Agrarian Leader Oscar Gutiérrez to Address Struggles of Colombian Farmers for Economic and Social Justice
COLOMBIA HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK FALL 2015 TOUR
The first agreement reached at the negotiating table in Havana between the Colombian government and the largest insurgent group to end the 50-year armed conflict focuses on the need for an extensive agrarian reform. Even so, Colombia’s farmers continue to struggle for economic and social justice, since “free trade” policies and the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement have undercut the ability of small farmers, indigenous communities, and other agricultural producers to make a decent living, and has reduced Colombia’s ability to feed itself by more than 30% since 1990.
In this context, the Colombia Human Rights Network is organizing a tour to bring the voice of Oscar Gutiérrez, representative of Dignidad Agropecuaria, to the United States in November of this year. Oscar Gutiérrez has a long history of political activism supporting the struggles of miners, farmers, and others in the department of Caldas, where he is from. In recent years he has been a leader of agrarian strikes involving coffee growers and other rural producers, particularly in 2013 and 2014.
The humanitarian space of Puente Nayero
is an example for the whole world,
the government needs to be conscious of this:
we are building a world of non violence
- Fragment of a song written by the communities in the Humanitarian Space of Puente Nayero.
One year ago, since 6:00PM, the inhabitants of La Playita neighborhood in Buenaventura, Colombia, had to lock themselves in their houses, hide under their beds and, above all, ensure their compliance with the law of silence. Paramilitarism was never over in their territories; the networks that remained after a deeply failed process of demobilization took over the entire urban areas of Buenaventura. Forced disappearances, dismemberments, forced displacements and homicides have increased within the city, and terror has led entire communities to utter hopelessness.
Statement by organizations of Latin American Working Group about fumigations.
U.S. Civil Society Organizations Call for an End to Inhumane and Environmentally Damaging Aerial Spraying Program in Colombia
Colombia’s Minister of Health on April 27, 2015 recommended that his nation’s counternarcotics agency immediately suspend the use of aerial spraying to eradicate coca, the plant used to make cocaine. This move followed the announcement in March that the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer had determined that glyphosate, the chemical herbicide used in the spraying, was a “probable carcinogen” for humans. The Colombian government is currently considering this recommendation. In the meantime, Colombia’s National Police director called for spraying to avoid houses and food crops in response to the health minister’s recommendation.
This article on militarization in Colombia was written by Mario Andres Hurtado Cardozo of ACOOC, an organization accompanied by FOR Peace Presence. Translated from Spanish by Kaya Allan Sugerman.
Colombia is a country with one of the oldest internal armed conflicts of all time; for over 50 years this war has intensified the inequality and poverty of many sectors of the population. This tragedy has generated around 7,000,000 victims and it is estimated that each year 4,500 individuals lose their lives because of it . Even given this bleak picture, the most common response by the Colombian state is to further fuel the conflict with use of force, thus neglecting the structural causes that gave rise to it.