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8 de octubre de 2014 | | | | | | |

Under serious threat: Views on high mountains targeted by the transnational capital in Colombia and Latin America

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On September 26, during the first day of the Sixth High Mountains Conference, the panel "High Mountains: Threats, Conflicts and Resistance" took place. The panel focused on recognizing the threats faced by high mountains today in Colombia and Latin America.

Its aim was to share ideas, proposals and struggles of high mountain communities to defend their territories; it also aimed to identify the issues in common that allowed to pave the way for a joint search for defense strategies.

According to Fanel Guevara, of the Andean Amazon Water Network, the conflicts related to extractive industries in Latin America amount to 60% of all socio-environmental conflicts. Guevara also said that the capitalism development model does not aim at the wellbeing of communities, but it seeks to benefit transnational corporations and it is based on nature exploitation with the complicity of governments.

According to Colombian Professor Joaquin Molano, the global economic development model has tried to establish a commodifying view of territories, reducing mountains to a naturalistic vision and considering them empty spaces, thus erasing the history, ancestral knowledge and complexity of life in high mountains. Molano said that to reduce the high mountains to a strategic ecosystem or ecoregion turns its resources and functions into commodities and gives way to the so-called "environmental services" in the framework of the financialization of nature.

In addition, he said that the delimitation of high mountains is a strategy of the government to fragment the mountains and divide the communities. This is why he urges to defend and protect Andean territories in their entirety: glaciers, mountains, forests, watersheds, etc.

Alfredo Díaz de Sintrapaz talked about how the peasant struggles in Sumapaz have been, for decades, a constant example of resistance to the capitalist control and degradation of the territory. He urged the inhabitants of the cities to understand that these struggles have been fundamental, not only for peasants, but for the over 13 million people who today benefit from the agriculture and water coming from Sumapaz.

As Cristian Cruz of Tierra Libre said: "They are imposing on us a change of calling. Our calling is to produce food, it is based on environmental reserves guarded by our communities, and what they are trying to do is to turn them into a business, they are commercializing nature. The energy-mining plans are the path to a project of death", highlighted Cruz.

Isaac Marin, of the Agrarian, Ethnical and Popular Summit, believes that the Summit has shown that it is possible to speak to the country from an agrarian point of view, from the thinking and way of living of peasants, indigenous people and afro-descendant people. The Summit is a key unitary process to face the neoliberal polices of the government through the articulation of the communities of the different Colombian peasant territories.

The panel concluded that it was necessary to recognize that high mountains are territories with ancestral and historical processes, which have been inhabited for millennia with sacredness in mind, based on the peasant life, on the different worldviews of the inhabitants and today are seriously threatened by the current capitalist development model. Therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the regional and national work of the different processes in defense of high mountains.

Imagen: Lucas Rodríguez

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