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The leader of the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations (CLOC-Via Campesina) Rafael Alegria, who has received death threats by businessmen and rural estate owners, talked about the 20 years of the organization.
He spoke at the 1st Continental Assembly of CLOC-Via Campesina held in October in Managua, Nicaragua, where the organization passed its by-laws and they appointed the National Indigenous Peasant Movement as the headquarters for the Secretariat.
Alegria said that when the coordination was created, the political scenario was totally disadvantageous for organizing social movements.
He said that the agrarian struggle was traditionally limited to the confrontation of the land owners, but “nowadays the main problem in the Americas continues to be land, food, water, genetically modified organisms and the fight for land is the fight against transnational corporations. The old stereotype of the land owner has changed…we are now faced with corporations, banks”, said Alegria.
He talked about the growing violence against rural communities in Honduras, Guatemala, Paraguay, Colombia and Argentina. “Since in Latin America there are large extensions of land, as well as reserves of oil, gas, water and biodiversity, transnational corporations want to take over these resources”. He mentioned as an example the approval of the Honduran Parliament of a law for the building of the so-called “model cities” by privatizing land and natural resources in the hands of foreign investors.
“We’ve said that we don’t want to be the grassroots movement of the government, even if it is progressive, we want real power so that our people can make decisions”, he said.
Photo: Escuela Campesina Francisco Morazán – ATC - Nicaragua
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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