We, the People’s Congress, continuing with the days of protest during the National Peasants’ Stoppage, call to and participate actively in the Indigenous, Social and Grass-Root Minga, for Life, Territory, Autonomy and Sovereignty. The Minga will start on Monday, 14th of October throughout the country, and together with the activities of national indignation and students’ and trade unions’ protests we want to ratify and defend the Colombian people’s claims to the State.
We would like to remind you that during the Peasants’ and Grass-Root Protests we, the People’s Congress and the National Peasant Coordination, proposed a list of requests which contained the following points:
1. POLITICAL RECOGNITION OF PEASANTS AND THE AFRO-COLOMBIAN AND INDIGENOUS PEOPLES. The Government, although calling itself democratic, imposes a development plan and its “locomotives”, which violate the communities’ lives with mega-projects against our visions and ways to organize.
2. LAND FOR THE PEOPLE WHO WORK ON IT AND TAKE CARE OF IT. We, the peasants, demand land and territory to develop our peasant economy and our organic and autonomous production. Land and territory are of the people!
3. PETROLEUM FOR DECENT LIVING. Petroleum should not be the bounty of transnational companies nor of corrupt politicians while the population has not got enough energy for a decent living.
4. MINING FOR A GOOD LIVING. The exploitation of mineral resources has been handed over to transnational companies which plunder and destroy nature and leave behind misery for workers and communities.
5. AUTONOMOUS SUBSTITUTION OF ILLEGALY USED CROPS AGREED UPON WITH COMMUNITIES. Based on double moral, since the economy has benefitted from the drug business, and under the pretext of fighting against drug trafficking, the Government militarizes and aggravates the conflict in vast regions while at the same time destroying subsistence crops by aerial spraying and generating a food crisis for people in rural and urban areas.
On the other hand, in the framework of the Indigenous, Social and Grass-Root Minga, for Life, Territory, Autonomy and Sovereignty, ONIC (National Indigenous Organization of Colombia) has been working on the following points of the list of requests, which we share and understand as our own and similar to the ones presented during the Peasants’ and Grass-Root Protests:
1. TERRITORY-LAND. Legal security of indigenous Lands, full right to territory: Constitution, extension, sanitation of indigenous territories – colonial reserves.
2. PRIOR CONSULTATION ON MINING, ENERGY AND HYDROCARBON PROJECTS. Direct repeal of concessions or contracts on mining exploitation in indigenous territories.
3. EXERCISE OF AUTONOMY AND SELF-GOVERNMENT. Based on territorial autonomy, cosmovision and autonomy in the exercise of our own government.
4. FTA AND RURAL POLICIES. Fostering of the referendum on the derogation of the FTA or re-negotiation of these, as well as on the derogation of all the norms affecting food sovereignty.
5. HUMAN RIGHTS, ARMED CONFLICT AND PEACE. This comprises the integral adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the indigenous peoples, demilitarization of indigenous territories, abolition of the consolidation plans, and respect to the exercise of territorial control through the indigenous guard.
We, the People’s Congress, make a call to the international human rights organizations and to the Latin-American governments to observe and accompany the situation of the Colombian population, who will be protesting throughout the country starting October 14th. The repressive antecedent of Juan Manuel Santos’ government during the protests in August for permanent living in the territories left more than 600 people arbitrarily detained, more than 1,000 injured and several deaths. This was an obvious demonstration of anti-
democratic strategies and violation of our rights.
We make a call to political, trade union, student and grass-root organizations to accompany actively and in solidarity this event of our ancestral peoples and social organizations, and to continue the mobilization initiated on August 19th, which has demonstrated unity, strength and capacity to struggle to dignify our living conditions.
October 12th, 2013
THE PEOPLE’S CONGRESS
THE COUNTRY’S PROPOSAL FOR A DECENT LIVING!