Government seeking to stem the unrest in Salitre

Tensions are said to be increasing in the disputed native territory in Salitre, near Buenos Aires, province of Puntarenas.

This long-running dispute pits the Bri Bri residents of the native reserve against non-native Costa Ricans and even natives against natives.

The root of the problem is the central government’s failure to execute a 1977 law that says the land in the reserve can only be occupied by natives.

There have been confrontations, and the most serious wave started more than a year ago with the burning of homes, blockades and other problems.

The Ministerio de Seguridad Pública said that the detachment of Fuerza Pública there has been increased from 20 to 60. Officials said there was more violence in August and most recently last Sunday when there were stonings and shots were fired.

The central government is calling again for dialogue and negotiations. Cecilia Sánchez, the minister of Justicia y Paz is supposed to meet with the belligerents within the next few days to begin a process of dialogue and negotiations, said Casa Presidencial.

The Interamerican Commission on Human Rights issued a ruling on the situation earlier this year.

After the reserve was created nearly 40 years ago, the government was supposed to buy out the non-native property owners.

That never happened. In the meantime there has been extensive squatting, land thefts and a low level war among the parties.

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