Brevaksjon Ecuador: Støtt eigedomsrett til jord!

4. november 2010: I fleire kystregionar i Ecuador skal jord som vart brukt til spekulasjon under bankkrisa etter planen overførast til familiar som har fått rett til jorda. Men overføringa skjer ikkje. Trass i den politiske prestisjen bak jordplanen (Plan Tierras), har planen ført til ny spekulasjon og konkurranse om jorda,og sett tryggleiken til fattige familiar i fare.

Trass i gode intensjonar med jordplanen har det ikkje vore mogleg å handheva planen på grunn av hindringar og juridiske triks frå dei som har ansvaret for gjennomføringa. Dei har seld jorda til høgstbydande trass i at Rural Development Act slår fast at jorda kan eksproprierast til fordel for bondefamiliane. No trengs det eit raskt vedtak frå presidenten som umiddelbart overfører jorda til dei fredfulle okkupantane som frå før har lite eller ingen jord.

PROTESTER!
Sjå forslaget til brev på spansk under og send det på epost, faks eller som brev til adressene under.  Informer FIAN om svar du får på breva.

Hasteaksjonen er slutt 4. januar 2011. 

Background:
The Financial Institution Act which was issued in May 1994 relaxed credit restrictions and allowed private banks to receive credit linked to 60% of the bank’s assets. In June of the same year, also the Agrarian Development Act was issued, freeing the land market of restrictions and established taxes on rural property. These were the legal bases on which the private banks were able to overestimate the value of their properties in rural lands, and this way back huge credits linked to the bank. As a consequence of these practices, the banking sector later broke and brought about the bank crisis in Ecuador in the late 1990s. These failed banks were submitted to a reorganization process at the former Deposit Guarantee Agency (AGD). The banks, along with this institution, were liquidated at the end of 2009 and in May 2010, without the transfer of the rural property in accordance with the Code of General Law of Financial System Institutions, and therefore continue to be the banks´ private property. After liquidating the AGD and the failed banks, this property was passed into the hands of the Central Bank, the Finance Ministry, the National Finance Corporation and various trusts. Nevertheless, the private bank continues to claim the right of domain to said property, encumbering the transfer to the landless peasants.

Since the failure of the banks, in different coastal provinces such as Guayas, Los Ríos, Manabí, Esmeraldas, Santa Elena, and El Oro, approximately 15 thousand families have occupied and are cultivating these rural lands. In some cases, these people were employees of the previous owners or are descendents of the peasants that lived there long ago. In all this time the families have organized different associations and have presented expropriation procedures before the former National Institute for Rural Development (INDA) in order to legalize their land tenure as legitimate proprietors, upon payment of the land´s social value and favorable terms and conditions. Despite the fact that in previous cases INDA has ruled in favor of the peasants, the failed bank´s owners are exercising powerful political and economic interests, effectively impeding the prescribed allocation with the submission of disputes before various administrative, legal and constitutional instances.

Pressure from the second-degree organization “Unión, Tierra y Vida” (Unity, Land and Life), formed by various peasant organizations from the Ecuadorian coast, forced the State to begin to implement the “Estate Plan” (Plan de Haciendas) at the end of 2008, that a year later would become the “Lands Plan” (Plan Tierras). This plan seeks to achieve a more equitable tenure structure and land use in Ecuador with the distribution of approximately 2.5 million hectares over the course of 4 years. It also has planned to distribute, in its first phase, lands belonging to the State and liquidated banks to landless peasants. Despite the plan´s good intentions, the effective legalization of the lands´ tenure for the families has not been possible precisely because the increasing obstacles and legal tricks imposed in bad faith by those that have the decision-making power to transfer the lands for their redistribution. These parties have preferred to continue to sell and auction off to the highest bidder, regardless of the current Rural Development Act which would submit the lands to expropriation processes in favor of the peasants. The expropriation processes that have occurred throughout the years have proven to be slow, biased and tiresome and have not benefited all the landless peasants. The lack of clear knowledge about the State lands available and suitable for redistribution, added to the fact that the Lands Plan was created and presented without directly involving the peasant community has generated expectations and competition for the wealth at stake amongst people unrelated to the land possessing associations of peasant families that have been demanding the legalization of said lands for years. All this is further destabilizing their land tenure. Since the announcement of the Lands Plan cases of murder, threats, ransom of houses, arrests, physical and psychological aggression, and criminal prosecutions against land occupying peasant leaders, among other problems, have been reported.

FIAN has confirmed these reports during a fact finding mission conducted in April 2010 with the participation of Sergio Sauer, the Special Rapporteur on the right to food in Brazil.

