Sharp, timely and of national interest is German Vargas Leras’s analysis of the dynamics that crime has reached against private property, the effects it has and the scope it can have.
In his column “A la brava”, Vargas Leras describes how the invasions took place throughout the national territory, ignoring the sufficient legal framework on the matter, exceeding the legally established authority because lPeople feel that laws no longer apply, that authority does not intervene, and that in all cases the solution is agreement through sterile and endless dialogues. ¡Paradoxically, those who are protected are the invaders, for whom the authorities have activated all kinds of mechanisms for dialogue and consent!, he emphasizes.
Ask the government, as the majority of Colombians do, for definite instructions to prevent the spread of the invasions and, without premonition, warn that before long they began to take over houses, apartments, premises and offices in the cities. All this to say that this is not a rural problem.
This is the article published in El tiempo newspaper:
of the brave
The government should issue strict instructions to prevent this behavior from spreading.
By: German Vargas Leras
On August 23, 700 families invaded the El Guácimo estate, in the jurisdiction of Neiva. The squatters have said they will not leave until they get decent housing. And since 48 hours have passed since the seizure without the police inexplicably was kicked out, what comes now is the dialogue table with the mayor on board.
In Lorica, 1,300 people took over the farm of the Agricultural Technical Institute. They cut down the trees, planted kambuks and began to outline the paths of the future urbanization. Of course, they paralyzed the entire activity of the institute. Marco Palau says: “We asked for land and it seems to us that the land we occupy has lost its agricultural purpose.”
In La Jagua, Copey, La Gloria, Tamalameque, Astrea, San Martín and in Chimichagua, in Cesar, the invasions took place in 14 properties. All are waiting for dates to be set to serve the eviction orders. We’ll see what happens.
And in Valledupar, in Patillal, 12 hectares were taken with the argument that they should build their homes. Rodolfo Mejía, a representative, says, “We saw this opportunity to pick up a small lot.”
The worst happens in the northern part of Cauca. There, 71 properties with an extension of more than 5,000 hectares have been affected, which has already caused losses of more than 40,000 million pesos. In Corinth, hooded invaders claim the population has grown but the land has not, and confront sugar cane workers trying to protect their jobs.
Hundreds of cases have been recorded in Riojacha; in Santa Marta on a plot intended for the construction of a school; in Atlantico, in Baru, Bayunca and Playa Blanca in Bolivar; in Dagua, in the Valley; in Pereira, Manizales, Popayan, Monteria and Soacha, to name a few. In all of them, those affected and the town halls have stated that they do not have the support of the police for timely intervention within 48 hours. This is also the case in Bogotá, where we have already reached 2187 professions of this kind. And no one knows what the 630 complaints submitted to the prosecutor’s office for encroachment on lands and properties are for.
The art. 81 of the Police Code relating to “Preventive Actions in the event of a disturbance”, which indicated that the police would prevent a disturbance or expel those responsible within 48 hours of the occupation, became a dead letter, as did Art. 79, which establishes the possibility of lodging a complaint with the police inspector, who must order the eviction and carry it out within 24 hours of the occupation.
The art. 263 of the Criminal Code provides for imprisonment from 48 to 90 months for the crime of disorder. The owner may also initiate the retaliation claim through a civil proceeding. As can be seen, it is not that there are no clear rules and procedures in the country. The problem is that no one follows them. Complaints are also not processed and there is no other way except criminal actions, which are also not investigated. Has anyone been fined or even arrested for committing these crimes? I’m afraid not. Here, paradoxically, those who are protected are the invaders, for whom the authorities have activated all kinds of mechanisms for dialogue and consent.
It is very serious that these actions against private property, and also against public property, have no consequences, because the bad example spreads like lightning. Cases are multiplying all over the territory and it is natural that this is so because people feel that the laws no longer apply and the authority does not intervene and in all cases the solution is an agreement through sterile and endless dialogues. I’m afraid that it won’t be long before they start taking over houses, flats, premises and offices in the cities. Why not? A modern way to alienate.
The government should issue mandatory instructions to the authorities to prevent these behaviors from spreading and individuals or illegal groups taking over the protection of property by force, a phenomenon that is already beginning to be observed. Because on this, as on many other fronts, there can be no wrong messages. If in the election campaign, even inadvertently, these behaviors can be encouraged, it is time for the government to act decisively to dispel any doubts that compromise it and, as is its duty, to enforce the law.
GERMAN VARGAS LLERAS