(Translated by Marla Greenwald, a CSN volunteer translator)
Note: The Colombian Macizo refers to a mountainous region in southern Colombia. As you move north, these mountains turn into three distinct ranges of the Andes Mountains.
Greetings to the indigenous and popular resistance movement (the Minga), a movement that is more alive than ever… the unconstitutionality of the “statute of rural development” is still more evidence of the significant effort made by this indigenous and popular movement to achieve freedom for mother nature. With determination, resolve and unity, one begins to see the fruit of one’s labor.
This government, like those before, aims to clear the Colombian Macizo of its peoples, its ancient protectors: the Yanaconas and the mestizos. They wish to hand the land over to the multinational water corporations and possibly use it for a North American military base currently located in Manta, Ecuador.
Members of the CRC (Corporacion Autonoma Regional del Cauca, an environmental and development agency for the Cauca region) recently informed indigenous people that they must abandon their plots of land on the mountainside. Furthermore, they threatened the people saying that if they did not evacuate and cease their agricultural activities, they would be forcefully removed by military personnel stationed at a nearby base and taken to prison. We met to discuss these developments at a meeting convened by the indigenous communities of the Yanacona territory, in Monterredondo, which is under the jurisdiction of the Guachicono and San Sebastian Indigenous Reservations.
The CRC and National Parks Unit, ignoring traditional authorities and as well as the authority of all the Yanacona, had already begun a trip through the Yanacona interior to inform people of a project on the famous biological corridors. They also stated that one such project may be conducted in the Colombian Macizo and offered gifts to some community members.
Functionaries of the CRC and the National Parks Unit attended the assembly and were informed that, first, the authorities would meet with the community present and once they had made their decision they would call them in order to inform them of the decision. After discussing the situation for approximately two hours, they called the functionaries to the center of the meeting and asked them to ensure that the territory be vacated immediately. They were also asked to relay these clear demands to their superiors in the following order: (1) The immediate evacuation of the two corporations from the Yanacona territory; (2) Immediate cessation of any and all dialogue and actions with the two corporations until the traditional authorities decide to resume them; (3) To refuse any intermediary from the corporations. What must be done will be done authority to authority, that is to say the Yanacona Council of Traditional Authorities, the community board, and the Ministry of Environment, Housing and Territorial Development; (4) The promoters, functionaries, or people accompanying those entities from indigenous territories will never have the status of spokesmen with the CRC or National Parks Unit, the only spokesmen are the traditional authorities: the internal councils, the community board, and the general meeting of all Yanacona; (5) The Yanacona people will not be responsible for the security of outsiders in the territory; (6) There will be no dialogue in offices, everything will be done in the Yanacona territory, and specifically in Monterredondo; (7) No authority or individual person can negotiate with institutions that have to do with territorial or environmental issues. This will be done by the Council of Traditional Authorities of the Yanaconat, and (8) That they declare themselves in permanent session to confront the internal problem of the Yanacona.
“The Yanacona People will, in the context of their autonomy, continue to fight for the liberation of their territory and will not stop its actions until it has achieved its goal.”
¡Long live Mother Earth’s free waters!
Yanacona Council of Traditional Authorities
Monterredondo, March 21st, 2009