Sala IV rejects appeal opposing finca evictions

The Sala IV constitutional court has rejected an appeal to stop the eviction of some 100 families on Finca Changuina in Palmar Sur.

The court last week froze the police action until a final decision could be made. Now police are likely to proceed to remove the families and destroy their dwellings.

The families are among a larger group whose members invaded the land as squatters.

An afternoon report Tuesday by the Poder Judicial said that the court made the decision at 2:50 p.m. But there was no report of the votes by individual magistrates.

The court decision said that the appeal was inadmissible because the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública and its police force were executing a judicial resolution.

The anticipated police action is likely to cause violence on the finca or on the Interamericana Sur where those who have been evicted and supporters gather to protest and sometimes block traffic on the Río Térreba bridge.

There were scuffles on the bridge Feb. 16 after protesters sat down and blocked traffic. A Fuerza Pública officer read them a script that gave them five minutes to leave, but they did not. Six persons were detained.

The dispute over land goes back years. There may have been up to 400 families living on land they do not own. Many are former banana workers who lost their jobs when a grower of that fruit collapsed. The properties

Police officer reads a warning to protesters seated on the Interamericana Sur Feb. 16.

Police officer reads a warning to protesters seated on the Interamericana Sur Feb. 16.

have been through bank auctions and sales. Some land also is on the site where a new international airport has been proposed. The land is now owned by Oscar Echeverría Heigold.

There have been smaller evictions in the past, and some residents have returned to their land afterwards.

The evictions, ordered by the Tribunal Contencioso Administrativo, have become a political issue.

The central government has made efforts to find land for the evicted families and to provide them subsidies. The Defensoria de los Habitantes even filed an appeal on behalf of the squatters.

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