Manuel Rozental: your struggle cannot be torn from this place

[A letter from the Tejido de Comunicacion to Manuel Rozental, Oct 6/09. Manuel's reply is here, in Spanish - English coming soon]

Pai, Manuel. May our spirits always be with you, and may your love for Mother Earth and freedom never cease, bringing you to the day where you will harvest our gratitude in the fruits of a more just world. Please don't let ingratitude and envy spoil you. Keep friendship and affection, and ignore the rest. Although you go, you are never gone: your struggle stays here and lives on within each and every one of us.

As communication weavers from Northern Cauca, we want to say good-bye to you, now that you have been forced to leave us indefinitely. Compañero Manuel Rozental, we are grateful for your commitment and ceaseless dedication to contributing substantially and fundamentally to strengthening the resistance process in Northern Cauca, the construction of alternatives and the agenda that has become a Minga in word as much as in collective struggle. What you have left is a seed of the "Country of Peoples without Owners" that will one day become a reality. In particular, we recognize your work in walking the word from community to community, where you approached everyone with care and affection to awaken consciousness, helping us to understand the complex and remote contexts of our territories, the reality that defines our lives and condemns us to eviction. With you, this understanding has also led us to support the permanent construction of alternatives from the communities and with feeling and knowledge informing that people in which you believe. You always questioned. With arguments, you always defended your beliefs and perspectives, calling for debate. You made yourself a weaver of conscience.

You were forced to leave the country, once again, for being singled out by false accusations. These have marked you since you began accompanying our indigenous communities. They respond to the selfless support you have given to social and popular organizations from Northern Cauca. First they accused you of being a CIA agent. Later, they said you were an international terrorist, a FARC sympathizer. Finally, on March 2, 2009, in Cambio Magazine, they claimed you have connections with the ELN. All of this has meant that you have been forced to leave our process. What makes us most sad is that you can no longer continue with us, walking that word that you taught us to seek out, interpret, share, hear, reflect and agree upon. Only upon finding the precise word could we walk hand-in-hand with the communities. Only from there has the process of resistance in Northern Cauca been strengthened in spite of internal contradictions and the integral aggression faced by our people.

These accusations – carried out by the regime, the various armed actors, certain political currents in the country and people from within our process – were fabricated to create a pretext to have you killed. You have defended yourself against them until now, thanks to the protection of Mother Earth, the support of our The Wala and because you have left the territory. We are certain: the juncture our process is currently crossing means that you no longer have a space to debate the ideas, proposals and the collective construction of that word that you taught us to walk. We are sad because we know that you leave permanently. We can no longer depend on your valuable support and ideas, which have converted our Tejido de Comunicación into a reliable source of information, reflection and debate, and which have given recognition to our process in both internal as well as external spheres. You helped to forge the Tejido. Later, you stepped back to let it walk alone, making yourself one more member of the team. You saw us grow and made yourself a compañero, respectful and with solidarity: only those who don't believe in us, in our people, have led some to believe that you give orders and manipulate, that you have created a dependent relationship, in spite of the fact that you are one among each and every one of us working on this project of informing to reflect, decide and act. The search that you first named, and which we assume today, was for a community that is conscious, organized, mobilized and acting coherently. You are not only in our living memories and in that which is growing in the villages and throughout the whole of the Cxhab Wala Kiwe (territory of the great people) but also in the hundreds of documents you wrote without signature, because you named and left in freedom the word of the peoples.

We want to say to you publicly that we communication weavers recognize your work, dedication, commitment and unconditional involvement both within and outside the process, in spite of the adversities. We want to tell you that we value enormously what you have taught us, the lessons, and that word you left us. In the end, you became our compañero, friend and brother. You helped us open the spaces we sought, but you demanded from us coherent word and action. You listened to us and demanded that we remain always not just obedient but also conscious, dignified, reflective, critical and proposing members of our communities. That seed you leave here will forever germinate. No matter what happens, we are committed this collective work, that which they have forced you to leave permanently. We will continue the visits, from village to village, reserve to reserve, and to cover events like the media that this country needs, with all of our capacities, to give the people the word and accompany them in this process of information, reflection, decision and action in consequence for the defence of life and territory. To continue on the path that we share will be our way of keeping you here. We will do everything possible to make this country of owners without people, submitted to the economic model of greed, a country of the peoples in harmony and equilibrium, and with justice and freedom.

For that, and along with everything we have not yet learned, recognized, walked and done, we want to thank you with all our hearts, because the seed of knowledge you left here will always be watered. We also want to tell you the same that the indigenous in the north of Canada told you at your going-away ceremony many years ago: "we need you to go away, so that we can show those who still don't believe in our peoples that we are capable, and that it is not you doing things for us but alongside us." That is why you must go away, to continue supporting other peoples and processes in the same way that you have done with us.

What has happened to you has damaged the Tejido and our process. As a consequence, they must recognize and correct their errors, learn from this experience, and make the changes necessary for the well-being of our process. We know that it will be justice alone that brings you back to your home in the Cxhab Wala Kiwe. Finally, we ask you to finish with your final commitments to our Tejido de Comunicación, given that they were agreed upon long before the decision to leave.

Many thanks, Manuel Rozental, for giving us the best of yourself and leaving that seed for us to water, so that the resistance never tires and we advance towards the construction of alternatives coherently and with the dignity of ourselves and our positions. You shouldn't have had to leave. It is true that, as a member of our community, you ought to be received permanently in the heart of our people. But that day has not arrived, and it hurts to say good-bye, or until we meet in times when we have changed the conditions that have stopped your being able to stay with us. Pai, Manuel. May our spirits always be with you, and may your love for Mother Earth and freedom never cease, bringing you to the day where you will harvest our gratitude in the fruits of a more just world. Please don't let ingratitude and envy spoil you. Keep friendship and affection, and ignore the rest. Although you go, you are never gone: your struggle stays here and lives on within each and every one of us.

Signed by the Communication Weavers:

Dora Estella Muñoz
Vilma Almendra
Nidia Isadora Cruz
María Nancy Guerrero
María Elvira Guasaquillo
Hugo Hernán Dagua
José Olmedo Quitumbo
Harold Secue
Mauricio Acosta
José Héctor Martínez
Edgar Yatacué
Juan Manuel Camayo
Ismael Jumbe
Emilio Basto
Constanza Cuetia
Norbey Zapata
Genaro Tróchez
Abel Coicué
Gustavo Adolfo Ulcué Campo
EMISORA VOCES DE NUESTRA TIERRA

Translated by Tejido de Comunicación - ACIN