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October 4 - 13
In this special edition of Colombia Review, we turn to Cauca, Colombia, where indigenous peoples have been mobilizing over the past several days (517 years really) in commemoration of the dawn of Spanish colonialism in the Americas, a colonialism that has changed bosses but never really subsided. Their resistance to the neoliberal project (most explicitly represented by Plan Colombia I and II, Plan Puebla Panama, the IIRSA, and a number of other local, national and transnational projects, all of accumulation and death) and in defense of their Life Plans as well as those of the rest of Colombia's popular and social movements. Readers will have paid close attention to the struggle of the sugarcane workers (the corteros), which is still on-going and in serious need of outside support and people pressuring the states responsible for the terror they are courageously facing head-on. As we watch the struggle of the corteros and express our solidarity with them from outside, the indigenous of Cauca have stood beside the corteros at every step, just as the corteros have supported the indigenous 'liberation of Mother Earth'.
Still, the situation is intensifying in Cauca. In the last 10 days, no less than 13 indigenous have been murdered, this following the threat from the 'Angry Peasants of Cauca' received by the indigenous movement in Cauca on the 5th of August, 2008. Much of the violence is attributed to the paramilitary group the 'Aguilas Negras', a reincarnation (or extension) of the supposedly demobilized right-wing death squads that have hunted down trade unionists, social movement leaders, and the Uribe regimes opposition over the past few years: those same death squads that have taken up their posts in the Colombian state and negotiate free trade agreements with their allies in the North and impose mining codes and displacement for transnational capital.
In spite of the violence and dire situation, the indigenous and popular movements of Cauca in particular have not let up. Their resolve against the free trade agreements and violence in their territories is not only an inspiration but also a message to those of us outside that we, too, must stand on the side of civil resistance not only in Colombia but in our own communities. The Colombia model is being countered amidst the most difficult of situations. That same model of armed robbery exists in decidedly different forms in places like Canada, the US and Europe; that model is the same and must also be exposed, confronted and challenged at every step. THAT is perhaps the best kind of solidarity we can express.
Find below several articles (most on which have been translated by the formidable Mario Murillo) on the mobilizations in Cauca as well as a video produced by the Communications Network of the Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Colombia (ACIN) (in English and Spanish). For readers of Spanish, there are some communiques coming directly from the ACIN.
Dirty War of Terror Being Waged Against Indigenous Movement in Colombia
Come from where they may, these assassins' bullets represent a war against the people. Come from where it may, this plan of death benefits those who would have us silenced and displaced! They should leave now, those who bring war, those who use arms against the people, those who use death to feed their avarice. Leave us in peace!
By Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca (ACIN), Translated by Mario Murillo,13 October 2008
Indigenous Communities Throughout Colombia Begin Mobilization Amidst Government Imposed State of "Internal Commotion"
Today we mark 517 years of resistance against an uninterrupted aggression. The Neo-liberal conquest, more cruel and technologically developed than the one that started with the European invasion, advances with its insatiable appetite of accumulation.
By ACIN, Translated by Mario Murillo, 12 October 2008
Indigenous Communities in Colombia Mobilize to Protest U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Plan Colombia and the Policies of the Bush-Backed Uribe Government
Today, four years after the First Itinerant Congress of the Peoples, we, the indigenous communities of northern Cauca, reiterate its message and validity and continue through the path we walked back then, a march that was weaved through centuries of memory and resistance… Today we mobilize, as millions of others mobilize throughout the Americas, demanding dignity, justice, liberty and a respect for life.
By ACIN, Translated by Mario Murillo, 9 October 2008
Manuel Quintin Lame: 41 Years After his Death, his Legacy Remains Strong
"My position is to defend through legal means the indigenous territories…my labor I conduct with a grand public spirit…and my voice, tomorrow, will have a different tone, for it will be the voice of the silent lightning that scratches the darkened night sky over the western horizon." – Manuel Quintin Lame
By Mario Murillo, MAMARadio, 6 October 2008
A Call For Solidarity with the Social Movements of Colombia on this 516th Anniversary of the European Invasion
Once again approaching the anniversary of the invasion initiated by Christopher Columbus which is continually mistaken in great offense as the discovery of the continent that today we call America, we bees, compañeras ants and other animals and plants of Abya Yala (South America) have concluded with buzzing from a continual Minga of thought.
By The Beehive Collective, 5 October 2008
Community, Indigenous and Worker Alternatives to Transnational Mining
…[The recent Bogotá Declaration focuses on] combating impunity of transnational corporations, the need for strong environmental and human right protections toward the aim of good living for all, as well as opposition to the whims of sumptuary consumerism of metals and metal products.
By Jennifer Moore, UpsideDownWorld.org, 8 October 2008
Plan Integral de Agresión en el Cauca / Integral Plan of Agression in Cauca, Colombia
The Nasa people of Northern Cauca in South Western Colombia, have become a symbol of resistance and an example of dignity. This documentary explains the occupation strategy being advanced through "Plan Colombia Phase II" on behalf of corporate and geo-strategic transnatonal interests. The exceptional effort of the Nasa people is at risk of elimination for the sake of profit. The documentary was entirely scripted and produced by our indigenous communications network and by our communities in resistance for life and dignity.
En español http://www.youtube.com/watch?
In English http://mx.youtube.com/watch?v=
Contenido en español
¡La conmoción de los pueblos!
Información en español sobre la Gran Minga de Resistencia Social y Comunitaria desde en Cauca, Colombia. Cada día, se encuentra aquí más información a través del Tejido de Comunicación y Relaciones Externas para la Verdad y la Vida, de la ACIN.
Nos encadenamos para alcanzar la Libertad
Lo más difícil de la lucha contra la esclavitud y la tiranía es reconocer que existen. Cuando los pueblos nos sabemos esclavos, las cadenas estorban y desde ese momento, la Libertad se hace indispensable, impostergable, tan necesaria como el aire para respirar. No vale la pena la vida sin Libertad…. Hoy, segundo día de la Minga desde el Cauca hacemos un llamado: a partir de mañana, hagamos visibles las cadenas para quitarnoslas de encima.
Por ACIN-Cauca, 13 de octubre 2008