MARCA: We are not an armed group nor invaders
The Authentic Campesino Reclamation Movement of the Aguán (MARCA) rejected the police version of the alleged taking of the farms La Trinidad, La Despertar, and San Esteban by armed groups in the conflict zone of the Aguán.The campesino group is referring to a news report published in this newspaper titled "Violence and Vandalism Raged in the Lower Aguán", which cited statements by attorney Juan Fraño, delegate of the National Commissioner for Human Rights (CONADEH) and by police authorities in Tocoa.As quoted from a MARCA press statement, "In the case of the farm La Trinidad, on February 15, 2010, we, the members of the cooperative, filed a lawsuit for nullification of public documents, which included contracts, registrations and an "Act of Assembly," all of which had been forged by former members of the cooperative. As a result we obtained a ruling which states that the lands belonging to La Trinidad are, since June 12, 2012, legally registered in favor of our members in the Property Registry of Trujillo, Colón. On June 29, 2012, we took possession by court order per appropriate authorities."They add, "Currently the aforementioned case is in the required consultation of the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, so we emphatically reject the assertion that, as has been stated, this 'farm is currently taken by armed groups.' What strikes us is that both CONADEH and the Departmental Headquarters of the Colon Police, as well as Task Force Xatruch, are all aware that we have clearly won the judgment in the Sectional Court of Trujillo, and it was they who, by court order, assisted us in taking possession of the land on the date mentioned above. Presently, they are fully informed of the legal status of our judgment, and the verification by public deeds, that we are the rightful owners of the property in question."In the case of La Despertar, MARCA members said they filed, in the Courts of Civil Documents, a regular nullification of public documents, which contain contracts and their registration certificates, as well as the acts of assembly that had also been forged by former members of the cooperative, which appears in the file no. 2479-2010."As a result we obtained judgment which declares the absolute nullity of Public Documents No. 74 and 75, dated April 27, 1994, which legally registers the lands belonging to the finca in the name of our memebers in the Property Registry of Trujillo, Colón. And through the compliance with the order, we took possession of the land on June 29, 2012. That case is also going through the required consultation in the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court," the press release stated.
Regarding San Esteban, MARCA explained that this property is currently incorporated into the Business Plan which they signed with President Porfirio Lobo Sosa and National Agrarian Institute authorities on May 24, 2011. "They signed a purchase agreement for the sale of land through BANPROVI funds which are being made effective, and monthly dues have been agreeded upon, so we also strongly reject the misguided remarks published in the newspaper La Prensa," the campesino movement members emphasized.MARCA maintains that, "the agricultural cooperatives, members of our association, have, in order to recover the lands that belong to us, historically used peaceful means, and we have gone to the appropriate courts, as guaranteed by the right to petition contained in Article 80 of the Constitution.""We make this public clarification so that no person, especially those without knowledge of the judicial process nor of the agreements we have signed with the President of the Republic, as well as the court orders with which we have taken possession of our farms, can say such atrocities as "farms taken by armed groups," something which we reject and condemn as false and biased, and created to give us the appearance of, and include us in, organized crime groups."
The campesino organization stresses that, "We are an organization which frames its actions through strict adherence to the law. We emphasize that we took possession of the property accompanied by the same authorities who now distort the true facts."The statement added, "We urge Ramon Custodio, National Commissioner for Human Rights, to instruct his delegate in Tocoa, Colón to not make false statements, and to engage in research before making statements that damage the integrity of our members and the members of our cooperative partners." We are campesinos dedicated to working our land, and we have no connection to organized crime. As we have no history of acts outside the framework of the law, to which the police and military should be able to attest.""We publicly guarantee that it is through court decisions and business agreements with funds from BANPROVI that we have come into lawful possession of our lands. We do not give up our rights to any citizen or officer so that they can include La Trinidad, La Desperta, San Isidro or San Esteban in their blacklists of "farms taken by armed groups."The statement concludes, "We are citizens too, who have rights! We will not permit the fouling of the names of our united cooperatives in MARCA."
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