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14 July 2011 | | | |

The land is our greatest richness

Costa Rica: Keköldi indigenous community resists eviction

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Nearly ten families of the Keköldi community of the Talamanca indigenous territory, Costa Rica, were violently evicted from their homes on July 1st by riot police and officers of the judiciary.

Most of the adults were arrested, while the children were threatened at gun point inside their own houses by private security guards of Italian businessman Idolo Mastronei, who reclaims the indigenous lands. Mastronei had filed a legal action to demand 50 hectares of those lands, which led to the eviction.

Real World Radio’s correspondent in Costa Rica, Henry Picado (member of COECOCEIBA- Friends of the Earth Costa Rica) interviewed two members of the Keköldi community. A precautionary measure of Bribi’s attorney’s office in Talamanca now forbids the evicted families to return to their own homes and to take care of their harvest. The Costa Rican government boasts about its defense of human rights, but it systematically violates 169 Convention of the International Labour Organization (ILO), which recognizes the indigenous right of territorial autonomy, as exposed by the residents of Kekôldi community.

One of the members of the community, Norma Luz Segura Pino, reported the ill-treatment and the aggressions suffered on the day of the eviction.

The organization Talamanca For Life and For Land, which works with local indigenous peoples, expressed its solidarity with Keköldi community in this fight for the defense of the territory. Besides, several indigenous communities pressured the national government to demand the return of the lands to its traditional residents.

Meanwhile, another affected resident, Jaco Mayorga Mora, said that despite the disputed lands were recognized by the state as indigenous territories in 2001, they were then auctioned and purchased by Mastronei, knowing it was an illegal act.

Photo: Henry Picado

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