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Different regions and social sectors as well as international delegates participated on the first day of the National Peace Congress at the Universidad Nacional of Colombia. The event aims to include more voices in the peace talks in Colombia.
Fernanda Espinoza, member of the Peoples’ Congress, the group that called the National Peace Congress, spoke with Real World Radio on Saturday to assess the first days of the event that will end today with a massive demonstration in the streets of Bogota.
Over 20,000 Colombians of 1,500 organizations and 250 guests of 16 countries opened the Congress, which aims to propose a social agenda for peace building. Fernanda said the event, based at the Universidad Nacional, had the participation of social leaders, peasant groups, women, African descendent groups, indigenous, workers and young people of all the regions.
She welcomed the turnout of organizations and communities in spite of the cold weather in Bogota and of the difficulties to discuss a common agenda in a country heavily affected by 50 years of armed conflict. She said the problem needs concrete answers and a social agenda built collectively.
Some of the issues that need to be discussed as part of the peace process, says Fernanda, are the political and economic model, justice and the recognition of the victims, health care, education, land and environment.
She also highlighted the Latin American international community’s reception of the Congress’s proposal and highlighted the presence of representatives of Venezuela, Ecuador, Central America and the Southern Cone.
At the end of the first day, the Congress was able to fulfil its aim of including more voices in the talks between the state and the insurgents by putting the solutions on the table, as well as the international follow-up of the conflict.
“The event will close with a final declaration and a big demonstration to Plaza Bolivar in Bogota’s downtown, where we will deliver an open letter to the country urging the Government to commit with the peace process and the construction of an agenda for the country in peace”, she concluded.
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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