Colombia is an ally of the United States in northern South American on the Caribbean coast. It has been characterized by armed conflict with leftist revolutionaries and by the drug trade.
During 2011 and 2912 Cargill, an American agrobusiness conglomerate, was reported to have assembled a 130,000 acre plantation to grow corn and soybeans. Other firms which have acquired government land set aside for small farmers include Riopaila Castilla a sugar company and Grupo Aval, a Bogota bank. The Cargill scheme, using multiple shell companies to hold title to the land and avoid government regulations, was brokered by the Bogota law firm Brigard & Urrutia, whose named partner Carlos Urrutia was ambassador to the United States. Profits from the opportunity could be had from a free trade agreement with the United States. The parcels were assembled from under-capitalized small holders who had received their land through government programs.
Notes and references
- "In Colombia, an Alleged American Land Grab Sets Off a Political Storm" article by John Otis / Bogotá in Time July 10, 2013