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As how a people is destroyed

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kentA popular adage says that when you want to understand the situation of others you have to stand in their shoes. Gentlemen: The name of this presentation may sound hard, but hard has been our reality. To destroy a people is enough to take away the people's faith, there beliefs, to take away their language, radically change the economic order and invade their territory in mass, with a bigger number than the original ones. (*)


A little over a year before the ICJ ruling on the territorial dispute Nicaragua / Colombia on Colombian Caribbean waters in the Exclusive Economic Exploitation Zone favoring the Central American country due to our inept defense, on January 17, 2011, our Ministry of Foreign Affairs Chancery wrote to the Ministry of Culture which was to examined the nomination of Marine Protected Area and Biosphere Reserve Seaflower of the Archipelago of San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina, ordering that "... progress is not considered relevant in the presentation of the application ..." to be high as a World Heritage Site by Unesco.

Analyzing the decision of the High Court of the United Nations in its judgment of 19/11 of 2012, specific mention is made on a couple of absences in the petitions and pleadings of the parties: None related food and economic dependence of the inhabitants, that is , ancestral inhabitants of the resources in the disputed area, and non references was made to the protection, sustainability and environmental balance of the existing natural life.

For more than a decade-long, individuals, grassroots organizations and authorities clamored for the inclusion of a raizal within the team responsible for the defense of the interests of Colombia, but was not being heard. None individual of these islands was part of the Colombian delegation to The Hague in the process.

When France was responsible for the construction of the Panama canal being Colombian, the British made their presence in the Mosquitia coast and apparently promoted the invasion made on this strip by Nicaragua in 1894 without any proper response to the usurpation of the national territory. We believe that we were not recognized as Colombians in our Capital and cared very little about of the native islanders lands.

Also there was no recognition when Law 52 of 1912, promoted on the islands settlement because being the area most densely populated in the country since then and until today, article 14 is ordered to move with all expenses paid to families or groups of four or more persons intending to settle in the islands.

At the end of the 1920s., the Archipelago was declared 'Tierra de Misiones', a category reserved for wild and uncivilized communities perceived them to be delivered to the Catholic Church for its management- but in our case being more modern than most mainland without illiterate, it was to impose the Spanish language, with budgetary autonomy over education, against the English and Creole that was known, and to promote an uneven campaign to overturns the religion practiced by the raizal population.

However, it was more efficient and effective the subjugation against the ancestral population with changing economic order. With the declaration of Freeport since 1953, a system that did not included native islander population which was nearly 100 percent at the time, was put in place that favor others.

It was the economic system imposed not to favor the ancestral inhabitants, so came people "imported" from all over, to win that lottery. From that breaks the invasion and the immediate aftermath occurs an excessive and disproportionate population growth with their characteristics, languages other than known by raizal population, practices and customs, different lifestyles that clashed and a mass that invades and imposes conditions leaving relegated to the defenseless native in insurmountable circumstances.

The unplanned Freeport means higher profits for an ever smaller number of people, where 90% of workers dependent on trade and tourism are paid equal to the legal minimum wage whose purchasing power in our territory is reduced close to 60% compared to other capital cities.

At some advice on possible tourism development on the islands, a university lender suggested moving the native settlers to an area of the continental Colombian Caribbean coast for agricultural destination.

In 60 years the raizal population has lost more than 50% of the land, which includes the grounds of major advantages and possibilities of profit, and have gone from being 98% of the population at that time to a mere 35% of the total today ... And most alarming is that the number of people six decades ago was less than 6,000 around the archipelago and now exceeds, at least 70,000 alone on the island of San Andres, without basic sufficient resources, and surpassing the rational capacity load.

Some of these realities, or all should lead you to think, to understand how the patriotism of our parents, in our grandparents, could be disappearing from our children today cornered, displaced and dispossessed in their own land.

(*) Presentation to the students of the Advanced Military Studies Course (CMEA) and the Course of Security Information and National Defense (CIDENAL) of the War College, on August 8, 2013 in the auditorium of Hotel Marazul.


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