In this situation, the issuance of an Executive Decree is urgent and necessary prior to the approval of a rural reform law, demonstrating the political will to guarantee the possession, access and legalization of this property for the landless peasant families. This decree must immediately transfer the property used in financial speculation to the peacefully occupying peasants with little or no land. The decree should also demand the finalization of the expropriation processes and the realization of the resolutions issued by the INDA within 6 months. In this regard, the Finance Ministry must provide the necessary resources to the Rural Land and Reform Sub-secretary.

Emergency Network Mandate:
The landless peasants possessing the lands utilized for financial speculation are suffering the violation of their right to adequate food due to the lack of security in the land tenure that would allow them to produce their own food. Simultaneously, other rights of these peasants are also being violated, such as the right to adequate housing and a dignified standard of living, etc. The Ecuadorian State has not fulfilled its obligation to facilitate the right to food through measures that permit access to land by this part of the peasant population. Such a breach is owed to the lack of effective implementation of the Lands Plan which would permit the effective redistribution and legalization of the necessary land for the families to use and produce with the development programs, in accordance with the principles of food sovereignty established in the Ecuadorian constitution. In order to fulfill their obligation and demonstrate true political will, the Ecuadorian State must issue an Executive Decree that permits the immediate transfer of the property utilized for financial speculation to the peasants with little or no land who are peacefully occupying the lands.

ACTION 
Please send the model letter in Spanish via e-mail, fax or letter to the below mentioned addresses. End of the action: 04th of Jaunary, 2011. Please inform FIAN International about any response you receive to your letter.
You can also send your letter online at http://www.fian.org/cases/letter-campaigns/ecuador-formal-distribution-of-land-used-for-financial-speculation-to-land-possessing-families
Download the Urgent Action as a pdf at http://www.fian.org/news/new-urgent-action-formal-distribution-of-land-used-for-financial-speculation-to-land-possessing-families/pdf

______________
Model letter:

Excelentísimo Señor Presidente,
Es de mi conocimiento que existen aproximadamente 15 mil familias en las provincias de Guayas, Los Ríos, Manabí, Esmeraldas, Santa Elena y El Oro, quienes han venido reclamando ante el antiguo Instituto Nacional de Desarrollo Agrario (INDA) el reconocimiento de sus derechos posesionarios y la expropiación de los predios rústicos sobrevalorados para garantizar créditos vinculados en la banca liquidada por la antigua Agencia de Garantía de Depósitos (AGD). Si bien en algunos casos el antiguo INDA ha resuelto a favor de los campesinos/campesinas sin tierra, la mayoría de ellos no ha podido legalizar su situación, ya que bajo la actual ley de Desarrollo Agrario, se debe pasar por procesos de expropiación que han demostrado ser lentos, engorrosos y sesgados a favor de poderosos intereses políticos y económicos.

Pese a las buenas intenciones del Plan Tierras del gobierno ecuatoriano – que ha previsto distribuir en su primera etapa “tierras estatales” en manos de la antigua AGD y otras instituciones estatales – la adjudicación efectiva de las tierras a las familias no ha sido posible justamente por el carácter privado de las mismas. La falta de conocimiento claro de la tierra estatal disponible y apta para su distribución, sumada a que el Plan Tierra ha sido concebido y presentado sin la participación de las comunidades campesinas directamente involucradas, ha generado expectativas y competencia por la tierra entre personas ajenas a las asociaciones posesionarias. Esta situación empeora la seguridad en la tenencia de la tierra de asociaciones compuestas por familias campesinas sin tierra, que han mantenido la posesión y han venido exigiendo la legalización de dichos predios por años. Desde el anuncio del Plan Tierras se han registrado casos de asesinatos, amenazas, agresiones físicas y sicológicas; y el levantamiento de juicios penales en contra de dirigentes campesinos posesionarios, entre otros.

Los campesinos en posesión de los predios utilizados para la especulación financiera ven vulnerado su Derecho a la Alimentación Adecuada por la falta de seguridad en la tenencia de la tierra que les permita producir sus alimentos; pero también otros derechos humanos como el derecho a una vivienda adecuada y a un nivel de vida digno, etc. El Estado Ecuatoriano, parte del Pacto Internacional de Derechos Económicos, Sociales y Culturales y que ha reconocido el Derecho a la Alimentación no solo en este instrumento de Derechos Humanos, sino en el artículo 49 de la Constitución Ecuatoriana, no ha cumplido con su obligación de realizar el derecho a la alimentación, al no ejecutar de manera efectiva el Plan Tierras que permita la redistribución efectiva de la tierra necesaria para que estas familias puedan utilizar y producir en estos predios dignamente.

