Callout to prevent a Massacre against the Liberation Process of Mother Earth in Cauca, Colombia

Background article first

Dispossession: origin of the conflict over land in Cauca

Background article intro By: Pedro Augusto García Leal escribano– May 19, 2016

The struggle of the indigenous communities of Cauca for the liberation of the land involves ancestral claims that are part of an authentic culture of resistance, with its own historicity and worldview that cannot be confused with the processes of peasant struggle.

However, given the dynamics of the current conflict over land, the liberation processes can be interpreted as a conflict of ethnic roots that intersects with class conflicts over land.

A story of dispossession

Although the practice of dispossession against indigenous peoples has been constant since colonial times, it is possible to distinguish three central moments.

The first dispossession occurred in the colonial period, during the establishment of haciendas that began in the 16th century and ended in the 17th century, when the great war efforts of the indigenous communities of the department of Cauca and southern Tolima ceased due to expel the Spanish invader, the last of them recorded for 1656, as Víctor Bonilla recalls in his «Political history of the Nasa people».

The second moment occurs during the landed expansion of the late nineteenth century until well into the twentieth century. By then, large landowner families from Cauca, such as the Mosqueras, the Zambranos, the Valencias and the Arboledas, held property titles over the ancestral lands of the indigenous peoples, despite the fact that Law 89 of 1890 guaranteed the non-alienable nature of the lands of the safeguards.

The mechanism for achieving these properties was illegality and violence.

The last moment takes place in the middle of the 20th century, when different factors combined to lead to the usurpation of indigenous lands. On the one hand, the violence of the 1950s allowed the increase of landed property in northern Cauca.

In the 1960s, the agrarian modernization policies and the international increase in the demand for Colombian sugar, generated by the blockade on the commercialization of Cuban production as a result of the 1959 revolution, allowed the increase and consolidation of sugar crops. cane in the North of Cauca, which implied a new cycle of expropriation of indigenous lands.

The history that explains the way in which the lowlands of Cauca are today under property titles of large landowners and mills clearly shows the illegitimacy of the origin of these properties, based on violence as a mechanism that allowed the concentration of land. and the necessary accumulation for the subsequent reproduction of capital.

On the contrary, the struggle of the indigenous communities is not for the private appropriation of these territories, but rather the movement seeks that the lands become part of the collective territories of the reservations.

Collective land, not parceled

The way in which the Nasa indigenous communities assume ownership of the land indicates a historical process of construction of collective identities that distinguishes them from the peasant movement.

Although both movements fight for land against the latifundist monopolies, the peasant movement seeks titling in private plots, while the indigenous movement, linked to its ancestral origin, language, worldview, forms of government and its own history, makes tendencies towards collectivization and community life are accentuated.

Hence, the indigenous people who fought against landholding in the 1970s refused to accept the plans presented by the now liquidated Colombian Institute for Agrarian Reform (Incora), where they wanted to establish the delivery of land under the creation of cooperatives or peasant production companies, without integrating these lands into the reservations.

This resistance indicates that the indigenous demands were not limited only to the delivery of land, but that their memory operated in the form of the reconstruction of the reservations.

Paying for the right to live

Land ownership is the basis of domination over indigenous labor. When, in May 1851, slavery was officially ended, freedom for Afro and indigenous communities was only on paper. The landowners of Cauca refused to lose the indigenous labor force, so landholding was established as a form of servile exploitation.

The communities were forced to pay with labor for the right to live and cultivate on their own lands dispossessed by the haciendas.

The tributary work that the indigenous had to give to the landowner normally consisted of long hours of more than three weeks a month, while the remaining time could be dedicated to tilling a small plot dedicated to self-consumption. For their part, the women had to give services as easement in the house of the hacienda.

