Latest eviction of squatters carried out peacefully

Police officer reads eviction notice to some of the residents who invaded property in Siquirres. The eviction was carried out peacefully unlike other similar events in the past.. Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridiad Pública photo

Fuerza Pública officers said Monday that they have been able to evict families that took over land illegally in Siquirres. The police action was in contrast to other similar cases where there has been violence, even death.

The eviction Monday came as the result of a local criminal judge’s order. The property is owned by La Tablita S.A.

Police said that some 600 squatters were involved. They also said that the families reported paying other persons who purportedly sold them land where they could erect their shacks. That was not the only fraud. As eviction became likely, some individuals collected 10,000 colons per family with the claim that they were lawyers and for the payment of the money they could stop the eviction.

As many expats know, the law appears to favor squatters who invade private land in an effort to make it their own. In some cases, the invasions are coordinated by local power brokers who then end up buying possession from the squatters for a sum much smaller than the fair market value of the property.

A more complex situation is in Medio Queso in Los Chiles where some 250 families have been evicted at least seven times by police. The property, Finca Naranjales Holandeses, has some 413 hectares and has been the scene of pitched battles.

Last month a police commander got into trouble because he was taped telling fellow officers that they should kill some of the squatters. The cause of the squatters has been taken up by some politicians, and the squatters want the government to buy the land and give it to them.

A squatter died in a similar 2003 confrontation at Finca Bambuzal in Río Frio de Sarapiquí. The squatters had lived on this Sarapiquí finca for nearly two years as they fought legal battles to keep the land.

In many cases the ownership of the land that is invaded belongs to foreigners or multinational corporations. Many property owners employ armed guards to keep possible land invaders at bay.

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