(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
THE ANTIOQUIA DEMOCRATIC ALTERNATIVE POLE IS IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE BANANA WORKERS’ MOVEMENT
The Antioquia Democratic Alternative Pole supports the movement put forward by the banana producers in Urabå and rejects the arbitrary attack by the armed forces against the civilian population, carried out with blockades against their peaceful protests in the region.
Debts by banana marketers such as Banacol to the growers (more than four billion pesos) (about USD 210,500) along with other social, political, and economic factors have led to a situation where some 20,000 families who grow bananas are in crisis and demand the establishment of negotiations with representatives of the national government.
The atmosphere in the region has become rarefied with the excessive force used by the police, and right now we don’t know how many people have been arrested and injured, because the area is militarized and the armed forces have taken over the neighborhoods in the municipalities, a situation that we reject emphatically.
Any further information in this area is available from one of the leaders, Manuel García. His cell phone number is 320 686 6982.
PD: We attach the message sent by Dignity for Banana Growers on July 28. We support it completely as long as it remains relevant and applicable.
Olmedo López Martinez
Alternative Democratic Pole
César Augusto Duque Buitrago
Office of Communications
DIGNITY FOR BANANA GROWERS
STATEMENT TO PUBLIC OPINION
Turbo, July 28, 20 14
Banana growers of Urabá-Darién Chocoano-Caribe, Colombia, in a meeting carried out on July 27 of this year, and considering that we have received no answer to the petitions we have directed to the government and to the marketers to our petitions expressing our views on the problems that we are suffering as an agricultural sector in the area of Urabá-Darién
Caribe, we will allow ourselves to inform public opinion in general that beginning at the zero
hour of August 4 of this year, we are beginning a journey of protest, with a community demonstration in every municipality in the subregion of Urabá-Darién. Our goal is to demand that the national, provincial and municipal governments, as well as the marketers, listen to our list of demands. These refer to the following aspects:
1. Adjustment of the price of a 25 kg. box of exotic bananas (premium) and/or subsidizing the imbalanced price in cost/sale and control of prices; elimination of shipping charges.
2. Reducing and/or subsidizing the price of fertilizer, raw materials, and phytosanitary controls.
3. Immediate payment by BANACOL S.A. of its obligations to the growers – (ten weeks)
4. Strengthening of growers’ associativity (comprehensive advice, IBM associative)
5. Active and effective presence of the Urabá National Banana Chain (Signature of a competitiveness agreement.)
6. Space to place our products: platforms, ports, Nueva Colonia and Zungo and/or improvement of the ports of Casanova, el Guafe or el Obrero in Turbo.
7. Guarantee marketing for small producers.
8. Public services. Basic health and focused education.
9. Highway infrastructure. (Secondary roads.)
10. Decent housing for the growers.
11. Refinancing of debts, soft loans and subsidies to renovate and sustain plantings
12. An irrigation district for the plantings
13. A center for experimentation on bananas
14. Close attention to the banana growing families in Urabá-Darién-Caribe. (Social Security)
15. A complete plan for development of UDACA banana production activities.
At different points in the Urabá subregion there will be demonstrations and mobilization of campesinos who are asking that our demands be considered by the government, in order to advance the creation of concepts to decide on the future of banana culture in Urabá-Darien-Caribe.
Relying on the constitutional right to free movement and social protest, we urge governmental agencies to furnish all guarantees of the effective recognition of our rights, and for the protection of those who are exercising their right to mobilization and protest.
We also urge the Urabá community to understand our situation and pay attention to the current situation of demonstrations and conversations with the government, with the purpose of improving living conditions for the campesino families in Urabá-Darién Chocoano.
DIGNITY FOR BANANA GROWERS IN URABA-DARIEN-CHOCOANO-CARIBE