Friday, October 10, 2008

Cauca in Colombia protest free trade and Bush-backed policies

Association of Indigenous Councils of Northern Cauca
ACIN Santander de Quilichao, Colombia Contact: Manuel Rozental (011) 57-311-339-7341
AP photo

Indigenous Communities in Colombia Mobilize to Protest U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement, Plan Colombia and the Policies of the Bush-Backed Uribe Government

October 12-13th, Mass Protests are Planned Throughout the Country

The Commotion of the People
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.On the anniversary of the Indigenous and Popular Mandate we call for the people to mobilize for liberty and against the tyranny of the regime.
Background on the Mandate of ResistanceA little more than four years ago, on September 18th 2004, we proclaimed in the San Francisco Plaza, in the center of the city of Cali, the Popular and Indigenous Mandate, the result of the first Itinerant Congress of the People for Life, Happiness, Justice, Liberty and Autonomy. Now, on the eve of October 12, 2008, we commemorate this anniversary with a mobilization to renovate and reiterate the Mandate, to assume this "conversation among the people" in order for communities, be there where they may, to take up and embrace our position.
The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, ONIC, announced that on October 12th, we would mobilize our people. We join forces with the peasant and popular movement, and will hold an Indigenous and Popular Congress, where we will restate the popular mandate of September 2004, because today, the same motives guide us and are valid, the pain we've been through is bitter, dignity calls us, and justice awaits.
The Main Points of the March We do not accept Free Trade Agreements like the ones negotiated behind closed doors with the United States, Canada, the European Union, the European Association of Free Trade, or any other deal that looks to displace us of our rights, our culture, our knowledge and our territory. We want treaties between peoples, for the people, not treaties of the patrons against the people and against Mother Earth. We denounce, resist and demand an end to the Constitutional Counter-reforms and legislation of displacement that has been implemented under the current government, measures that surrender our rights to private interests, and that submit us to silence and forced labor, to exclusion and ultimately death. There are many laws and statues implemented or in the process of being implemented, including the Rural Statute, the Mining Code, the Water Law and the Forestry Law. No more terror through Plan Colombia, the so-called "Democratic Security," or the Para-Politics of Alvaro Uribe's government.
This military strategy has invaded all of our territories and plants the seeds of death and displacement with the false claim of recuperating the "social order." We're drawing attention to the military machinations of the U.S. Southern Command, which has established coordinating centers within Colombia to carry out actions in strategic areas deemed important for multinational economic interests and the exploitation of natural resources therein. This is being carried out with the total cooperation of a government that has been accused of maintaining strong ties to illegal paramilitary groups.
We demand that the government complies with a series of agreements, accords and conventions with the indigenous communities that up to now they have ignored systematically. This includes agreements related to the 1991 Nilo Massacre of 20 Nasa Indians, where government forces were implicated in the attack. The government subsequently, agreed to return up to 15,000 hectares of land back to the indigenous communities affected by this massacre.
We also call for the government to accept the principles of the UN Declaration of the World's Indigenous Peoples, and that it be respected as law in Colombia. But we demand this not only as indigenous communities, but also in alliance with peasants and trade unions, we demand a respect for the Agrarian Mandate, the right to unionize, the respect of public services, the rights of women, and a defense of the fundamental rights of all Colombians.
We declare "All just causes are our cause." The Construction of a People's Agenda: From a country of owners without people we want to build a country of people without owners. We march forward with our own pain, of 516 years of persecution and struggle without end, and we are committed to share and feel the pain of other peoples and processes. We call on a National Congress of the People, to propose the country that WE want, in the face of an illegitimate government serving the interests of multinational and domestic private interests. With these demands, we call on national and international public opinion to express solidarity with the indigenous, peasant, afro-Colombian and working people of Colombia. October 12th marks the date over 500 years ago when European Colonialism clenched its predator claws on this hemisphere. Those claws have maintained a grip on our peoples ever since.
Today we mobilize, as millions of others mobilize throughout the Americas, demanding dignity, justice, liberty and a respect for life. October 12-13th, Mass Protests are Planned Throughout the Country
Tupac Enrique Acosta
ACIN: Indigenous Communities in Colombia Mobilize to Protest Oct 12-13th: Plan Colombia and US-Colombia Trade Agreement

Relatives of the Indigenous Nations and Pueblos of Abya Yala:
Tlahtokan Nahuacalli

Traditional Council of Izkalotlan, Aztlan
Now invoking the collective strength of our continental movement Abya Yala in response to centuries of genocide, ecocide and colonization in order to realize our Action of Affirmation October 12, 2008

Proclaiming the
1) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council on June 29, 2006, And the
2) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on September 13, 2007
As Instruments of International Law which establish the minimum standards of recognition, respect, and protection for theInherent Rights of the Indigenous Pueblos and Nations of Abya Yala

Let it be known that this Action of Affirmation on October 12, 2008 To be proclaimed and with open invitation to the Nations and Pueblos of Abya Yala North, Turtle Island Acting in Continental Coordination along with Abya Yala Central and Abya Yala South, In the name of our respective Nations and Pueblos, represents an Action of Implementation
In Exercise of the Collective Right of Self Determination as Nations and Pueblos of the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala.

These Actions of Affirmation shall be compiled and establish a Continental Archive Abya Yala
Which may then serve as an expression of principles and information regarding the cases, issues and demands of the Indigenous Peoples at the regional, national, and continental levels providing context for a Continental Collective Intervention of the Nations and Pueblos of the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala
In relation to the government states of the continent and their systems of government at the regional, national, and international levels of the Organization of American States and the United Nations.

We Propose:
That this Continental Action of Implementation of
The Collective Rights of the Nations and Pueblos of the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala
October 12, 2008
Be officially documented in coordination with the regional organizations of Indigenous Peoples, as already exist in some areas of the continent and which in others must be developed;

With the objective that this Continental Intervention Abya Yala
Compiling the Actions of Affirmation and Implementation
Fulfilled collectively on the 12th of October, 2008 shall be submitted officially to the next session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in May of 2009
With the clarification that this intervention is of the Continent Abya Yala in its entirety: South, Central, and North.

Respectfully submitted,
Tlahtokan Nahuacalli
Embassy of the Indigenous Peoples
PO Box 24009 Phoenix, AZ 85074 Telephone: (602) 254-5230

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