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Indigenous organizations from all over Latin America are carrying out demonstrations with different demands, to mark October 12, the anniversary of what they call the “conquest” of America and the genocide of indigenous peoples. They highlight the resistance since 1492.
The Andean Coordination of Indigenous Organizations (CAOI), which comprises several groups of the continent, is calling the 5th Global Minga for Mother Earth, as part of “a civilization built for the conquest, pillage, predation and accumulation”.
While the governments of Latin American countries generally speak of the 520 years of the “discovery of America” by Christopher Columbus, the indigenous peoples and organizations are saying that it was a conquest and that there is nothing to celebrate. Instead, they mobilize with different demands.
In Paraguay, the native peoples will demand recognition on Thursday in a march along the streets of Asuncion.
The indigenous demand legal recognition of indigenous leaders, communities, organizations and groups. They also demand respect for their land, housing and public policies that answer to their problems.
Meanwhile, in Panama, the native groups are rejecting the celebration of the “discovery” of America and the idea of a “meeting of cultures”, when it was actually a conquest and destruction of societies.
In the Colombian capital, Bogota, a National Congress of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) is taking place from Friday to Sunday. The organization groups several native peoples of Colombia and it is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Over 5,000 representatives from indigenous communities will participate in the event. Some of the aims are to agree on a political project and unifying proposals ahead of the negotiation that the national government is carrying out with the left-wing guerrilla group Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Meanwhile, CAOI, which comprises ONIC among other organizations, is calling the indigenous peoples of the world to demonstrate on Friday as part of the 5th Global Minga for Mother Earth, which opens up a period of indigenous demonstrations and events. CAOI is calling to debate and to come up with proposals in defense of biological and cultural diversity, for the free determination of indigenous peoples so that they can decide their own models and for the construction of a new paradigm “alternative to the extractive, neoliberal model”, reads its press release.
“After the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, dubbed Rio+20, and before the 18th Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Climate Change (COP 18), the indigenous and social movements of the world are very clear: the people who are in power and rule the world, the transnational corporations and the countries of the global North do not care for life, they just care for ruthless accumulation, for excessive consumerism for the rich and the plundering of the poor”.
CAOI believes that today “a civilization built for the conquest, pillage and accumulation” rules the world and they demand a paradigm based on good living and the recognition of Mother Earth rights.
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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