Los Angeles Times | 2/22/2011 12:00:00 AM
U.S. aids Colombia program restoring land titles
February 22--The U.S. role in the program for the displaced reflects a shift in Plan Colombia. From the plan's inception in 2000 through 2007, 80% of the $7 billion funneled to Colombia went to the military.
This month, Alfonso Mejia received title to the land he had been forced to flee in 2000 by members of a right-wing paramilitary group, just before they massacred 11 of his neighbors.
Mejia and hundreds of other residents expelled from their plots in the northern state of Bolivar were pawns in a struggle among armed groups of various political stripes vying for drug trafficking routes, local influence and land.
Mejia spent much of the decade moving from town to town, never daring to reclaim his property, which was illegally transferred to leaders of the paramilitary group by a corrupt notary. His limbo was shared by 3.2 million Colombians displaced by this country's long-running civil conflict.
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