January 10th, 2014 (InsideCostaRica.com) Police officers of the Fuerza Publica in Liberia, Guanacaste carried out the eviction this week of some 50 families consisting of some 200 people that had illegally claimed land in El Aguacate, located about six kilometers northwest of Liberia, on land adjacent to the Pan-American Highway.
The eviction came after a complaint filed by the owner of the property, Adolfo Baltodano, who asked the courts several months ago to recover his land from the campesino squatters.
Now, a group known as the Movement for Agrarian Reform is claiming that the rights of the campesinos were violated, and that the move was politically motivated.
The group said that authorities arrived in 16 patrol cars, two vans and a helicopter in order to intimidate the campesinos, and once removed or arrested, proceeded to burn their food, homes, clothes, and other possessions, and took children present into the custody of Costa Rica’s child welfare agency, PANI.
According to the group, however, the Constitutional Court (Sala IV) had found in the campesinos favor in a write of Habeas Corpus on December 31st, demanding the withdrawal of police officials from the property.
“The OIJ and the Fuerza Publica violated the provisions of the Constitutional Court […] in order to defend the interests of the landowners such as Dr. Baltodano, who is linked to members of the PLN such as Deputy lawmaker Maria Ocampo Baltodano,” the group said.
The campesinos arrested during the operation remain in custody, and the children remain in the protective custody of PANI as of press time.