QCOSTARICA – In less than a month, some 300 families who did not want to pay rent for their homes or tenement houses in the area of La Carpio, were evicted on Wednesday morning by the Municipal Police of San Jose.
Marcelo Solano, director of the municipal police force, indicated that the evictees settled a few days ago on the approximately 47,000-square-meter plot of land privately owned by an absentee land owner.
Solano added that the eviction was completed quickly and without major inconvenience. The police action began minutes after 9 am and it lasted for an hour and a half, without any conflict, the people who were in the evicted property left without putting up any resistance.
However, when the police were preparing to leave the area, they were stoned by residents unrelated to the eviction.
Around noon, with the local television cameras carrying the event live, some of the agitators gathered piles of garbage and set it on fire. This action also prevented the passage of private vehicles and public transport. No one could leave or enter the community.
The conflict between police lasted for hours, well into the late afternoon.
As a result of the disturbance, the municipal police were reinforced by the Fuerza Publica (national police), and used tear gas to control the situation, which ended with the arrest of one person for assaulting the officers and for hindering police action and four police officials hurt.
Daniel Calderón, director of the Fuerza Publica, stated that the people that caused the disturbance simply to generate chaos and violence.
According to the latest report from the Ministry of Public Security (MSP), three officers were injured as a result of stone throwing.
Some of the people being evicted complained that they had not been served any eviction notice, demanding to see a court order forcing them off the land.
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“We have been living here for more than 15 days, we were among the first people to arrive, it is that a friend came here and since we are in need, we came also. Then the other people came, they are homeless and unemployed people,” said Janeth Carrillo, a single mother who said that before arriving in La Carpio she paid ¢120,000 colones in rent, but she could no longer cover that with no job and kids to feed.
“We have been here for eight days, you think that if we had a house, as all of you do, we would be here invading. We know that this land does not belong to us, but the owner is not here,” Maryeri Martínez told television viewers.
Police chief Solano explained that since it was an ongoing invasion of land, a court order was not needed for the eviction from the illegally occupied land is owned by a Costa Rican man with the surname Beckles Bonilla.
La Carpio is a segregated community located on the edge of the Virilla river on the west side of the Municipality of San Jose.
La Carpio grew out of an invasion of land belonging to the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (CCSS), between 1993 and 1994. Its name alludes to the surname of one of the organizers of the land takeover.
Read more: La Carpio May Be Costa Rica’s Worst Ghetto
Though it began as occupied land, in recent years the community has entered into a titling process, many becoming legitimate owners of the lands they occupied, and benefited from a series of community and social action projects.
Today, it is estimated that some 40,000 people, made up of Costa Ricans and Nicaraguans, mostly, live in this community that sprawls some 23 square kilometers, surrounded to the south and north by two rivers, the Virilla and the Torres, respectively, to the west it adjoins a garbage dump, accessed by only one main in and out, which connects with the Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (INA), to La Uruca.
La Carpio is also one of the most dangerous communities in San Jose. Others include the communities of 25 de Julio, León XXIII and Los Cuadros.