La Esperanza and a Path to Return

La Esperanza and a Path to Return

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“The Community Council of La Esperanza made a decision to restore and protect the biodiversity of the territory, which has made us a stone in the shoe of the corrupt entrepreneurs and officials, who have taken advantage of our situation as displaced people and have permitted an invasion of strangers, recognized a parallel illegitimate board, and agreed to an ecocide, the buying and selling of a collective territory and the violation of our rights.”- Danay, community leader

For over 40 years, the Afro-Colombian community of La Esperanza have protected their biodiverse territory from outside interests. Then in 2003, they were displaced from their lands by paramilitary forces. In 2017, a Cali judge granted them provisional measures, recognizing their legal rights to those lands. However, this has not deterred external actors from taking over and selling off their lands to a powerful elite. The Community Council are in dialogue with the current mayor of Buenaventura about a process of return, but nothing definite has been set.

We made the following video with interviews and footage that community members have taken to show the damage being done to their territory, and their ardent will to return.

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