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During the National Agrarian, Peasant, Ethnic and Popular Summit, which is taking place in Bogota, Colombia, Real World Radio interviewed Olga Quintero, member of the Panel of Agrarian Dialogue (MIA) and the Patriotic March. She talked about land, unity, peace and mobilization, all subjects discussed during the first day of meetings.
The Summit decided to hold another national agrarian strike on the last week of April. During the mobilization that took place in August-September of 2013, the organizations set the basis for the Summit that aims to unify the proposals making use of their diversity.
Olga Quintero told Real World Radio that the Summit aims to show the Colombian Government the unity of the organizations and communities which have historically had to put up with attempts to divide them. The leader says unity is based on acknowledging the differences of each peasant, indigenous, black and grassroot organization and this should be reflected when confronting the policies that conceal them. The policies that are implemented by the Government agencies fail to solve the problem: “We get poorer every day, there are less and less opportunities to work the land. I don’t know what will happen to the peasants, that is why we are here at the Summit”.
The defense of the territory is one of the Summit’s main goals. It aims at appreciating the differences between the inter-cultural and inter-ethnic territories, as well as the differences within the communities by reaching consensus and unity necessary to submit the demands to the Government without fragmentation.
The possibility of reaching a unified proposal to resume the negotiations with Santos administration was announced during the first day of the Summit. Peasant, indigenous, black and grassroots organizations agree on their assessment of the effects of the armed conflict on their territories and rights. Therefore, peace appears as the key issue in the negotiations about putting an end to the conflict and contributing to social justice.
Olga Quintero said: “We are victims of the armed conflict, paramilitary violence has really affected us under Uribe’s administration. We ask FARC and the Government not to walk away of the negotiations. They need to reach important agreements but with a social investment on communities, agreements accepted by the people”.
About the decision to hold another day of national mobilization, the leader said there is a common aim of going on strike in April. It should be planned and organized in order to avoid fragmentation. She said the communities need to express their demands clearly in order to have an impact in the future of the agrarian situation of the country.
Finally, the relation between the countryside and the city was another key point at the Summit. “The problem is not only in the countryside but in the cities as well, in terms of education, health, employment, food. Food is becoming more expensive because of the FTA that raise the prices of imported food” the leader told Real World Radio.
Imagen: Radio Mundo Real / Censat Agua Viva AT Colombia
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