Peru: Squatters evicted after 5 year invasion

(LIP-ir) — An invasion which took place in November of 2002 has finally come to an end. In February of 2003 General Manager of the company Emmsa, Luis Baca Sarmiento, filed charges against squatters which had invaded his 90 hectare property. After a month-long stand-off, allegedly headed by Fermandino Nieto and other men, Peruvian police have finally evicted hundreds of merchants along with their children which had illegally taken possession of Luis Baca’s property. Not only had these people made it their workplace but had also begun to live their.

Peruvian police have placed a warrant for Fermandino Nieto’s arrest. He and seven other men are allegedly responsible for leading the stand against Peruvian police in Santa Anita. Nieto’s prime objective was to not be evicted from the wholesaler’s market which had been illegally built on private property. Among the long list of charges there is kidnapping, illegal possession of firearms, exposing minors to danger and conspiracy. They face up to a sentence of 30 years in prison.

Many families have been left homeless due to the fact that the market was also their home. They are finding refuge in nearby parks. Peru’s Interior Minister Luis Alva Castro has assured them that they will not be abandoned. Help is being provided by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of the Woman and the National Institute of Civil Defense. Park number three in Ate Vitarte has at least 180 children along with their parents who will be provided with tents until they find a place to go.

Representative of the merchants, Valentìn Galarza has said that they were unaware that they were illegally on the land. He has optimistically stated that he and the other merchants will find another place to live and work.

The mayor of Lima Luis Castañeda Lossio has announced plans to demolish and build a new, more modern market. Merchants from the market known as "La Parada" should be able to move in within a year.