Ganadera Bocas S.A. in Naso indigenous community territory


The company Ganadera Bocas S.A. began a road and housing infrastructure project in the indigenous Naso people ancestral territories. Indigenous communities fought against this project, which resulted in the forced displacement and destruction of Naso villages at San San and San San Druy, in Bocas del Toro province.

TRADUZIONI : italiano 


Descrizione del Conflitto


In the early 1970’s, the Ganadera Bocas S.A. construction company was given a property title stating legal ownership on land originally belonging to the Naso people. Since March 2009, the company has been displacing Naso inhabitants by force and demolishing their villages. The Naso people held protest rallies against the destruction of their land and the Panamanian Government lack of legal recognition of their ancestral territories.

Cause del Conflitto

In the 19th century, the number of Naso native people fell to 2,000, and then increased to 3,500. As the Panamanian Government has never recognized the legal boundaries of Naso territories, the security, culture, traditions and integrity of indigenous lands are constantly threatened by: multinational companies and their agribusiness projects, construction companies and multinational energy companies interested in the exploitation of the Teribe River, a tributary of the Changuinola and San San rivers. Ganadera Bocas S.A., the legal owner of a part of Naso ancestral territory since the 1970’s, now wants to use this land to create housing and road infrastructure. Since March 2009, many Naso families were violently evicted from their villages of San San and San San Druy, in the Changuinola District of Bocas del Toro province.


- The destruction of houses and public structures, as well as the forced displacement of Naso indigenous people from their communities in San San and San San Druy;

- The destruction of the road network to San San and San San Druy, reducing residents movement in and out of these communities and affecting their transportation of food and water supplies;

- The reduction of biodiversity with consequent severe impacts on the lands natural resources, as the company Bocas S.A. wants to implement its infrastructure project in an area between the two UNESCO natural reserves of La Amistad International Park and Palo Seco Protected Forest.


April 2, 1914: Plot N° 102 is on the Republic of Panama Public Registry under the name of the United Fruit Company. Naso families re-occupy their ancestral territory of San San Druy from this date.

August 22, 1973: The company Ganadera Bocas S.A. obtains the property title to Plot N°102, including an additional 1,409 hectares. Naso families remain on this land until they are brutally forced to abandon the territory.

December 2005 - May 2006: A group of Naso families from the San San, San San Druy and San San Tigra communities occupy land where Ganadera Bocas plan construction and form the so-called ‘Presidio 42’ protest camp.

May 7, 2006: The Municipality of Changuinola calls for the adoption of peaceful means to resolve the conflict between the Naso people and the Ganadera Bocas company.

June 1, 2006: Karina Mendez, representing Ganadera Bocas President Mario Guardia Durfee, lodges complaints against Eliceo Vargas, Justino Vargas, Oscar Vargas and other indigenous Naso representatives.

August 13 – 21, 2006: The “Technical Proposal to facilitate discussion and conflict resolution between the Ganadera Bocas company and Naso people in San San and San San Druy territories” calls for an "increase in the level of dialogue" and the creation of a negotiation commission that includes the Ombudsman and the National Assembly.

April 18, 2007: The Municipality of Changuinola and Ganadera Bocas sign an agreement for the creation of a highway reaching the San San Druy community.

April 25, 2007: Residents of San San and San San Druy report physical and verbal threats made against them by Ganadera Bocas officials, to the Bocas del Toro Chief of Police.

May 28, 2007: Costantino Aguilar, representative of the Teribe Judiciary and President of the Municipal Council, expresses his disappointment over Article 2 of the agreement signed by Ganadera Bocas and the Municipality of Changuinola, on the expulsion of so-called ‘intruders.’

July 20, 2008: Javier Tapia, lawyer for Mario Guardia Durfee sues the Teribe Judiciary.

July 21, 2008: During a meeting between Panama’s High Level Commission and Ganadera Bocas, Naso people of San San Druy denounce the company strategy of “displacement and voluntary relocation”, and asking for a new meeting on August the 8th.

December 17, 2008: Many residents of San San and San San Druy are plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the Judiciary of Teribe brought by Javier Tapia, while many other Naso residents offer to testify as witnesses.

January 16, 2009: The Company bulldozers demolish six houses in San San village without the presence of police or the representatives of relevant authorities.

January 22, 2009: The Teribe Judiciary schedules a hearing on February 2nd.

February 2, 2009: According to trial records, only the Ganadera Bocas representative is present at the hearing. Resolution 107-09 orders residents of San San and San San Druy to leave.

February 18, 2009: Judge Araceli Sanchez and Sub commissioner Didier De Gracia, go to San San Druy to inform residents of the displacement order.

March 12, 2009: Lawyer Jairo Sam Taylor asks Judge Sanchez, who was acting without written documentation, for a copy of the displacement order.

March 22, 2009: During World Water Day, Naso people protest against hydroelectric, mineral and tourism projects already developed or planned on their land.

March 27, 2009: Naso and Ngobe indigenous leaders protesting during World Water Day are threatened.

March 30 – April 1, 2009: Around 150 policemen forcibly displace families living on Ganadera Bocas company land. In reaction, around 35 Naso people occupy Government Square in Panama City.

April 4, 2009: Officials from Ganadera Bocas and a representative of the San San River Basin local administration visit the San San community and order the residents to leave, even though they are peacefully occupying the area. April 15, 2009: The company bulldozers, escorted by five National Police units, demolish Naso farms and fruit crops.

April 16, 2009: The bulldozers tear down tents in San San village.

April 17, 2009: The bulldozers tear down the protest camp. The Naso community leader, Luis Gamarra, is detained for a few hours.

April 21, 2009: The bulldozers enter San San Druy village with a police escort. Naso people defending the Panama City protest camp occupy the Ministry of Justice, demanding a halt to the displacement of San San and San San Druy communities. In response, the Ministry offers the Naso people accommodation in prefabricated houses outside of their ancestral territory. The offer is refused.

April 2, 2009: In a statement, the Ombudsman Office admits the company is guilty of human rights violations.

April 15, 2009: Naso representatives, including Naso King Valentìn Santana along with social and environmentalist organisations, protest in front of the UN Panama City office. They manage to obtain a meeting with Jorge Araya, an officer of the UN High Commission for Human Rights.

April 24, 2009: Members of environmental groups and human rights organisations from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mexico, Honduras, Spain and Italy visit Naso communities. They use the occasion to demand that Ganadera Bocas personnel stop displacing Naso people.

May 9, 2009: Ganadera Bocas bulldozers demolish the eight access roads to Naso and Ngobe indigenous villages.

May 11, 2009: In San San, armed Ganadera Bocas personnel threaten residents , while bulldozers demolish their village. Naso representative Luis Gamarra, involved in the Panama City protest, asks Government authorities to intervene against the destruction of access roads to Naso indigenous territories.

May 15, 2009: During the “Day of the Trees”, indigenous Naso activists protest by chaining themselves to trees in Urraca Park, central Panama City. They ask the Government to respect their right to live in peace and harmony with nature, and to end the brutal displacements.


Movimenti, Organizzazioni Sociali



- Government of Panama
- Municipality of Changuinola
- United Nation High Commissioner for Human Rights
- Judiciary of Teribe
- Civil Defense Commission->]