An 85-year-old Cuban-American turned up dead and stuffed into a barrel on his finca in Coloradito de Corredores last Sept. 6. Quickly squatters moved on to the property and set up tents and crude housing.
An informal estimate says that there are about 150 persons ranging from the elderly to toddlers present in the squatter camps. They are likely to obtain a form of possession unless an heir to the dead man, Rafael Machado, makes an official complaint. Police have not acted against the squatters.
Investigators said they have a suspect in the killing, and he is not related directly to the squatters. Squatting is a way of taking over land legally in Costa Rica. That is why expats are instructed to have guards patrol their lands.
In most cases, the land invasions are highly organized with the goal of obtaining title and then selling the property. Usually the squatters actually have homes elsewhere, yet the judiciary usually is quick to recognize squatter rights.