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Tuesday, 03 May 2016 15:04

Government refuses negotiated alternative to illicit crops in Catatumbo

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After canceling without any reason the previous session of the Table of Dialogue and Agreement of Catatumbo (MIA-C), the Colombian Government this time arrived to the table with a proposal that was unacceptable to Catatumbo peasants.

The government proposal to supposedly advance in a region seeking peace and social justice, should be brought forward in the villages where farmers expressed their willingness to start the process of replacing illicit crops; however the government delegation, led by Eduardo Diaz, so far has not done any tangible actions leading to the welfare of communities.

Contrary to this apparent will, the Government delegation was arrogant to the peasant leaders refusing to jointly build agreements that would benefit communities. At the same time, they showed clear authoritarian attitude, threatening violent eradication of coca crops. This attitude, which aim to intimidate communities threatening to the deployment of violence on the fields, only served to ratify the determined attitude of  the Campesino Association of Catatumbo to demand social investment and the end of the war against the peasantry.

These threats will not bow down the commitment of the peasantry that seeks to advance the solution to the problem of crops declared illicit - said in a press release the Peasant Association of Catatumbo, “however the solution can not be carried out by sacrificing the right of communities to make a decent living. Therefore the Catatumbo MIA will continue to demand that the substitution is made through dignifying living conditions of rural communities. For the problem is not only the presence of coca leaf crops in the region; the problem is poverty and marginalization peasant communities are subject to. A public policy that seeks to change the dependence of the regional economy from coca cultivation must answer to social demands of communities and stop stigmatization, persecution and criminalization against them.

ASCAMCAT underlined in its press release that “only through a social, economic, environmental, gradual and concerted structural program, it will be possible to end with this problems afflicting the region and the country. For this reason we reject individual programs proposed by government in the region that do not address the structural causes triggered by state abandonment. Finally ASCAMCAT stresses the need to create guarantees for leaders and for the social base of the organization to the present paramilitary threat in the region”.

Based on: www.prensarural.org

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