Colombians willing to die to get their land back

Americas Now

Farmland in Uraba, Colombia.

Colombia’s 50-year armed conflict has forced tens of thousands of farmers and peasants off their land.  Now, as survivors try to recover that territory, they could lose their lives.

As Correspondent Toby Muse explains in his report, it is all part of an ambitious Land Restitution program that is seeking to right the wrongs of the past by returning territory to those who had it illegally taken from them. Many were small farmers. Most were forced from their land by armed groups during decades of violence between the government and paramilitary groups. 

The majority of the displaced re-located to cities where life was unfamiliar and they were unable to find work.

The government’s decision to return the stolen lands back to their rightful owners may seem like the just and obvious choice and an important one if the country is to achieve peace. However, as thousands of farmers now return to their lands, armed groups like guerillas, paramilitaries and drug traffickers, don’t want them back.

Activists have been representing the farmers fighting for the land. But some of those activists are receiving threats and being killed and now require bodyguards. Activists say that as long as these “mafias” operate in the countryside, they’ll continue to need constant protection. 

Watch Correspondent Toby Muse’s report from Uraba, Colombia on the risks of reclaiming lost land.


Colombians risk their lives to reclaim lost land

Colombians who were forced off their lands as a result of the country's 50-year armed conflict, are now seeking to reclaim them. It's part of the nation's Land Restitution program. Many of the displaced are farmers who re-located to cities and were unable to find work. The problem is much of the land is now in the hands of armed groups who don't want the farmers back. In fact, farmers are receiving death threats if they return. Correspondent Toby Muse reports for "Americas Now."