Greeting to the women on their day
The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia People's Army, FARC-EP, greet women on their International Day, March 8. A day of struggle, of rescuing memory and of tireless resistance of women against the capitalist system, an order that is based on class exploitation and oppression of women.
Working women are exploited in two ways and therefore must fight two times harder. Hence the inseparable class nature of their struggles. It's not a coincidence that this date was proclaimed by the Second International Conference of Socialist Women, who met in Copenhagen in 1910, led by the German revolutionary Clara Zetkin.
With their struggles, Latin American, Caribbean and Colombian women have sculpted Our America. In these Bolivarian lands, women have always been present in the battle for the construction of the Patria Grande, since the resistance against European invasion and the wars for the first Independence, until today, the heroic actions of female peasants, students, workers, environmentalists, believers, indigenous, afro-descendants and mestizas change them into political and social leaders and even into the admirable condition of guerrilla fighters.
While the official army, to show itself as an "inclusive" force, hires women to work mostly in office labors, in the FARC-EP the female guerrilla combatants participate in all fields, with conviction and skill, excelling in each of them. Here, thousands of ordinary women are shaping a New Colombia.
Our struggle is for Peace with Social Justice. For women, this also means to establish their full rights, among which we mention the right to participate in politics and to live with dignity, in diversity and difference, and recognizing their work inside and outside their homes.
We can find some good examples in countries like Bolivia, where the Electoral Act enforces gender parity in the cabinet and historic levels of women's participation in the legislative are reached, which contrasts with the reality of the Colombian Congress, which has the lowest level of women's participation in Latin America, not to mention class exclusion.
Uruguay decriminalized abortion since December 2012, reducing to zero the cases of deaths due to this practice, while in Colombia every year thousands of women die from illegal abortions, and one-third suffers health problems because of poor health care.
In the case of Cuba, women enjoy paid maternity from 36 weeks of pregnancy until their child is one year old, and during pregnancy they receive priority attention in all medical specialties. In addition, the decision to abort is recognized as part of the sovereignty women have over their bodies.
With regard to the formal labor market in Colombia, even though women represent more than half of the population of working age, and surpass men in educational attainment, their participation is lower. In addition, female unemployment is almost twice as much as for males, and those who are working, earn between 15 and 20 percent less than men do.
In the context of the conflict, women have suffered the worst part; most of the victims of displacement and dispossession of their lands are women.
Rates of sexual and gender violence are frightening. In the last ten years, 26,000 Colombian women became pregnant as a result of rape. Only in the first half of 2013, the Institute of Legal Medicine reported 25,000 cases of aggression against women, of which 514 ended in deaths. This makes Colombia one of the ten countries with the highest rate of feminicide in the world.
Above all that, women persist in the daily battle in all scenarios of popular struggle. They organize, discuss and fight for the New Colombia. They compete politically and socially for their rights and those of others, looking for Peace with Social Justice.
The New Colombia should be build on guarantees for women's participation, fair wages, elimination of violence and discrimination of all kinds, land entitlement, sexual and reproductive rights, gender equity policies, and recognition of each and every woman as political subjects who are building this new society. Hence, their must play an active role in a National Constituent Assembly, in order to establish a real equity in the new social pact, which is needed by everyone, men and women.
That's why we call for the unity of all women around the flag of peace with social justice for Colombia; to form a large movement that demands and conquers the rights of women workers in the countryside and cities, to mobilize and stir those brave women who have suffered it all.
In the FARC-EP, we honor the memory of all women who, from different political and military combat positions, have given their lives for the freedom and independence of our nation. Likewise, we express our solidarity with female disabled veterans, who keep their ideals high; we encourage and accompany revolutionary women, who are in the trenches, prisons, countryside and cities, classrooms, neighborhoods, companies, in exile, at dialogue in Havana, struggling for the New Colombia, the Patria Grande and Socialism.
SECRETARIAT OF THE CENTRAL HIGH COMMAND OF THE FARC-EP
Colombian jungle, March 8, 2014.