Land restitution: the case of Hacienda Bellacruz

The Foundation Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (FCSPP) also provides integral accompaniment and legal representation for farming communities in land restitution cases. The case of Hacienda Bellacruz, now known as Hacienda La Gloria in southern Cesar, is perhaps its most emblematic. It seemed that the story would never end, but nonetheless the Constitutional Court ruled on 12th May 2016 in favour of 500 farmers who were violently robbed of their land – through murder, torture, displacement, exile, rape, the burning of their homes – by paramilitary groups of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) and the Marulanda family, twenty years ago.[1]

With this decision, the Court granted the displaced families the right to recover the lands which were unduly adjudicated in 2008 by the company Dolce Vita to develop, together with Grupo Agroindustrial Hacienda La Gloria, a large scale palm oil cultivation project, in which German Efromovich, the current president of Avianca airline, heavily invested.[2]

“It is an historic and transcendental judgement which confirms the community’s rights, for which it has fought the last 25 years, their right to land and a dignified life, we hope that the State’s relevant institutions will implement the judgement immediately and that German Efromovich gives back all the land so that it too can be allocated. (Zoraida Hernandez, lawyer and member of FCSPP)

In the meantime, the community continues to be displaced and waits for the land authorities to comply with the orders of the Constitutional Court, and for their rights to be reinstated.


[1] FCSPP: Fallo histórico de la corte constitucional ampara a campesinos de la hacienda Bella Cruz, 13 May 2016
[2] Verdad Abierta: Restitución en sur del Cesar, con sabor agridulce, 8th March 2014; Verdad Abietrta: La historia sin fin de La Bellacruz, 20 November 2014; Verdad Abierta: Una victoria para los campesinos de La Bellacruz, 24 July 2015; FCSPP: Ibíd, 2016; El Tiempo: Corte ordena adjudicar emblemática hacienda en Cesar a campesinos, 12 May 2016; FCSPP: Ibíd.

*Cover photograph: courtesy of FCSPP

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