Uribe instructed his allies in Congress, who formed a majority, to block passage of a bill that would have provided for, among other things, reparations and restoration of stolen property to victims of the paramilitaries. The bill, he argued, would entail costs too heavy for the state coffers to handle.
Testimony of former paramilitary chief Jairo Castillo “Pitirri” reveals the conspiracy between Uribe, far-right paramilitaries, agribusiness owners, and public employees of all levels. The paramilitaries were the ones doing the killing, others would follow behind, buying up the land, and then others would legalize the new ownership of the land. The aim was to keep the properties from being registered in the victim reparations funds to be created under the Law on Justice and Peace, to avoid handling them over in compensation, as part of the process of restoration of stolen property. Most of the millions of hectares of land that had been seized were put in the name of dummy companies and front men or sold to business people that also financed the election campaigns of close Uribe allies.
Title: Columbia: The Violent ‘Agrarian Counter-Reform’ Conspiracy
Author: Constanza Vieira
Source: CommonDreams.org, 8/22/10
Student Researcher: Caitlin Morgan, Sonoma State University
Faculty Advisor: Peter Phillips, Sonoma State University