Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 4: Our Dignified Rage Walks the Word

This is a translation of a newsletter being written by a communication collective in Cali during the mobilisations.

Opening of the Peoples Pre-congress

With the arrival of the last marches and delegations that are part of the Minga of Social and Community Resistance in the Southwest of Colombia as night came, the peoples pre-congress was opened. Thousands of people filled the area in front of the state and the passionate emotive hymn of the Indigenous Guard opened the evening’s activities. The verses of the national anthem were not sufficient to welcome the diversity of the participants and the crowd was quiet with the sound of whispered conversations.

One after another, voices of those who have been in the process of building the Minga and who, tired and angry, expressed and conveyed the dignity of the peoples who are tired of paying the consequences of the current political and economic model. The voices told us of their realities: the impact of the multinationals on their communities and regions, the game that the powerful play with the destiny of the communities, the permanent human rights violations, the impossibility to decide how their economical, environmental and cultural resources will be used, and the militarization in rural and urban areas…… the angry dignity created by these problems exploded in words through different expressions from the heart of the Mingueros. But the voices also told us about their processes, about the steps that they have taken to build another country “where we all fit”, and about the hope and strength of the peoples. After this collective recognition, of knowing who we are and where we come from, the party began with happiness and fraternity.

Organising the path

All the mingueros met in the afternoon in themed working groups to decide on the methodology that they will use in the working groups and the discussions in The Peoples Pre-congress in Cali; also they shared and defined the subthemes that arise from the 5 point agenda that has been created nationally in the Minga de Pensamiento and that will be crucial in organizing and advancing in the construction of some proposals and paths to keep walking the work towards The Peoples Congress. In the Sovereignty, Land and Territory working group, people spoke about: comprehensive agrarian reform, legalization and reclaiming land, privatization, megaprojects, environmental sovereignty and food sovereignty. In the War and Human Rights working groups they looked at how to build a Peace Agenda that looks at the political and social roots of the conflict and how to propose a political solution based on these roots, as well as demanding from the state the guarantee and application of all human rights.

Public Statement

The organizations who are participating in the Minga of Social and Community Resistance denounce to the national and international public opinion and to Colombian social and human rights organizations the attacks to which Mingueros in the department of Cauca have been subjected to. Today in the city of Popayan various people have been detained by the police. They are Omaira A Piamba from the Comitte for the Integration of Mestizo Colombia, ALEX LOPEZ a motorcycle taxi driver and Julio Quiñones who is involved in housing struggles in Popayán.
It is important to note that the people detained by the police were participating at the time in one of many peaceful activities that are happening in different cities in the country as part of the Minga of Social and Community Resistance.

Again the armed forces are brutally attacking the popular and social movement that has taken to the streets to make proposals and work for a better country for everybody.

We demand the immediate freedom of the compañeros detained in Popayan and that the fundamental right to participate in peaceful protest is respected.

We Have Grown

The heavy rains that arrived in the afternoon also brought the force of the campesino, afrodescendents and other social sectors to the Peoples Coliseum. Their arrival was emotional for all as they were greeted with enthusiastic clapping and happy cheering from those who had already arrived. These Mingueros have been walking from different parts of the country for more than a week; Chocó, the North and Central area Valle, Tolima and the coffee región. They entered the coliseum with rallying cries against the multinationals that invade their territories, against the government that persecutes, marginalices and assassinates them and about all shouting with happiness for the opportunities for creation of new possibilities through exchanges with others who are socially conscious with the hope of moving towards a popular uprising and the construction of a new Colombian, dreamed by many.

The Minga continues to nourish itself with people from different places, marchers from Popayán and Antioquia who arrived to join in the process of the Pre-Congress. We are many who are preparing for the congress in July 2010. We are not everyone. We hope to wake more consciousnesses, hearts, and wisdom to keep weaving the Minga of Social and Community Resistance.

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