Re: Columbia: drugland goes to homeless

JENNAFER WAGGONER (refugee@gte.net)
Mon, 27 Aug 1956 12:59:48 +0000


World Homeless Union wrote:
> 
> Thursday, April 16, 1998 Published at 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
> 
> Homeless get former drug baron's land
> 
> Columbian President Ernesto Samper gives a land title to
> Marta Montoya, a refugee
> 
> The Colombian government has handed over a lavish ranch
> that once belonged to the notorious drug-trafficker, Pablo
> Escobar, to homeless people displaced by the country's
> guerrilla insurgency.
> 
> The ranch, which once contained luxurious buildings,
> swimming pools and a private zoo with elephants, zebras,
> and giraffes, was seized by the state nearly ten years
> ago.
> 
> But legal disputes held up the transfer of ownership until
> now, although his private menagerie was broken up and
> donated to Columbian zoos.
> 
> The government has confiscated thousands of properties
> bought with drugs money over the past few years, but very
> few have been re-distributed.
> 
> It wasn't until the end of 1996 that the Colombian
> congress passed a law allowing the government to seize and
> re-distribute property linked to drug bosses and their
> families.
> 
> The government eventually plans to hand over confiscated
> property worth more than $2bn to the nearly 1m peasants
> displaced by the conflict between the government and drug
> traffickers.
> 
> 100 families to occupy estate
> 
> In a ceremony, President Ernesto Samper handed over the 44
> square kilometre estate to the first 10 of 100 families
> that will eventually set up homes there.
> 
> "As of today, the Napoles estate will cease to be the
> symbol of an era of sorrow and humiliation and become the
> home of humble peasants who will sow its lands with new
> fruits of hope," he said.
> 
> Escobar was killed by police in Medellin in December 1993.
> 
> He began building the Napoles estate in 1979, naming it in
> honour of the Italian mafia with whom he was already doing
> business.
> 
> The decision to give the estate to displaced people was
> made despite the fact that the local authorities said the
> estate wasn't suitable for farming and should be turned
> into a tourist complex.
> 
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