A Minga is a traditional collective work effort, originally used for harvesting etc.. In this case the ‘Mega-Minga’ was a collective trip of all indigenous nations demanding revolution. Minga Indígena en Bogotá comunidades regresarán al Cauca …

Given that both the terraje and the dismantling of the reservations found their origin in the problem of accumulation of land through dispossession, the first two points of the platform of struggle of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC), formulated for its creation on February 24, 1971 and which are still in force today, are to recover the lands of the reservations and expand them.

Only in this way will the indigenous communities be able to fulfill the spiritual mandate to protect and preserve Mother Earth, as well as guarantee food security for future generations.

Half truths are another way to lie

The reaction of the unions linked to large-scale agricultural production, after the “liberation process of Mother Earth” began in Corinto in December 2014, was swift. Isabella Victoria, executive director of the Society of Farmers and Ranchers of Cauca (SAG), stated that the indigenous have received nearly 721,000 hectares from the government. According to her words, “that is a quarter of Cauca.”

The SAG, which brings together the exclusive group of large landowners in the department, is opposed to any further expansion of the reservations in the lower areas because, according to them, the indigenous people have too much land, which coincides with the position taken by the mayor of Corinto, who is carrying out an aggressive campaign so that mestizos and Afro-descendants reject the indigenous reservation.

It is true that the reservations of the different indigenous communities that inhabit Cauca, including those of the Nasa, Misak, Eperara-Siapidara, Ambaló, Guanaca, Inga, Kokonuco, Polindara, Totoró and Yanacona communities, reach 721,000 hectares.

However, of these lands, according to the ««Analysis of territorial possession and situations of interethnic and intercultural tension in the department of Cauca» of the Javeriana University, 252,000 hectares belong to forest reserves, 75,000 hectares are non-exploitable moors and 25,000 hectares They are unproductive land.

Of the lands that belong to the reservations, only 91,000 hectares are suitable for cultivation, so that the distribution of arable land among indigenous communities only reaches 0.37 hectares per person, which constitutes a difficult situation for their food security.

land concentration

The «Atlas of the distribution of rural property in Colombia», carried out by the Agustín Codazi Geographic Institute (IGAC) between 2000 and 2009, shows concentration of land in a few owners.

85.4% of owners in Cauca own 26.03% of the land in small extensions of micro and smallholdings, while 7.8% of owners own 60.22% of the land. Of them, 0.52% dominate 15.63% of the land.

Now, much of the land in Cauca is classified as low and very low fertility: only 3% of the land is classified as high fertility, 25% low fertility and 32% very low. Hence, the pressure exerted by the sugarcane landowners and the multinational Smurfit Kappa Cartón de Colombia for the possession of the most fertile lands has become a new process of expulsion of the indigenous, Afro-descendant and peasant communities, who are confined above all in the non-productive highlands.

Thus, in municipalities such as Cajibío, Sotará and Timbío, where the communities maintained transitory crops of coffee, panela cane and sorghum, little by little the large sugar cane industry has displaced them to the slopes of the mountain ranges.

Currently, the struggle of the indigenous peoples is aimed at leaving the confinement of the highlands, descending to the areas of greatest productivity, defeating the monopoly of the sugarcane industry and recovering the ancestral territories to guarantee food security for future generations.

Octubre 21 de 2020.. More than 7,000 indigenous people, Afro-descendants, peasants, city dwellers, youth, women and members of organizations from all over Colombia mobilized in Bogotá after traveling more than 500 km to demand a political dialogue from the government of Iván Duque about the serious situation that exists in different territories and the lack of guarantees for the life of the communities.

And it is there, in the fight against landowner expansion, where the possibilities of articulation between the indigenous, peasant and Afro-descendant movements of Cauca are found, a process that has been interweaving since the 1970s and that, with the articulation of the communities Afro-descendants and the indigenous movement in the liberation of Lopez Adentro in 1984, as well as the joint action of indigenous people and peasants for the liberation of the Emperatriz farm in the municipality of Caloto, which began in 2005, is a complex process of regional articulation that still continues its march.

