(Translated by Steve Cagan, a CSN volunteer translator)
Pacific Region, September 11, 2008
On September 1, 2008, a new stage in the fumigations in the Municipality of Timbiqui began. The spraying, which lasted for a week, devastated the different plants grown for family consumption (plantains, bananas, potatoes, bread tree sometimes called “monkey bread tree”–SC, among others) that the Afro-Colombian communities of the Renacer Negro (Black Reawakening) Community Council of the middle and upper Rio Timbiquí depend on for their nourishment and food security.
We want the world to know that in the collective territory of the Renacer Negro Community Council, at the level of the communities of Santa Maria and Chete, the planes spilled the chemical with which they were fumigating in the river, and they also fumigated the water intake of the community of Santa María, where the human population is now feeling health problems as a result of this. This proves once more that the resources from the United States that arrive in Colombia through Plan Colombia for military aid are leading to the death of our communities and the destruction of natural resources and the environment.
The appearance of crops for illegal use [a common euphemism for coca—SC] occurred only in 2002.Paradoxically,in this year the policy of “Democratic” Security started. From that moment and in a systematic way the organizations of the Black communities and the community councils have warned about the negative impacts of the presence of invaders from outside the area, people of bad faith, who have planted these crops in the area, and with that the presence of people involved in the internal armed conflict. Despite the way this happened and the cooperation between these invaders and the different forces of the State, we can see that the planting of these crops together with fumigation in the area is an integral part of the strategy of displacement and de-territorialization of the native Afro-Colombian population [i.e., getting people to lose their collective title to the land—SC],and with that, the effects on their fundamental and ethnic rights.
We in the community councils support a process of reaching an agreement with the national government for the autonomous eradication of the crops with illegal ends. This process must give our communities guaranties and opportunities for wellbeing in accord with our cultural heritage, and must make it possible for the people from outside the area to leave our ancestral territories.
It is worth noting that the Afro-Colombian communities in this area are part of the territory with the greatest biodiversity in the world, and the second most important ecological area at the global level. In this sense, in addition to damaging human health, the fumigations throughout the region of the Pacific are contributing to the increase of irreversible damage to the environmental ecosystems in a period of climate change and global warming.
The crops with illegal uses, the fumigations and the militarization of our territories have an enormous effect on cultural identity, autonomy and governability in the collective territories, and in general on the collective project of the Black communities in the Pacific region. We are therefore working on the formulation of plans for environmental and territorial management with a view to environmental and ecological protection of the territory, strengthening our organization, and community participation that would make it possible for our communities to live in dignity in our territories.
“Assembly of Community Councils and Ethno-Territorial Organizations
of the Southern Pacific”
Tumaco, October 1 to 4, 2008
ASOCIACION DE CONSEJOS COMUNITARIOS DE TIMBIQUI
PALENQUE MAYOR EL CASTIGO.
CONSEJO COMUNITARIO RENACER NEGRO
CONSEJO COMUNITARIO NEGROS UNIDOS
CONSEJO COMUNITARIO NEGROS EN ACCION
CONSEJO COMUNITARIO PARTE ALTA SUR DEL SAIJA
CONSEJO COMUNITARIO PATIA NORTE
PROCESO DE COMUNIDADES NEGRAS EN COLOMBIA PCN
With our traditional affirmation of Life and Joy, Hope and Liberty.
Proceso de Comunidades Negras