COLOMBIA: Good news for Las Pavas! Government revokes gun permits for Aportes San Isidro security guards.
The Superintendencia de Vigilancia y Seguridad Privada (The Superintendent of Vigilance and Private Security), the government institution that regulates surveillance and grants firearms licenses for private security firms has revoked Aportes San Isidro SA’s license, stripping the right of the corporation’s private guards to bear arms.
Since mid 2011, under the leadership of Mario Marmol, the head of security for palm company Aportes San Isidro SA and company lawyer Danilo Palacio, the campesino community of Las Pavas has suffered many incidents of harassment and injury by the company’s armed security.
The presence of armed men on the farm has created an overall insecure work environment for community members who spend much of their day in pairs or alone working the land. The community’s animals and food crops have been destroyed and killed, theirranchos have been torn down, and members of the community have been shot at and attacked. These acts of intimidation and terrorism have not only threatened the community’s food security but have created a climate of forced displacement, an experience etched deep in the historical memory of the community. The violence perpetrated by the company’s thugs has increased in proportion to the legal decisions ruled in favor of the community.
The Superintendent’s decision is a positive step in guaranteeing the safety, freedom of movement and right to a livelihood of the community. However, considering the historical ineffectiveness of the local police force in enforcing the court’s decisions and protecting the rights of the people, it remains to be seen if these decisions will have a concrete, positive impact for the community.
Reprinted with permission from CPT.org.