Tension builds up in Colombia’s main banana-producing region

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Tension builds up in Colombia’s main banana-producing region

As of mid-June, the Colombian Department of Magdalena has experienced a wave of violent crimes that have kept the population on lockdown and commercial and productive activities completely paralyzed. 

The Association of Banana Growers of Magdalena and Guajira (ASBAMA) has requested the support of the national government to address the situation.

ASBAMA said that the department, a well-known banana-producing region, has ceased productive activities out of fear. The paramilitary group Autodefensas Conquistadores de la Sierra has declared an armed strike in the department. In addition to the threats, the violent deaths of two people have increased fear in the municipality.

The main economic activity in Magdalena is banana production, which employs approximately 14,000 people. Due to the security situation, they have been unable to commute to their jobs, causing serious damage to both the crops and the entire production chain. Marketing activities have also been affected.

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"From ASBAMA, on behalf of all banana producers and workers in the sector, we call on the national government to intervene in the municipality, where criminals have sown terror among the population, violating their right to work and freedom," said José Francisco Zúñiga Cots, executive president of the association.

ASBAMA represents banana producers and marketers in the departments of Magdalena, Cesar, and La Guajira.

"As a guild, we are in solidarity with the community of Magdalena and with the sector of shopkeepers, hoteliers, and, in general, the commercial sector that have been forced not to exercise their activities", he added.

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