Coastal Inhabitants Face Eviction by the Costa Rican Government

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    The Costa Rica News (TCRN) – Next September the moratorium period for the communities living in the shoreline area and in the border mile expires, so the process that authorizes the State to evict them from the land they have occupied for decades starts again.

    Three bills sought to give land rights to more than 500 families living in this situation throughout the coastal zone. Two of them were approved, but the proposed Community Coastal Territories Act is pending in the Legislative Assembly.

    The previous year, although there was an agreement between the government and the people of the coast to convene the three bills, the executive branch only announced the legalization of the rights of the people of the Southern Caribbean Coast and the coastal cities, both converted into law.

    But TECOCOS Law, as the Caribbean people call it, was not convened, so they did not vote.

    Now, a few months after the moratorium, enacted by the government so that these people were not driven from their homes, expires, the question is: if there are two laws approved to regulate the occupation of this area, why is the TECOCOS law required?

    According to Willmar Matarrita, attorney and activist for the project  the law does not include coastal cities, because the legal concept is very different and could affect the autonomy of the peoples. Concerning the legalization of the laws of the Southern Caribbean, only the residents of the south of Limon benefit and not the ones affected.

    “So what about the inhabitants who live in the sea area that is not in the south of Limon? What about the people who do not meet city standards? In September they could apply the law, but for us, we do not take shelter and are expropriated,” Matarrita said.

    The argument of the inhabitants is even more cultural, so they affirm that they do not want to be a city and do not agree that one person takes ownership of thousands of square meters.

    Sandra Arauz, inhabitant of Matapalo in Samara, Guanacaste, said that almost 25 years ago, when they lived in Cangrejal, the took her and her brothers from their home because they were within a mile and let them stay at Matapalo. They had to leave with nothing and now they have again built a people, they want to get back to.

    “Who are the people who built these? We. We have made churches, schools and other places and now that everything is done, we will get back. Where will they send us?” Arauz said.

    Ronald Vargas, member of Parliament of Guanacaste, said that coastal cities do not apply because they do not agree with large holdings of land and one person is left with properties that could occupy more families.

    The Costa Rica News (TCRN)

    San Jose, Costa Rica

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