Campesinos Kicked Out of Capital

December 23, 2005

VARIOUS campesino groups protesting in San José were told this year to get out, leaving behind only graffiti in their memory.

 

The Bambuzal campesinos, who last year spent three months living in the Metropolitan Cathedral in downtown San José, returned this year, although in lesser numbers. Approximately 40 landless men, women and children spent four months camping out on the steps of the Goicochea Courthouse in San José awaiting a judge to hear the case of their land dispute with Standard Fruit Company, a subsidiary of Dole. The parties are fighting over rights to the El Bambuzal farm in Río Frío de Sarapiquí, northeast of San José on the border of Limón province.

 

In June, the protesters were removed by police and ordered to stay away from

the court.

 

Three months earlier, a group of former gold panners was sent packing from their camp in front of Casa Presidencial in Zapote, east of San José, where they had spent six months demanding reparations from the government. The oreros said they were owed money because they were kicked off land in the Southern Zone they had once mined until it was turned into two national parks.

 

Despite their lengthy presence outside Casa Presidencial, the eviction of their tent city went nearly unnoticed because it took place on March 24, Jueves Santo, a legal holiday preceding Easter.

 

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