Colombian Poor Reclaim Lands Slated for Military Base

by Dawn Paley, Upside Down World

FORTUL, COLOMBIA — Holding down an occupation for five months isn't easy. Doing so in Colombia, even less so. But members of the community of Héctor Alirio Martínez in the municipality of Fortul, near the border with Venezuela, have raised the stakes even higher: they're occupying land owned by the Ministry of Defense. The 100-hectare terrain now spotted with wood and plastic homes was slated to become a large military base.

Locals say the land originally was purchased by Occidental Petroleum in order to build a large new base to coordinate protection of a new oil pipeline which passes less than a few hundred meters from the lot.

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