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A woman attends a march to promote a law backed by then-President Juan Manuel Santos concerning the restitution of land to victims of the country’s armed conflict, Necocli, Colombia, Feb. 11, 2012 (AP photo by Luis Benevides).

‘Land Was a War Booty’: Colombia Confronts a Legacy of Mass Displacement

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019

APARTADO, Colombia—The sun was sitting low in the sky when Luis Izquierdo noticed the group of armed men walking onto his family’s farm in this town in Uraba, a region of northwestern Colombia that abuts the Caribbean Sea. In the fading daylight, he couldn’t see them clearly at first; he and his parents and siblings thought they might be soldiers looking for something to eat or drink.

Their guts started to clench, however, when the men came closer with their rifles shouldered. They realized it was more likely that the men belonged to a paramilitary group that had recently started to terrorize the area. ...

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