NARRATOR: On August 7th, amidst a show of military force, Colombia inaugurates a new president: Juan Manual Santos. The former defense minister won by a landslide.
SANTOS: I want to be heard by the peasants of Colombia who live in the countryside, the mountains, the plains, the jungles, and the coasts.
NARRATOR: Santos vows to unite the country, specifically promising to return land stolen from the poor during decades of war.
SANTOS: We are going to defend the Colombian peasants so that the land the government has seized from criminal hands can return to those who truly work them with skill and sweat.
NARRATOR: The new president’s message is hopeful … but across the mountains in Cauca, the authorities don’t seem to be listening. Just 10 days after Santos is sworn in, the community finds out that the police plan to enforce Hector Sarria’s eviction order within 24 hours.
NARRATOR: Carabali goes to her office at the Women’s Association and starts putting out the word that the situation is moving quickly.
CARABALI: Things are complicated. Tomorrow the eviction may take place. One hundred and fifty policemen already arrived. I think we will see a very tough confrontation because the community is not prepared to be thrown out. And the community is unarmed whereas the public force is armed so we don’t know what might happen. There could be confrontations, people could be wounded, there could even be deaths.
NARRATOR: Throughout the night, people all over the world are alerted about the looming confrontation.
NARRATOR: By daybreak, the Colombian government is receiving urgent phone calls about the crisis in La Toma… including one from the U.S. State Department.
NARRATOR: Neighbors are arriving to stand up for La Toma.
CLEMENCIA: Hey, Francia, how is everything? Did you meet with the mayor? There are friends outside of Colombia who are working to prevent the eviction.
NARRATOR: Marquez gets word that a member of the government has arrived to address the crowd.
FRANCIA: I don’t know if it will be someone from the Ministry of Mines. They are the ones responsible. They created this problem.
ANIBAL: No, Francia, you have to speak nicely. You have to speak nicely. Don't offend anyone, because the situation is...
FRANCIA: – This is not offensive. We cannot let our guard down at the first word someone says.
ANIBAL: – You have to speak reasonably.
NARRATOR: Everyone is braced for the worst … when the unexpected happens.
PUBLIC DEFENDER: The eviction order number 6-4707 is suspended in the municipality of Suarez, Cauca, issued by the municipal authority of Suarez, Cauca.
NARRATOR: The eviction has been suspended for now, but the community’s anger and frustration are near the boiling point.
MAN IN WHITE SHIRT: Today they have stopped the eviction. But don’t be surprised if between today and next Thursday there is another eviction notice from Hector Sarria.
MAN IN WHITE SHIRT: I’ll be blunt. A government official might have been paid off by Hector Sarria. What do they want us to do? Leave and go grab a weapon and go up into the mountains?
PEOPLE SHOUT: No!
MAN IN WHITE SHIRT: No! We are a peaceful community.
FRANCIA: This is not a victory for me. It is one more day without deaths.
FRANCIA: The situation will only be resolved for us when the territories are returned to the community. But it is not a victory for me because the titles are still in Mr. Sarria’s hands and it continues to be a threat for us.
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