We alert supporters to prevent a massacre against the liberation process of Mother Earth

from Liberación de la madre Tierra » ¿Quiénes somos?2 Mar 2022 translation TheFreeOnline illustrations added

After 500 years the land war continues in the north Cauca lowlands as indigenous collectives occupy and defend land estates held by right wing oligarchs of the sugarcane agribusiness

Once again, the Colombian state allows itself to be summoned by private companies to put together plans among henchmen against a process that defends life.

Recently, on February 2, the president of Asocaña, the most powerful sugarcane union in Colombia, met with the director of the dijin and prosecutor Barbosa and his team of prosecutors in Popayán to scold them and give them orders to act against the release process. of Mother Earth in northern Cauca, and in general against “invasions” as the power calls the struggle for land.

After the meeting, they came out to show their faces and announce strategies for an offensive against “this criminal activity that is mainly affecting the sugar cane production union,” said General Murillo, of the Dijin, announcing that there is already a “special group of investigators” working on the matter.

Whenever power scolds them, they act quickly. Since the very week of the announcement, there have been military, “journalistic,” and judicial actions and assemblies against the liberation of Mother Earth:

– On February 4, the commander of the Caloto police, landowners of the municipality, the Attorney General’s Office, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Army, and Dijin met in the flat zone of Caloto to take action against the liberation of Mother Earth; There was also participation from members of the Conservative Party.

– On February 9, an armed group throws an explosive and abandons a car bomb on the road in front of La Emperatriz, near where the liberation point of Mother Earth is.

– On February 9, the workers of the sugar mills march in Corinto to demand the right to work, which according to them is at risk due to the “invasion of lands”. It is noted that the banners are not made by hand but by a plotter.

– On February 10, we learn that Fedegán announces actions to capture cows on farms in the process of being released. Already in a virtual hearing convened by Senator Paloma Valencia, the government had announced commitments related to this issue.

– On February 11, the La Cabaña sugar mill filed a lawsuit against “unspecified persons” for “disruption of possession and damage to another’s property”.

– On February 14, an armed group exploded a motorized bomb near the police station in Caloto.

– On February 15, hooded men enter the El Oasis ranch, near a liberation point, to rob and threaten. The sugarcane agribusiness blames our process for these events.

– On February 18, the magazine Semana publishes a report and a video of Salud Hernández; the journalist is known for her right-wing positions; the content of the publications is related to the interests of Asocaña. Both in the written note and in the video, there are images taken by the army that is stationed at the Canaima hacienda that, as is easy to deduce, were provided to Hernández so that she could construct her “journalistic” work.

– On February 23, sugarcane cutters march in Miranda to demand the right to work, which according to them is at risk due to the “invasion of lands”. It is noted that the banners are not made by hand but on a plotter; the newspaper El Tiempo reported the incident.

– On March 9, the police and the army arrive at the La Margarita farm, in the process of being released, to intimidate the community.

– On March 9, three polarized cars enter the Canaima farm, in the process of being released. Since the first days of March there has been an abundant presence of the police in the house of that farm, which for months has been used by the army as a military base.

– The farms around Caloto, towards the area of ​​the towers, are militarized. On the route between Caloto and El Palo there is movement of motorcycles and unknown cars and permanent movement of the army. In the last week, between 9pm and 1am, strangers have been around the Pílamo 3 farm, in the process of being released.

– In more recent times, in the municipal council of Caloto, some landowners have threatened to act by their own hand against liberators if the State does not produce results. These are not minor words if we take into account that the threat comes from a person implicated in the 1991 El Nilo massacre. A few days ago, the owners of the Chimán and Llanito farms, in the process of being released, have stated that they plan to hire armed mercenaries to act “since the Colombian state has done nothing.”

– In the last 15 days, the sugar mills have been sending workers in buses to be present on the land of the liberation points. These workers dress as cutters but they are not, they are actually police investigators in disguise.

All of the above continues to show a coordination between different actors against the process of liberating Mother Earth, a coordination that is now seen as

activation and acceleration.

