Producers in the North of the country organize against land grabbing

There is concern in the north of the country about the increase in cases of land grabbing.

The taking of agricultural and livestock lands, or simply destined for rural tourism, put producers in the provinces of Tucumán, Chaco, Salta, Jujuy and Santiago del Estero on alert, who held a forum last Saturday to present the problems they experienced in These districts different land holders affected by the usurpation of their property. The meeting was called “First Tucumán Consensus Forum for a Great Sustainable and Peaceful North”.

The event was organized by the Civil Association for the Protection, Development and Cooperatives of Private Property (PRODECO), an entity that seeks to make visible the problems generated by the taking of productive lands in northern Argentina related to private property and the property of indigenous communities. There, the scope and rights promoted by Law 26,160 were analyzed, together with its successive extensions. This is a norm that declared the emergency regarding possession and ownership of lands traditionally occupied by indigenous communities originating in Argentina, which have legal status in the National Registry of Indigenous Communities.

As specified by the organizers of the forum, “the state of emergency has been in force since 2006 and this has caused too much damage to all parties involved: the lack of legal security breaks through the regional economies and the autonomy of the provinces.” Roberto Palomo, a producer from Tucumán and vice president of the Northern Agricultural and Livestock Producers Association (APRONOR), stated that the forum made it clear that “the Law of Emergency of Indigenous Communities is unconstitutional, since the norm establishes that the Justice cannot act in this type of causes, that is to say when lands are usurped or taken “.

“The Law of Emergency of Indigenous Communities is unconstitutional, since the norm establishes that the Justice cannot act in this type of causes, that is, when lands are usurped or taken” (Palomo)

And he added: “There it is not allowed to take legal measures or appeals to defend land tenure. It is said that the National Institute of Indigenous Affairs (INAI) has to intervene, which is the one who has to determine to whom the titles belong and who the owners are. For producers, waiting for this type of requirement before the national State is like winning a labor lawsuit ”.

At the meeting, a series of cases were presented, where the owners of the fields explained what happened when they were victims of the usurpation of their properties. In the same way as what happened in southern Argentina with the Mapuches, also in the north of the country, there were many cases of land seizures by indigenous communities and also groups linked to politics.

Martin Baldoni He recounted the difficulty he had with peasant families from the Yungas, in the Jujuy town of Tilquiza, when with his wife Elizabeth in 2005 he decided to install a rural tourism establishment, where they founded the Aldea Luna Nature Reserve, with more than 20 kilometers of trails . “When we bought there was no aboriginal community on the farm, nor was it close. There were only tenant grazers, ”said Baldoni, who also said that already in 2009 he had problems with a group that leased land, and with whom he sought to conclude his contractual relationship. There he added that “the dogs poisoned us, they break our signs. It is an infinite wear and tear ”.

Too Dora Perez, a member of PRODECO, said that his family owned a 780-hectare property in the town of El Nogalito, in Tucumán. “We have property titles granted in 1905, and we pay all taxes,” he said, explaining that an indigenous community made up of some 25 people who respond to “a false chieftain” usurped part of the land. “Horses and other animals killed me. And I can’t have anything there because they break everything and steal it from me, ”he said., and added that she has never had a response from the Justice and on the other hand she is always denounced for alleged threats against the occupants of the property, and denounced that the usurpers receive the support of members of the Social Justice Party of Tucumán.

“The usurpation is being systematized and there are a series of complicities that allow it. It is an area liberated for usurpation, which is born from the same State ”(Figueroa)

Other cases

Edgardo Nievas he bought a three-hectare farm located in the Salta town of Payogasta, near Cachi, from a relative of a Senator for the Department of La Poma, “with deed and all the documentation. Three months later, this senator, together with the Payogasta justice of the peace, entered my property and denounced me as an intruder. The judge in this context forced me to live together in peace and harmony. My life has been an ordeal for five and a half years”.

Another testimony was also heard on the forum. Is about Marisa figueroa, who denounced the usurpation of a 10-hectare field belonging to his family, located in the Department of Robles. “The land is the first that my family was able to buy, which comes from sugar-harvesting ancestors and workers from the obrajes.” According to Figueroa, in Santiago del Estero “the usurpation is being systematized and there are a series of complicities that allow it. It is an area liberated for usurpation, which is born from the same State. There is no usurpation that is not directly linked to the political power of Santiago ”.

Finally, Raúl Ovejero, of the Yampa family, which for more than a century has been settled in some 6,600 hectares of the El Solco ranch, south of Tucumán, commented that “in 2000 a priest visited us, together with an altar boy, and there began our calvary”. Ovejero recalls that the priest urged them to form an indigenous community. And in 2005 they presented all the documentation to the INAI. “There they began to collect all the data, and put together the statute. (The community) Solco-Yampa is totally false. So from owning the Estancia El Solco we become usurpers ”.


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