The Time Has Come to Walk the Word

This is a communique from ACIN about the May 15 Mobilization in Colombia.

All this is difficult to see, understand, resist, and change. It demands unity, creativity, intelligence, solidarity, commitment, sacrifice and much work, but also much joy and much desire for life. -- The Indigenous and Popular Mandate

The mobilization has begun. The demand for the right to a different country. In an uprising of consciousness, humble gifts are brought together to generate liberty, solidarity, and justice.

Colombia is not the country we have dreamed of. Today more than ever, we stand by what we stated in the Indigenous and Popular Mandate: “The state that should protect us persecutes us.” Recent events confirm this. Under the banner of the mobilization, the Black, Mestizo, and Indigenous communities of Suarez and Morales have marched to the city of Cali to demand fulfillment of the agreements that have gone unfulfilled for 20 years. In Cali they were met by ESMAD (public forces). There are wounded and detained. In recent days advisors of Piedad Cordoba and Carlos Gaviria have been assassinated. So have 10 campesinos in Meta. One group of social organizations has been threatened with death by "demobilized" paramilitaries.

These events are accompanied by a series of declarations by the establishment. President Uribe has said that the elections offer a choice “between [Uribe's policy of] Democratic Security and communism in disguise that will hand the country over to the FARC.” His ex- minister Fernando Londoño reinforces his words, and one of his most loyal followers, also one of the worst enemies of the indigenous movement, Cauca's governor Juan José Chaux Mosquera, has said that he sees dangers of terrorist infiltration in the social mobilization. At the same time the paramilitaries have threatened the Colectivo de Abogados Jose Alvear Restrepo, ONIC, CUT, and other social organizations. Already terrorized communities such as those of San José de Apartadó and Arauca, as well as the indigenous Kankuamo people, have been under attack.

The project that threatens life has no respect for borders. That's why it is called "globalization." It has reached into our communities and homes in every part of Colombia and the world. It inflicts war, the lies of propaganda, and all of the power that war and money can bring down on us. The persecution is for a very specific reason. It is a direct response to the strengthening of peaceful, democratic political processes in Colombia under the Indigenous and Popular Mandate, which includes peasants, indigenous, unions, women's movements, and all popular sectors. These sectors have found a political expression in the candidacy of Carlos Gaviria, which has gained momentum and become an electoral threat to the regime.

Colombia is awake and aware that we are in a moment that will define our history. Slowly but surely, people, communities, and organizations have joined the project and the consciousness that defends life. From all over the continent we hear words of action and practice in the construction of a new history. The continent rose up against the FTAA. Bolivia has gifted us with the nationalization of its own resources. Immigrants have challenged the empire and lift their voices for their rights in other lands even as they are forced to flee their own due to systematic impoverishment of their home economies. The Zapatistas in Mexico have gifted us with their Other Campaign.

The struggles throughout the continent and the reasons for the uprising are the same ones that move us. And they move us because the future of Latin America is being decided here, in Colombia. The US ignores the mobilizations and actions of our countries because it counts on its most durable program, Plan Colombia, and its unconditional ally, Uribe, to implement its corporate project. That is why they say: “Either Democratic Security or you are all communists . . . either you fall in line or go to Bolivia, Venezuela, or Brazil.”

We make this call to those who know how to listen to the words of Mother Earth. Our call comes from the mother that cannot be owned, the mother of all. It is time to get together, see each other's faces, hear each other's voices, open the way to the word, and continue to build the country that we all dream of. On May 15 it will not be Colombia mobilizing, but the Popular Movement in the Continent mobilizing from Colombia.

Yesterday Elvia Escue brought a small bag to the commission that is collecting food in Santander de Quilichao in preparation for the mobilization. “This is my support for the mobilization,” she told the commission. A bag of rice, a bag of potatoes, an onion. Where did it come from? From a humble home--one household among the 32 million poor people in our country. Out of a history of more than 500 years of viewing liberty, justice, and solidarity on a distant horizon and choosing these principles in everyday acts, the mobilization has begun.

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