Costa Rican environmental activists are demanding greater protection to continue fighting against the destruction of our natural areas. In The Costa Rica News (TCRN), we have reported what happened with the mining issue, the theme of the “piñeras” and the hydroelectric projects. In this report, María Estela Aguilar tells us about her experience, which does not reflect the positive outcomes she has longed for.
Estela Aguilar is a farmer in the southern zone of Costa Rica. Due to her perseverance in the agriculture work where she delivers her aspirations, organization, and motivation, all these characteristics inherited from her farmer’s parents whom she accompanied in sowing the land from her early childhood. Apart from being an organic farmer and educator, she is also raising her 6 children in direct contact with nature.
With regards to her agricultural output, María Estela has harvested chili peppers, sugar cane, coffee, pineapple, and other products (all made at least 50% organic), although she has had to work in very sterile lands. The greatest example given to all by this admirable Costa Rican woman centers around three key issues: Farming without chemicals, social justice, local direct commerce and sustainable lifestyle available through the promotion of ancestral knowledge and the protection of our planet.
A cry for justice
María Estela demands justice every second of her life for the disappearance of her children, Antonio Aguilar, the youngest, and Wildey Aguilar who worked 15 years as manager of the local Walmart. They went to an audience with the city council and the mayor of the Municipality of Osa to denounce the eco-crimes being committed by the Piñeras (corporated pineapple plantations) and in that same week he was fired from the job and his car was burned. So far there has not been justice for the Aguilar Corella family.
Aguilar declares: “I want political asylum in the United States, “my partner was imprisoned 20 years without committing ant crime”, “there have been 10 homicide attempts against members of my family, sadly one of them successful against my son Antonio”, “he was a graduate in International Law, studied in Moscow and a social justice leader, he worked with the Presidency, and he drafted the Disability Law after I was disabled after being shot due to my environmental struggle”, she says vehemently.
The persecution began when the “Pindeco” company was going to exploit the land given from the “Alcoa” venture. Alcoa was one of many that established questionable agreements with the “Piñeras”. The Institute of Agrarian Development (IDA) had the land as tenants and we were sub-lessee. This led us to take out a decree of the Law stating, that the lands of third parties will pass to seconds, but instead the same government institution went against us and the Regional Director Rodrigo Elizondo, received a new Toyota car as a bribe from the private companies to fix all the paperwork in their favor.
María Estela and many other Costa Rican environmentalists have always been against the pineapple transnational corporations, given their uncontrolled use of toxic agrochemicals that benefit a few, while damaging the livelihood for many. She is currently in exile outside Costa Rica and asks for justice, demanding that the threats, persecutions, official silence and complicity do not destroy the positive reputation that the country has gained as one of the most beautiful in the world.