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12 August 2016 | | | |

Building territorial peace based on Environmental Justice in Colombia: interview with Yamid González of Cinturón Occidental Ambiental (COA)

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The Second Journey of the COA will take place from August 8-14 in Antioquia, to the North-West of Colombia. The activity is supported by CENSAT Agua Viva / Friends of the Earth Colombia, among other organizations, and it gathers over 100 people from different parts of the region and the Andean country.

The COA has called the community as a whole to continue the territorial recognition process and to combat the extractive model in an organized way in this second edition of the journey. The first one took place in 2012. The model that is trying to be imposed in the region has a strong mining extractive feature, aiming to turn this region into the golden belt of Colombia. In response to these impositions, among them the building of dams, hydroelectric power plants and pine/eucalyptus monoculture plantations, social and peoples´ organizations to the South West of the Department of Antioquia have expressed their utter rejection.

Real World Radio, through its correspondent Danilo Urrea, interviewed Yamid González, member of COA, to know more about this process and the details of the mobilization three days after the beginning of the journey.

According to the activist “the first journey through the South-West region was thought of in the beginnings of the COA and strengthened the regional articulation process because it was based on the understanding of socio-environmental conflicts caused by mining projects (…). Based on this we started a strong exercise about how to implement political, economic and social actions that allow to recognize the territory and give it a special meaning as a sacred territory for life”.

The building of territorial peace, one of the issues in the spotlight for Colombian people, in the framework of the negotiations by the right-wing administration of Juan Manuel Santos and the left-wing guerrilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia –FARC- is one of the messages and goals of the journey. About this, González highlighted that “our exercise to recognize the territory allows to have a historical vision, and it is key to understand what have been the causes of the armed conflict in Colombia, which have been violating the rights of indigenous and peasant communities of the South West region (…) We are demanding a political solution to the armed conflict in Colombia, we don´t want death policies, we want policies for life, saying that life is sacred. We want social and environmental justice for life. We want to participate in the discussions about what is the kind of peace the country needs”, he added.

The journey through the South West of Antioquia, embracing the mountains, will continue travelling through peasant and indigenous territories until Sunday, when the participants will arrive to Caramantá municipality.

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