Vimare insists on claiming their rights in 174 ha, despite judicial and administrative resolutions that deny them. The land conflict between the Engabao Commune and the company Vimare was reactivated last weekend in Playas, province of Guayas.
On Saturday, more than 300 villagers gathered from 08:00 in the communal house and went, armed with sticks, to the 174 hectares that Vimare claims as their own. “We have a sentence from the Special Criminal Chamber of the Provincial Court of Justice of Guayas, which recognizes the ancestral rights of the Engabao Commune on 7,424 hectares,” said Pedro Tomalá, president of the commune.
The judicial resolution, according to the certified document that the leader shows, accepts the protection action filed against the Municipality of Playas and orders the annulment of the construction permits delivered to natural and legal persons within the lands.
In addition, the judges of the Criminal Chamber require the registry of the property of the same canton, the annulment and refraining from registering any title of encumbrance or property within the communal territory already mentioned. Covered in this pronouncement, the people once again entered the land in dispute and collapsed concrete columns that masons from Vimare had built to build houses on the site.
“The Constitution supports us. The Magna Carta states that the communal lands belong to its inhabitants and cannot be sold, now it’s up to the authorities to enforce the law, but as they do not, it gives us grounds to think that there is corruption, “said Galo Suárez Villacís, inhabitant of Engabao.
The people of engabao thought that the judicial resolution, which also rejected the claim of 334 hectares by the Campibo company, was going to arrest Vimare, but it was not so. Given this, a memorandum from the Director of Control and Public Order of the Ministry of the Interior, Wladimir Tello, provides permanent police protection to the territory of the commune and its representatives, in order to prevent acts of violence or disturbance of public order, so as not to the state of communal possession and property is violated.
In the document, Tello recognizes the existence of official pronouncements of the Undersecretary of Lands, where the eviction of the invaders from communal lands was resolved, which is not fulfilled. Despite this request from the Interior Ministry official, Major Byron Liger, police commander of the Playas district, said he had no notice to evict anyone.
For that reason, the police chief indicated that he will remain at the site only to safeguard the integrity of the people. “What the company does is illegal and what the community members do is illegal (destroy buildings).” The official mentioned that it is up to the authorities, before a court ruling, to enforce the law, but so far, he said, the eviction order has not been issued.
The lawyer Pedro Buitrón, representative of Vimare, said via telephone that he will not pronounce on the events that took place. Sergio Lindao Tomalá, trustee of the Engabao commune, stressed that the Constitution and the current Organic Law of Rural Lands and Ancestral Territories in Article 8 guarantees legal security of ownership and regular possession of rural land and communal territories, communities, peoples and ancestral nationalities. “What Vimare calls Merceditas 1 and 2 does not exist in Engabao. A resolution of the Ministry of Agriculture already said that those territories that they claim were in Chanduy, “said the president of the Commune
Incidents in 2017
On November 17 last year, officials and workers of Vimare abruptly entered the properties they claim as their own. The police stopped them.
In addition several heads of cattle were stolen by this group.
The dispute of the land between Engabao community members and Álvaro Noboa’s company Vimare goes back 33 years.
Vimare in a statement said that the Constitutional Court recognized the ancestral rights that the people of engabao have over their lands, but left free that the litigation be resolved by the justice. (I)