On the morning of 9 Mary 2017, the Anti Riot Unit (Escuadrón Móvil Antidisturbios – ESMAD forcibly entered the Hacienda Miraflores, where members of local indigenous peoples were cutting cane as part of their campaign to assert their claim to the land, in the form of a “Minga de Liberacion”. The “Minga de Lineracion” is when indigenous communities come together to work collectively.
People from the 20 indigenous communities which make up the Asociación de Cabildos indígenas del Norte del Cauca ACIN, Cxab wala Kiwe were all taking part in this peaceful event. The ESMAD unit had cornered the people in one area of the estate when police opened fire indiscriminately on the crowd. The shot which hit 17 year old Daniel Felipe Castro Basto also pierced a lung and he died on the way to hospital. He left his young wife behind and their unborn child.
Video footage of military intervention in the Minga de Liberación
After Basto’s death the indigenous community were adamant that they would continue to fight for the Liberation of Mother Earth. The government has tried to prevent the organisation of these gatherings but indigenous leaders maintain that is is part of their cultural traditions and does not depend on either negotiations with or permission from the state.