Armed groups in Colombia are driving peasants off their land to make way for plantations of palm oil, a biofuel that is being promoted as an environmentally friendly source of energy.
Farmers who have been forced off their land at gunpoint say that in many cases their banana groves and cattle grazing fields were turned into palm oil plantations. Luis Hernandez (not his real name) fled his 170-hectare plot outside the town of Mutata in Antioquia province nine years ago after his father-in-law and several neighbours were gunned down. When he and other survivors were able to return recently, they found the land was in the hands of a local palm producer.
There has been considerable political instability in Columbia for many years and given that many of the groups have been funding themselves with coca plantations which are illegal. This is a chance for them to become legit (in the language of South London), and turn their dirty money into freshly laundered loot.