It's clear: they want to finish us off

By: Tejido de Comunicación - ACIN
Sunday, July 8, 2012*

In Northern Cauca, Colombia, things have never been clearer. Ever. We’ve marched, mobilized, and made every effort to demand that all the armed actors leave our territories. In mobilizations, assemblies, and public hearings, we’ve denounced the abuses committed against members of our community by the army, the police, the right-wing paramilitaries, and the guerrilla.

Once again, we reiterate the same truth that guided the Minga of Social and Community Resistance, a truth made even clearerthat terror and war have converted our territories into a “Consolidation Zone” for extraction by transnational corporations: no matter where it comes from, this war has economic motives and beneficiaries.

Their motive is to get rid of us and to steal from Mama Kiwe [“Mother Earth”] and her wealth, to subdue and kill her, and to put an end to our community process and history in these lands.

We said this in Miranda, Cauca. We demanded that the army remove its military installations from the village. The Minister of Defence (“defence” of transnational corporate interests) responded to the world accusing us of being with the guerrilla, of being the accomplices of terrorists, and announced that the bases will not be removed.

The guerrilla responded to the Minister, and the world, by attacking Jambaló, Toribío, Miranda, and Cerro Tijeras and continued its activities throughout northern Cauca. Right now, people are being displaced from these communities. The FARC’s threat: the communities have been given a midnight curfew; anyone caught breaking it will assume the consequences.

The guerrilla’s response to the Minister delivered a simple and clear message: don’t remove the military bases, Minister; there’s good reason to keep them. Your army kills, abuses, rapes and steals in indigenous lands, and we, the FARC, are the pretext: the pretext for bombs and bullets, the pretext for death. Minister, go ahead and attack the Indians and accuse them of being guerrilla fighters; we’ll respond by fighting back and will attack the indigenous communities as well. If they don’t like it, we’ll accuse them of being “snitches” and collaborators, just like you do.

Here, things are crystal clear. Our Cxab Wala Kiwe [“Territory of the Great People”], according to the economic plans of destruction and plunder directed against us as ancestral peoples, has been consolidated into a theatre of military operations. This war is not between the army and the guerrilla but against us. In this theatre, the principals actors stigmatize us, abuse us, deny our presence and process and expel us.

Right now, we are being “consolidated” in accordance with the plans of the Pentagon and Plan Colombia, forced out of what have been our lands for thousands of years, a place controlled by military generals on their way to posts in corporate power structures. The Colombian state and the guerrilla want to do away with our resistance and centuries-old process so as to give these lands to specific economic interests. They’re killing us.

But they haven’t limited themselves to war and terror in the past, and now is no exception. With unbelievable lies and manipulation from the media, there are also the laws, policies, projects, and many forms of cooptation. The system governs from the local level all the way to the top, through programs and projects dealing with infrastructure, health, education, and economic development, which put together, constitute the machinery of plunder.

In our own territory, while they attack us with terror and bullets, plunder is carried out even from within our own organizations and communities, covered up in such a way as to have us believe that they are support and intended for our wellbeing. Meanwhile, we busy ourselves competing for resources, carrying out activities, and preparing budgets for the very expulsion we oppose. The war and institutionalization of the government’s “consolidation” efforts leave us invisible and transformed into the instruments of interests that are not, and are contrary to, our own.

While we busy ourselves rejecting the war, the other mechanisms of plunder, those even more effective and perverse, leave us unable to resist. Institutions engaged in or serving this strategy, no matter who they are, exercise their “right” to take everything from us, leaving a few of us, fighting amongst ourselves, for resources and presenting those resources to our communities as projects for the benefit of indigenous resistance or vital emergency support for the defence of victims.

We are made dependent, incapable, and victims, all so as to stop us from continuing our resistance and consolidating our own Life Plans. This is colonization as we’ve always known it, and it’s the current model we are facing.

Northern Cauca is not the only place where this abuse is consolidated. Consolidation Zones were defined during the early days of Plan Colombia; now they are materializing. This is a long-term strategy to sow the seeds of death and lies, to institutionalize plunder throughout the entire country; this is also Colombia’s principal export to the world.

Right now, indigenous peoples are facing violent aggression in Wallmapu, in Santiago del Estero, Salta and Tucumán, Argentina. In all of these places, what is happening here is replicated there. Meanwhile, in México, Plan Colombia is being implemented under a different name but using the same terror, stealing elections (again), and in Bolivia, the people are rising up against the TIPNIS highway (again).

In Cajamarca, Peru, police on the payroll of transnational corporate mining interests have murdered 5 community members belonging to “Conga no va!” – the manifestation of a popular plebiscite and decision to oppose the Yanacocha mining project. In Paraguay, transnational corporations, with the support of the Southern Command [of the US military], carried out a coup d’état to gain access to the water, food and mineral riches and other common goods of the Southern Cone.

But there is resistance in these countries and communities. People take to the streets. Consciousness is being raised, and solidarity is being transformed into an active initiative of resistance. As this is happening across the continent, in Colombia, the government has passed a resolution allowing the handover of nearly 20 million hectares of the country to transnational mining interests with the stroke of a pen.

From where we stand, as peoples and processes, we all share one common, sacred and essential right: the right to resist in the defence of our ways of life, our cultures and identities in our territories.

In the past, we have mobilized to keep our territory from being converted into a theatre of military operations by institutions that deny our presence and our rights.

We’ve been transformed into victims. Now, with the current dialogue amongst murderers who deny our existence and come to our home to take the earth and kill us, to stop this is as vital to us as to not disappear.

We must once again be the “Great People” within our Territory. Whomever, from within or outside our process, denies our sacred right to resist, and whomever has other priorities and interests that would have us not resist this Death Project in the service of accumulation, walks the word of the violent, taking advantage of our death and suffering to secure individual benefits.

As it has been said in the past, this is the “Final Battle for Cauca,” but a battle amongst others: amongst those who benefit from the war and engage in its business against us, our communities, and those people in the world who feel our pain and believe in our Life Plans. We have to rescue ourselves from the business, bullets and lies in order to try to stay here, where we’ve always been, in the land from which we came, with Her.

All the armed actors, those who have taken advantage of our struggle and have made themselves enemies of the Nasa people, must go.

Our resistance is neither business, nor absence. It is us. In our own way, it is the same resistance with which other peoples throughout the continent and the world defend our cultures. From the anguish and pain that inspire these words, while we are being robbed and attacked, we liberate this word to walk it: we convene ourselves with everyone to resist; to expel from these lands those who deny us. As long as a word is left in us, we will continue to struggle against the colonizer and for our full autonomy.


Tejido de Comunicación - ACIN
Tejidocomunicacion [at] gmail [dot] com

Translated by Pueblos en Camino ( for English, en español). Original Spanish version available here:

* Note this text was edited for style considerations on July 26, 2012.