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Campesinos Prepare to Return to Disputed Land

July 2, 2004

THE Bambuzal campesinos are goinghome. Or at least to what they claim istheir home.After more than two months campingin the Metropolitan Cathedral in downtownSan José, calling themselvesrefugees of a Northern Zone land dispute(TT, June 25), a court order prohibitingthem from nearing the disputed ElBambuzzal farm, near Río Frío deSarapiquí in the northern province ofHeredia, has been lifted by an appealscourt.The more than 100 campesinos planto leave the cathedral tomorrow morningand will travel north in a caravan joinedby students and social organizations whohave supported them during their fight.The campesinos arrived in the capitalApril 25 seeking help from the church intheir squatter-rights claim for the ElBambuzal Farm, owned by bananaexporter Standard Fruit Company, a subsidiaryof Dole (TT, April 30).The campesinos have occupied theland since 2001. Now that the court orderhas been lifted, the campesinos hope topermanently resolve the land dispute in anagrarian trial in a Guápiles court. No datehas been set for the trial.

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