Guambiano Indians in southern regions of Colombia are being jailed while conducting a 'land invasion' to claim back land they badly need for farming from wealthy, non-indigenous settlers.
GTV Indian village PAN UP mountains
TV Cattle grazing near dwellings, and village huts (2 shots)
Tv Pumping station near river
SV Indian children
GV Indians along road with horses on route to market (2 shots)
TV Bus carrying Indians and goods to market (2 shots)
GV Unloading goods in market
TV Market scenes (7 shots)
LV Carcel Del Circuito, Silvia Prison courtyard with Indians carrying in straw for basket-making
SV Figure of Christ and prayer written on wall (2 shots)
LV Prisoners in courtyard PAN TO coloured baskets (3 shots)
SV Prisoner weaves basket (2 shots)
SV PAN FROM Cockerel to prisoners weaving basket (3 shots)
Initials BB/1700 CG/DW/BB/1746
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Background: Guambiano Indians in southern regions of Colombia are being jailed while conducting a 'land invasion' to claim back land they badly need for farming from wealthy, non-indigenous settlers.
They say they land is historically theirs, an without the extra space to grow crops and keep cattle, they will eventually perish. The Indians arrested had started the 'invasion' by farming outside their allotted territories without official permission.
The Indians argue that huge areas of arable land which centuries ago was theirs are now taken up by ranches owned by a handful of wealthy people--most of whom are whites who took the zones from their ancestors by force.
What infuriates the Guambianos even more is that many of the ranches are only used as week-and retreats for the rich who spend the rest of their time in the big Colombian cities like Bogota. Meadows that could be used for grazing their cattle are occupied by ranchers who rear bulls for the various Columbian bullrings.
The Guambianos argus that a handful of rich 'outsider' families own 1,200 hectares (2,964 acres) of valuable farming land, while their 10,000 population has to make do with less than 1,000 hectares (2,470 acres). Often this ground is higher in the hills, and unsuitable for agriculture.
The Indian campaign is fairly well organised, although severely hampered by that fact that, in Colombian law, Indians are still regarded as 'minore' with very little legal recourse to protect then. Their 39-year-old head man, Isidro Almendra Volasco, (and other Indian elders) went to bogota recently to try to discuss the matter with the government, only to be told the officials they should see were on holiday.
Most of the Guambianos live in the hills around the village of Silvia, in the southern province of Causa. Normally they only come into silvia for every Tuesday's market to sell their various produce and wares.
But now over 80 of the Indians are being held in prison in Silvia after being arrested for land invasion. Their normally meagre income has now been completely ended, and the only way they can survive is by learning to weave baskets, for selling to tourists in the bugger towns of Colombia.