Colombia: “Peasants Throughout the Country Remain in the National Strike”

Jorge López communities in all regions of the country have taken part in the National Strike. On the paths, trails and highways they have led marches, blockades and educational days in regions such as Antioquia, Nariño, Arauca and Casanare. In the latter, they have maintained their mobilization since April 28 without rest. We had a conversation with Jorge López, member of the Executive Committee of the National Agrarian Coordinator -CNA-.

Colombia Informa: How have the mobilization days been and how do you plan them? What actions have you carried out ?

Jorge López: Since the 28th of April we have had many demonstrations. We have participated in marches, pots and pans, sit-ins, we even organized temporary closures of the Arauca – Casanare, Arauca – Boyacá, Arauca – Santanderes highways.

We have mobilized in Antioquia, Cesar, Bolivar, Santander, Norte de Santander, Arauca, Meta, Tolima, Magdalena, Casanare, Boyaca, Vichada, Huila, Cauca, Nariño, Valle del Cauca, even in Choco, Putumayo.

Some comrades who are in Bogotá and in the cities have also contributed their grain of sand to this scenario of mobilization and popular struggle within the framework of the National Strike. There has also been a constant participation of comrades from the peasant guard. We were mobilized since April 26 in the municipality of Anorí (Northeastern Antioquia). We also participated directly in the strike that was launched in Putumayo and in other regions of the country.

That is to say, we have participated directly in all the dynamics we have had, both in rural areas and in some urban areas.

CI: What are the main points of the list of demands that the CNA has positioned in the different points?

JL: In addition to a list of issues, as ANC we have a series of demands. The main one is that the bad government should fall. Here we join other peasant communities, production sectors, indigenous peoples, black communities, trade unions, etc. In addition to this, our proposal revolves around comprehensive agrarian reform as an advance that will allow us to guarantee food sovereignty. The rejection of aerial spraying with glyphosate. The dismantling of paramilitarism as a State policy and the demilitarization of the territories, and the urgent negotiation of the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) that affect the peasantry and the Colombian people in general.

CI: How do you coordiate with the demands of other social sectors?

JL: This National Strike has made it possible to group together many of the demands of the Colombian people, namely, the crisis in which capitalism as a way of producing and organizing society has been deepening and the pandemic has made it even more difficult.

At the same time, there is a lot of frustration among the people and a great lack of decent living conditions. These demands that are being articulated and built are ultimately the demands of the Colombian people as a whole.

These demands that we have been working on against militarization, for food sovereignty, agrarian reform, are demands that, although they are not presented under the same name, reflect the needs of the Colombian people.

In the midst of the National Strike, figures have appeared showing an increase in the number of people living in poverty, a decrease in people’s income, as well as in the quantity and quality of the food they eat. All this is the product of a model that is in the country, which has its focus not on solving the living conditions of the majority of people, but to accumulate wealth in the hands of a few people and companies.

We have also been legislating our assemblies along different issues that we need to resolve. There we coordinate the struggles of the countryside with those of the city to demand the overthrow of this disastrous government.

CI: What is your perception of what has happened in cities like Cali, Bogotá, Bucaramanga and Medellín in terms of police violence?

JL: In Cali, Bogota, Bucaramanga and Medellin what has been happening for many years in the Colombian countryside has occurred and they are examples of State terrorism. They are evidence of the reinforcement of the paramilitary strategy, of the takeover of the territories, of the militarization of life, the cruelty with which they act, the assassinations, persecutions, imprisonments.

This has only one explanation and that is that the Colombian regime is waging a war against the Colombian people. At no time have they shown any interest in peace with the Colombian people. Peace without misery, without hunger, peace with a dignified life.

This mobilization has exposed the fascist character of the Colombian government, where militarization and paramilitarization is palpable and that is the war approach that is being applied to the unarmed mobilizations of the Colombian people.

CI: What is your plan, are you going to maintain the pressure mechanisms, how, where and until when?

JL: The decision we made as CNA is to reinforce the mobilization bases. In Arauca, Nariño, Cauca, Tolima, Huila, we have reinforced the participation and we have had more compañeros and compañeras. We are promoting the decision to maintain the pressure points until the government falls, and even if we were to establish some kind of dialogue with the national government, we would have concrete ideas, starting with the demilitarization of the territories, and the end of the war against social mobilization.

Translation by Internationalist 360°