Former FORPP accompanier Julia with poet and Nilo community member Milton S. Morales Sánchez

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Since 1954, the campesinos of Mesabaja, Naranjala and La Yucala in the community of Nilo (Cundinamaca) have lived through constant harrasment from the military base of Tolemaida. Their land was restricted, impairing the growth of important commercial crops, chiefly the yuca, the river has been contaminated, and the fish have practically disappeared. In addition, for two months one of the villages lost vehicular access because the base blocked the road. Nonetheless, every day the campesinos continue to defend their culture, keeping alive the practices that are part of campesino life in the region. One of the members of the community wrote this poem to summarize the recent history of Nilo and pass on a message of resistance.

Against the Tolemaida fort
A poem by Milton S. Morales Sánchez

Colombia is a beautiful country, where the laws flood,
despite all of this, many times, in various scenarios,
they hold us back from our right to self-expression,
because of this comrades, give me your attention,
and listen as I tell my story from the center of the nation.

I am the son of Nilo, Cundinamarca,
and with these words today I will give vent,
to the great conflict that lives in Tolemaida,
as we confront the military fort.

Villages of Mesabaja, Naranjala and La Yucala,
with these verses today I will tell,
of the abuses and violations that we suffer from the fort.

Thanks to God and organizations,
they are made to respect our rights,
because our culture is campesino,
and they will not displace us from our territory.

As if the military came before us,
they treat us like delinquent invadors, destroying our culture and knowledge,
crops, homes and the foundation of our families.

They recruit rural and urban youth,
to then force them to violate human rights;
but with my story, I want to remind the army,
what the constitution says was the reason to form the great military power:
it was to defend the Colombian people
and not for our rights to be trampled upon.

In other words, in the fort of Tolemaida,
there is no commander that can I could speak well of
because in my memory I remember nothing good about them:
if the army was going to kill my father.

And with that, for now, I want to end, gathering all of my story;
comrades, this is something I want you to remember:
that while they want to displace the campesino to the city,
our beautiful Colombia will never have peace.