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The Continental Assembly of the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC-Via Campesina) began on Thursday in the Nicaraguan capital, Managua, with a tribute to three key figures in the country’s liberation and revolutionary process: Augusto César Sandino, Carlos Fonseca Amador and Tomás Borge.
The tribute and the mistica were held in Plaza de la Revolucion, outside the National Palace, the headquarters of Somosa’s dictatorship, which has been turned into a Cultural house, where the regional commissions are making an assessment of the peasants policies in Latin America.
Over 300 delegates came to Nicaragua, who will demonstrate on Sunday in solidarity with what is happening to the communities in Honduras, Guatemala, Paraguay and Colombia, over disputes for land which have caused destabilization and systematic State violence sponsored by land owners and transnational corporations.
Eberto Diaz, from Colombia, is participating in the Assembly of CLOC, which is turning 20 years since it was founded. Diaz is a leader of FENSUAGRO, the Colombian peasant federation, which is a member of La Via Campesina.
Eberto told Real World Radio about Colombia’s current situation. The country is in the process of dialogue between the revolutionary armed forces and the government. He said the social movements insist in stopping war, which is causing damage and human rights violations, plus the peasants suffer because the government denies them funds.
The social sectors say that the need for peace not only means the absence of armed conflict, but also a political response to social demands, as well as wealth distribution.
Although according to the Food and Agriculture Organization there is no land grabbing in Colombia, Eberto says that 62% of the lands are owned by only 0.4% of the people. There are around 1.5 million peasant families that have no land in Colombia, according to Eberto.
This structural problem has worsened as a result of the operation of mining transnational corporations in the country and the production of agrofuels produced from palm oil or sugar cane. This has been promoted by public policies of past and recent governments.
Eberto also said that CLOC’s foundation 20 years ago coincided with the promotion of neoliberal policies in the continent, and the coming out of dictatorial processes, in many cases under military dictatorships.
“Latin America does not want to continue being the US’s backyard, the struggle of CLOC has been essential for that”, he said. He also mentioned there are specific processes to recover democracy in the continent, far from multilateral agencies like the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Some of the work commissions in the Assembly are: food sovereignty, peasant agriculture, natural goods, coca, “seeds campaign” and “campaign against agrotoxics” and agrarian reform, land and territory, human rights, no to violence against women, campaign to free political prisoners, education, communication, migrations and rural workers, indigenous peoples and African descendants. ‘
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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