The history of a community called La Palma
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This is a historical timeline of the Palma (a community of the town of Sucre in the heart of the Mojana region) according to a number of testimonies from members of the Palma community, who, in their majority, are descendants of the founders of the town.
1953: A man named Onorio de Hoyos and his wife, Rafaela Lara Bello acquired the terrain that is now known as La Palma. At this time all that existed was an empty farm called La Palma.
1960: Onorio de Hoyos distributed parts of his farm among his nine children and also sold a part of his land; in the following years this farm turned into a town.
1968: Primary education began for the first time in La Palma.
1970: A church began to congregate under the umbrella of the AIEC denomination (Association of Evangelical Churches of the Caribbean), even though at the beginning it was only a few people.
1991: The government began to work on the dirt road from Sucre, Sucre to the Palma.
1992: The 35th front of the FARC began to attack the community and terrorize the region, which caused trauma ,which remains present today.
1995: The community aqueduct was built (although it doesn’t have permanent running water).
1996: Through the leadership of teacher and pastor Wilman Páez Soto, a high school was built, which has largely benefitted the new generation.
1997: Organized crime and violence peaked in the community, due to continuous confrontations between guerilla groups, paramilitaries (self-defense groups) and the national army.
1998: The group called Águilas Negras (black eagles) took control of a large part of territory in the region.
1998: During the elections, confrontation came to a deciding point when paramilitaries entered the community from one side, forcing families to leave their homes and belongings to evacuate the town. The national army entered from the other side, preparing themselves for the confrontation, and when both groups arrived to the center of the community they were going to begin to fight, but the pastor of the local church stood up and said: “In the name of Jesus Christ, no one will fire not even one shot.” That day not one shot was fired and both groups left the community and from there on the violence diminished greatly in La Palma.
More than ten years after the strong wave of violence, the mark of trauma left by a horrific war against organized crime can still be seen. Today, violence has ceased, however the population of the Mojana region continues to suffer for other reasons. In recent years, the flooding of the San Jorge, Magdalena, and Cauca rivers have caused flooding in the entire region, which intensely affects 90% of the population.