Self-defense groups cannot be organized, warns the Minister of Defense in the face of the reaction of ranchers to the invasions

Minister of Defense, Iván Velásquez

The Minister of Defense, Iván Velásquez, assured that from the portfolio and the public force they maintain actions to deal with the illegal occupation of properties in the national territory, they seek to prevent the actions of the Police from being affected in the first two days and they will not tolerate that take justice into their own hands in self-defense groups.

Given the situation that has arisen in recent weeks, a reaction has arisen on the part of owners and ranchers who have undertaken demonstrations to request support from the public force, as well as defend their land by their own means, an action that has been rejected. by various political sectors and social organizations.

In this regard, Velásquez maintained that they have established dialogues with the ranchers and Major General Henry Armando Sanabria Cely, director of the National Police, in which the preparation of a plan has been defined with information that the union can provide in this regard and that it will know the minister at a meeting in the coming weeks. However, they will not allow self-defense groups to form.

“Here in any case it is intolerable that there is justice by one’s own hand… There is no possibility that these fears of re-organizing self-defense forces to exercise justice by one’s own hand or to act can be specified, “added the Minister of Defense.

The head of the security portfolio said that there have already been evictions by the Police, which has been the body that has been acting in the situation. He did not provide specific figures in this regard, but maintained that there are more than 12 interventions, although they must be under the requirements of the law.

“What I can say is that the Police must comply with the law, which provides that within 48 hours after the occupation they can act directly. This is not how it was interpreted on another occasion that mentioned it, that it is 48 hours from now that all evictions are going to take place. This is the law: if the 48 hours elapse, and for whatever reason there has been no eviction, there must already be a judicial interventionVelasquez clarified.

The Minister of Agriculture, Cecilia López, affirmed in the Fifth Commission of the Senate during a political control debate, that there are 62 investigative processes, 41 for invasion, 17 for subjugation, 4 for usurpation of land, of which they consider illegal because they are invasions and that would be related to coordinated actions with the so-called tierreros, in which there would even be public officials and, according to the director of the Police, criminal groups.

“Other things are the occupations, where the indigenous issue comes in, there the model is what we are working on and what has been advanced in the case of Cauca, there is dialogue because we do not want violenceIf it is not possible in this way, the Police allow us to act after 48 hours,” said López.

Regarding the dialogues that have been undertaken by the Ministry of the Interior to vacate the land, the Minister of Defense also made it clear that they should not impede the actions of the public force. “These dialogues have to be immediate precisely so that the Police still have the possibility of acting within the following 48 hours, that is to say that these dialogues are not going to hinder the action of the Police later and therefore they cannot be broad, prolonged” Velasquez specified.

The National Land Agency has requested that a negotiated process be carried out to avoid confrontations in the face of the invasion, but the livestock and landowner sector is asking for action by the public force to address the situation.

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