21 Feb 2009
The banana massacre is now a biofuel killing spree
In October 2008 Ualberto Hoyos, a Colombian citizens was shot through the head and killed by para militaries. Was this part of a drug feud? Was Mr Hoyos a sympathiser of left wing guerrillas? No, he was killed as a consequence of EU policies aimed at protecting the environment.
In Colombia, there are numerous cases of right wing paramilitaries being used to remove local people from land used to produce palm oil. The European Union are strongly encouraging Colombia to produce more palm oil, despite human rights abuse and environmental damage. The EU is promoting a free trade agreement with Colombia. EU plans to produce 10% of fuel from biofuel will increase demand for Colombian palm oil and with it accelerate human rights abuse.
"The paramilitaries are not subtle when it comes to taking land," said Dominic Nutt of Christian Aid, in an interview with The Times of London. "They simply visit a community and tell landowners, 'If you don't sell to us, we will negotiate with your widow.'"
Farmers Who Refuse to Sell to Biofuel Interests Pay with Their Lives
Some farmers who have refused to sell or surrender their land have been murdered. There are also stories of paramilitaries cutting off the arms of illiterate peasants and using fingerprints from the severed hands to create fraudulent documents that transfer land ownership.
The Afro-Colombians, communities who live an ecological lifestyle, descended from African slaves brought to Latin America, are especially threatened by EU demands for biofuels.