Hidden Among the Leaves – Rooted in Neverland

The resistance communities of the Neverland river basins resisted for years. They lived hidden among the leaves as “encaletados.” The army helicopters came with their troops and the paramilitaries came with their troops and sometimes they walked together or perhaps were one and the same

They were not going to abandon their lands for they feared they would forever lose them, so they lived in small shelters and crept around silently, keeping off trails and using their machetes as if they were scalpels to slice through the leaves and move silently through the dense landscape.

Their lands they had gained through struggle and persistence. It was all they had and now others – wealthy others who owned many lands and who could pay an army to do their bidding – wanted them to flee and lose themselves in the heaving poor shantytowns that ringed Colombia’s cities.

They had been granted collective land titles under the Ley (Law) 70 of 1993. Many had migrated from the nearby province of Futheraway where they were forced from their farms that others coveted.

The ancestral lands of the communities of the Neverland river where the poor farmers coexisted with nature and stories of old, were burnt and raped and turned over to monocultures of African palm that drained and poisoned the land.

But the little people of the forest had spirit and nothing to lose but their land or their lives. They chose to risk all. They stayed a fought to halt the end of their world in the richest corner of the Americas. They are the Resistentes and still, they stubbornly resist being cast into the void to wander the world without roots.

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