At some point, it was the local municipality that had it in its sights. I was thinking of an orderly growth of the city in that direction. Those plans ended when pseudodirigentes installed their camps and fragmented part of that tropical forest territory.
From those interests were born Mount Sinai and Voluntad de Dios, those spots of informal neighborhoods that rise in the northwest wing of the Perimetral route.
In September 2012, the Government tried to stop the invasions with a declaration of a protected forest. Thus was born Papagayo, an extension of 3,602 hectares that since then became a kind of appetizing snack or booty to conquer for the promoters of illegal settlements.
Last Friday, the execution of new eviction operations returned the gaze to this sector of the city and discovered that the invasive process never stopped in these six years. “Within the protected forest, for six sectors the invaders have ventured. There I think we have already lost the battle, “acknowledges Marcos Cabezas Santillán, a military officer in command of one of the checkpoints in Voluntad de Dios.
In one or another settlement, it is estimated that there are already a thousand families.
In the operations that took place between Monday and Tuesday, 450 houses were evicted.
“On Wednesday we were in control over here, there was nothing of this,” contrasts one of the Army uniformed personnel who carry out permanent controls in the area.
A space of 20 unoccupied hectares appeared fragmented yesterday morning. In some points, with houses; in others, only the land delimited by markings or stakes.
The land comprises an area that the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing has defined for infrastructure plans; and although it does not correspond to the protected area, it is barely separated by 200 meters. “We are not far from where there is already evidence of informal occupation within the forest,” Cabezas says, pointing to one of the nearby hills. “On the other side of that hill is already populated.”
It could be thought that the kind of cheese that you want to tear down on all four sides has no owner. On the contrary, there is an agricultural cooperative formed by 36 members, who have property titles on land ranging from 50 to 200 hectares.
One of them is César Ortiz Pinto, who in these days is preparing to plant his first hectare of moringa, with the aspiration of next year to reach at least 10 hectares.
“Before I planted passion fruit and papaya, but that fell apart. These lands are productive, they would do us a lot of damage if they fell into the hands of the invaders, “says Ortiz, who says that half a century ago he began to enter that vast world of tropical dry forest, where deer still run and parrots mate.
Ortiz has just turned 90 years old and still has the strength to travel the rough trails through which he travels into the forest. He does it on a motorcycle. “Here you can breathe fresh and pure air, despite the fact that invasions are almost there.” (I)