The displaced have flooded into the center of Taraza, demanding that the government cease fumigations of illicit crops in their municipalities. The exodus from Bajo Cauca, one of nine subregions of Antioquia, began two weeks ago and has been both voluntary and peaceful, according to an article Friday in El Tiempo.
Areas in which displacement has occurred include the municipalities of Santa Rita, Ituango, Valdivia, and the rural zone of Taraza. The displaced insist that the fumigations targeted at coca crops have also ruined crops such as cacao, yucca and plantain planted as part of a United Nations crop substitution program.
The leader of the group of displaced, Aldemar Correa, has demanded the formation of a government commission to negotiate ending of fumigations as well as to create plans to accommodate those living in areas where fumigation is occurring.
Taraza’s local government has expressed concern over its capacity to accommodate such a large number of displaced people. Taraza Mayor Yuan Andres Restrepo Obando recently requested the assistance of DAPARD, a sector of the Department of the Prevention of Disasters in Antioquia, in providing food and accommodation to the displaced.
This has been the third mass displacement in the Antioquia region in the past two months, and part of larger wave of related protests occurring in the region since 2008.