Letter: Congress of the Peoples at the Agricultural Summit

(Translated by Eunice Gibson, a CSN volunteer translator)

Greetings and best wishes,

Ever since April 28, thousands of campesinos, indigenous and Afro-Colombian people from all the regions of Colombia, taking part in the Agricultural Summit, have taken to the streets of Colombia to demand that the Colombian government acknowledge our message and that it set up a national meeting devoted to negotiations that will lead to the development of new agricultural policies, policies that will allow us to remain on the land with decent living conditions. The mobilized communities have suffered many violations of human rights by the Armed Forces. Nevertheless, they still want to return to their communities, but with solutions for the massive needs that are pressuring the campesinos and the indigenous and Afro-Colombian people.

Today, on May 8, we want to report on some advances in the negotiations between the Agricultural Summit and the national government:

At present there are more than eighty locations where the people have gathered, and there are nearly 120,000 people mobilized in sixteen regions of Colombia.

Even though there have already been five work sessions with the government, there have been no significant advances. Because of that, the government has agreed to carry out two days of intensive work (Thursday and Friday) in order to reach a consensus and to try to sign an agreement that will respond to the needs of the mobilized communities.

1. The signature of a presidential decree has been achieved. That is the Agricultural Summit’s first demand. This is considered important because it recognizes the political role of the Agricultural Summit, it establishes the areas for negotiation of the eight points in our message, and it sets forth guarantees for the communities and organizations for carrying out the negotiations.

2. There continue to be criminal complaints filed because of violations of the human rights of the mobilized communities and the Agricultural Summit demands that the government, the international community, and the guarantors of the negotiation meetings carry out the mission of determining the locations of the worst violations of the rights of the demonstrators by the Armed Forces, with the goal of establishing the facts of those violations.

3. Negotiations will continue on the basic points:

a. Ensuring continual support for human rights: The task will be to determine the sites of the public gatherings, the prosecutions of those arrested in the 2013 strike, and real protections for the organizations that have mobilized, and recognition of campesinos as people with rights and the inclusion of the category of campesino in the agricultural census.

b. Economic imperatives: The creation of a fund to support the campesino and ethnic economies, the creation of pilot projects for the eradication of coca, marijuana and poppy planting combined with crop substitution in various regions of the country.

c. Legal regulation of land use: Revitalization of the reservations for indigenous people, establishing rules to carry out Statutes 70/93 and 160/94. Establishing rules for the areas reserved for campesinos, areas for food crops and areas for biodiversity, as well as interethnic and intercultural areas.

In general these are the advances made at negotiation meetings after five days of intense negotiation.

We invite suggestions


Robert Daza, Marylén Serna, Rodolfo Vecino, Alberto Castilla
Spokespersons for the Congress of the Peoples at the Agricultural Summit

May 9, 2014

(This translation may be reprinted as long as its content remains unaltered and the source, author and translator are cited.)

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