The Colombian conflict has left 158,000 displaced in the Montes de María

More than 158,000 victims of displacement and some 82,600 hectares of land have been abandoned in the last 30 years of violence in the Montes de María, one of the subregions hardest hit by the armed conflict in the Colombian Caribbean, revealed a report published on Thursday.

The study "Montes de María Bajo Fuego" details how criminal groups, in complicity with members of the armed forces and the State, carried out multiple violent actions in that area to "maintain and deepen the concentration of land and give way to the industrialization of the countryside".

The document, prepared by at least 150 people from the Consultancy for Human Rights and Displacement (Codhes), the Displaced Population Organizations of Montes de María and other institutions, was delivered today to the Jesuit priest Francisco de Roux, president of the Commission for the Clarification of Truth.

"We are facing a sacred reality. (...) I want to thank all the institutions that participated for the force with which you collect the cry of so many people who died dreaming that a day like today would be possible," said De Roux during a virtual forum.


According to the report, from the second half of the 1990s with the arrival of paramilitaries in the region and the support of state sectors, the massacres and the forced displacement of peasants began.

The war with the former FARC guerrilla and drug trafficking actors left more than 158,000 victims and more than 82,600 hectares abandoned by the peasants due to the terror that armed actions planted in them.

The document also details how the FARC, which was consolidated between 1987 and 2007 in this complex located between the departments of Sucre and Bolívar, violated prosperous peasants in the region, accusing them of supporting paramilitarism.

The guerrillas, who in the mid-1990s strengthened their military activity, were awarded "13 townships in the area and years later, around 2001, they demolished 50 power towers and held more than 40 battles with the army".


With the intervention of the paramilitaries and their actions protected by the "Convivir" private security cooperatives, the conflict in Montes de María became more complex and exacerbated.

According to the document, "between 1996 and 2001, the paramilitaries carried out more than 70 massacres against peasants in the towns and villages, which they arbitrarily considered were supposed support from the guerrillas."

This action was committed by the hand of local and regional State institutions, together with the representative family clans of the power elites of the region and linked to drug trafficking.

Regarding the role of drug trafficking, the report states that the cultivation of plants for illegal use was not the direct cause of the confrontation of the armed groups in the Montes de María because there was no widespread planting in that region and because the FARC was not part of it. of the business in that area.

However, drug trafficking was essential in the conflict because it became the fuel for paramilitary action in the region.


The report also indicates that the Colombian State did not fulfill its mission of protection and guarantee to the victimized sectors, but instead "had direct responsibilities for action or omission."

According to the document, today there are still violent actions inherited by armed groups that "through the drug trafficking business, continue to sow violence in the region and re-victimize its inhabitants."

"The haze of war continues in the territories. Today the victims are waiting for a committed institution to respond as a system. Peace is a human commitment to collective actions," said Miguel Miranda, delegate of the Displaced Population Organizations of Montes de María .

Regarding the relevance of the study, the priest Francisco de Roux stated: "You (the victims) know in your bodies, in the pain of your lands and in the flight of families who were subjected to violence, and speak from there. They have a moral authority that no one else has in Colombia. "


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