Colombian peace deal allows for return of seized land

World Today

The Colombian government estimates that between 6.5 million to 10 million hectares of land has been abandoned, or illegally acquired by violence, during the country’s 50-year armed conflict. While the peace deal addresses land redistribution, the government has already been working for the past five years to return property to the millions of victims who lost their properties during the fighting.

CCTV America’s Michelle Begue reports the story.

The inhabitants of the Colombian town called La Secreta, “The Secret” in English, have lived through the country’s darkest times. In the last two decades they have been forcefully displaced by criminal groups three times.

“Fear got a hold of us and we would have to leave again. There were a couple of courageous ones that stayed and thankfully nothing happened to them,” said Juan Alberto, a resident of La Secreta.

In 2011, the Colombian government passed the Land Restitution Law. It aims to compensate the millions of victims who lost their lands during the armed conflict. Residents of “The Secret” are beneficiaries of this law.

Even though there is still room for growth, the people of “The Secret” consider the land restitution project a success.

Coffee is cultivated and roasted by the community. They have come together to form AGROSEC, an association of organic coffee producers that exports to Japan and the United States.

Promotion of rural development has been at the center of the peace deal between the Colombian government and FARC rebels. With the signing of the agreement, many hope it will encourage more displaced farmers to return home.

FARC holds nightly celebrations ahead of peace deal

When most Colombians hear the name FARC, they think of a drug-trafficking, terrorist organization. Not a salsa orchestra on a big stage.

These are historic and strange times for the FARC. There’s a carnival atmosphere as the FARC meets for its 10th conference. They party with the optimism that one of the world’s longest-running civil wars will shortly end.

CCTV’s Toby Muse reports the story

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