In April 2020, in the midst of a pandemic quarantine, the sugarcane unions met virtually with the three powers of the Colombian state. On that occasion, the cane growers demanded concrete and urgent action from the State against “land invasions.”

From then on, as we have already denounced, there was a barrage of coordinated and staggered attacks against our process that combined the (para) military route, judicialization, the offer of development projects and journalistic reports related to the sugarcane union.

The first action of his plan was the massacre of 18 cows at the Canaima farm on April 25, 2020, just days after the aforementioned virtual meeting.

The report of the right-wing Salud Hernández as a special envoy of the magazine Semana to the area is nothing more than a piece of her coordinated attacks.

The plan has been carried out and now they are expanding it to generate an inter-ethnic conflict. Afro communities in the region are opposed, when months ago they expressed their respect for our process.

In the last month, several people have gone out to claim, without documents, possession rights in sugarcane properties, which shows that the sugarcane agribusiness is using the strategy of promising to deliver those lands in the future to those who present themselves today as owners of those properties without being so.

They are not going to fulfill those promises, they are only part of their general plan in progress.

General Murillo’s announcement of the ‘Dijin’ is a warning that legal actions, set-ups and murders are coming against our process.

More than a press announcement, it is a direct threat against the liberation process of Mother Earth.

We warn that a massacre is being forged against our process. We hold Asocaña, Procaña, the sugar mills and landowners responsible for what may happen to us as liberators.

Faced with this situation, we do not give up our historic struggle to recover Mother Earth, which is 7 years old in the last stage, 17 years since entering La Emperatriz, 51 years with the CRIC, 112 years with Quintín Lame, 320 years with Juan Tama, 484 years with La Gaitana.

Asocaña and Procaña are spinning all their threads too finely because they know that our process is historic.

Finally, we join the clamor of the cane cutters for decent work, which is not violated by our process but by the precarious conditions imposed by the sugar union: the sugar cane agribusiness is the enemy.

If we recover all the lands in the geographical valley of the Cauca River, there is land for us to live in, with Afros and peasants. As the song that is about to come out says:

“without little bosses, without ties: liberation!
we could live in autonomy
the three of us together
nasas, afros and peasants
and each one with our land”.

Process of liberation of Mother Earth
North Cauca, Colombia.


The Free

Colombia: Cali, capital of Revolutionary resistance to military control

Posted on by enough14Leave a comment Originally published by Lundi Matin. Written by Alexis HabouzitTranslated by Autonomies. Image by David Mendoza Soler (Warning Facebook link).. illustrations added

Colombia: Chronicle of Cali, capital of the resistance..

Colombia. In Cali, the epicenter of the protest against Iván Duque’s right-wing government and the Uribist narco-state, the authority of the State is being questioned, while a collective conscience and real popular power are built. Indigenous peasants converge at places or points of resistance in the neighborhoods and the oppressed multitude appears, reclaims its territory. The foundations of a revolution are laid.

Young people neglected by the State find recognition on the front lines. They are stepping up and risking their lives to defend the dreams of a more just Colombia, while the repression of State and parastatal forces intensifies……..

……..Meanwhile, in the countryside, throughout the Valle del Cauca, the main roads are blocked. And as State violence moved from the countryside to the cities, in Cali, the Indigenous Guard came in to provide resistance know-how. The peasants, self-organised in an indigenous Minga and in the Indigenous Regional Council of Cauca (CRIC) for decades, have come to the city to support the strike and defend the repressed protesters.

A convergence of struggles. “Minga is a word that comes from Quechua,” says Marlón, who left a village in the neighboring department of Huila two years ago to try his luck in Cali. “It is a collective gathering, community work for the common good, a self-organised struggle for the benefit of all.”…… continues..

A Minga is a traditional collective work effort, originally used for harvesting etc.. In this case the ‘Mega-Minga’ was a collective trip of all indigenous nations demanding revolution.


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Author: thefreeonline

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