Por esta razón, le solicito  muy comedidamente, que ante la creciente inseguridad generada por el Plan Tierras y la acumulación de los conflictos de tierra sin solución durante los últimos 15 años, demuestre voluntad política y expida un Decreto Ejecutivo que viabilice la transferencia inmediata de los predios usados en la especulación financiera a favor de los/as campesinos/as sin o con poca tierra pacíficamente en posesión. Dicho decreto deberá fijar un plazo de 6 meses para la culminación de todos los trámites de expropiación y la ejecución de las transferencias  por  la Subsecretaría de Tierra y Reforma Agraria. Además deberá constituir un Consejo Técnico con la participación de ministerios y entidades del sector público y organizaciones campesinas para garantizar los recursos productivos y servicios básicos a los adjudicatarios; y realizar un Catastro Nacional que permita constatar la real propiedad rural en el país

(Translation of the model letter:)

Dear Mr. President,
It has come to my knowledge that approximately 15 thousand families in the provinces of Guayas, Los Ríos, Manabí, Esmeraldas, Santa Elena, and El Oro, who have been demanding, before former National Institute for Rural Development (INDA), the recognition of their land possessing  rights and the expropriation of the rural property overvalued in order to guarantee credits linked to the liquidated bank by the former Deposit Guarantee Agency (AGD). While some cases have been resolved by the former INDA in favor of the peasants, the majority of them have not been able to legalize their situation. Under the current Rural Development Act the peasants must go through expropriation processes that have proven to be slow, tiresome, and biased in favor of the powerful political and economic interests.
In spite of the Ecuadorian government´s Lands Plan´s good intentions that foresaw distributing “state lands” of the former AGD and other state institutions in the first phase,, the effective allocation of the lands to the families has been impossible precisely because of their private nature. The lack of clear knowledge about the State lands available and suitable for redistribution, added to the fact that the Lands Plan was created and presented without directly involving the peasant community has generated expectations and competition for the wealth at stake amongst people unrelated to the land possessing associations of peasant families that have been demanding the legalization of said lands for years. All this is further destabilizing their land tenure. Since the announcement of the Lands Plan cases of murder, threats, ransom of houses, arrests, physical and psychological aggression, and criminal prosecutions against land occupying peasant leaders, among other problems, have been reported.

The landless peasants possessing the lands utilized for financial speculation are suffering the violation of their right to adequate food due to the lack of security in the land tenure that would allow them to produce their own food. Simultaneously, other rights of these peasants are also being violated, such as the right to adequate housing and a dignified standard of living, etc. Ecuador is a state party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and has recognized the right to food not only as a human rights instrument, but also in article 49 of the Ecuadorian constitution. Therefore, Ecuador has not fulfilled its obligation to realize the right to food, by failing to implement effectively the Lands Plan that would allow for the effective redistribution of the necessary land to these families so they can utilize and produce on these lands in a dignified manner.

For this reason, I respectfully request that, before the growing insecurity generated by the Lands Plan and the increasing conflicts without solutions during the last 15 years, you demonstrate political will and issue an Executive Decree that would make viable the immediate transfer of the property utilized for financial speculation to the land possessing peasants, with little or no land. Said decree must specify a term of 6 months for the finalization of the expropriation processes and the realization of the transferences by the Rural Land and Reform Sub-secretary. Furthermore, there must also be a Technical Council including the participation of ministers and entities from the public sector and peasant organizations in order to guarantee the productive resources and basic services for the recipients, and a National Census that permits the verification of the actual rural property in the country must be realized.

___________________________
Please send your letter to:

President of the Republic of Ecuador
Econ. Rafael Correa Delgado
García Moreno N10-43 entre Chile y Espejo
Telefax: +593 2 2827000 Quito – Ecuador Copies to:
Minister of Agriculture, Farming, Aquaculture y Fishing
Dr. Ramón Leonardo Espinel Martínez
Av. Eloy Alfaro y Amazonas
Telefax: + 593 2 3960200
Quito – Ecuador

Minister of Justice and Human Rights
Sr. José Serrano
Av. Amazonas y Atahualpa esquina.
Telefax: + 593 2 2464914
Quito – Ecuador

Coordinating Minister of Economic Policy
Katiuska King Mantilla
Av. 10 de Agosto N11-409 y Briceño
Quito, Ecuador
Fax: 005932 2583329 (extension) 162

Thank you for your participation.

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