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Two weeks after the Agrarian Peasant Summit went on strike in Colombia and as the protest measure gets stronger, the 11 organizations that make up said Summit reached their first victory since they started a new stage in the struggle for the Colombian countryside in 2013 with the first National Agrarian and Peoples´ Strike.
On Friday, May 9, the Summit announced that the strike had reached “115 focal points in the entire country, with the participation of indigenous, peasant, afro-Colombian communities, gathering almost 120,000 people”. That same Friday, the strike was lifted: “We have established very important things: that the President of the Republic signs a decree to give legal and political support to the installation of a National Dialogue Table to negotiate and discuss some issues, such as a Peasant Fund for the organizations that are part of the Agrarian Summit process”, said in an interview with Real World Radio, Ricardo Herrera, leader of one of these organizations, the National Agrarian Coordination (CNA).
Among the agreements reached, Herrera also highlighted that it was possible to put on the table the issue of the decriminalization of protests: “that is, to take out of prison our friends who were arrested during the strike and the previous mobilizations”. In addition, “we´ve obtained the establishment of 30 infrastructure projects for social investment”. But he said that this is only the beginning: “the work and discussions will come later. This is a partial victory, we could say, for the peasant movement in Colombia”.
As far as the table itself, the leader told RWR that it will be made up by 35 leaders from the organizations that are part of the Summit, “together with the national government through ministers, secretaries and institutions linked to the development and establishment of policies for the Colombian countryside”. As far as deadlines, he said that the organizations have set 3 months as a deadline to solve the most urgent problems, among them the creation of a Fund for Peasant, Black and Indigenous Economy.
However, Herrera said that this is a long process “because we´ve proposed 8 points, including a revision of the problem of lands and territories, the mining-energy policy, development promotion and production in the Colombian rural areas”.
There is also uncertainty in terms of the possible advances, due to the fact that national elections will take place soon in Colombia, on May 25: “we don´t know if we are speaking to the President or the candidate”, since current President Juan Manuel Santos is running for re-election.
The leader stated that the struggle will stay strong: “because these capitalist, neoliberal governments need a strike for them to listen to us, another strike to sign agreements and another one to have them enforced”.
Lastly, Ricardo Herrera assessed the mobilizations around the strike and highlighted the unity in the agrarian, social and peoples´ movement: “we were dispersed, but we, national and regional organizations, were able to create a process of unity, to discuss, analyze and have our agreements, and build our statement of claims”.
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