“It’s Our Turn Now”: Colombia’s Agricultural Movement Is The Biggest in the Country’s History
Join us for a presentation about Colombia’s Peace Process: Proposals and Concerns of Colombian Farmers with Mr. Gutiérrez on Tuesday, November 10 from: 6-8pm at 3166 Mt. Pleasant St. N.W., Washington, DC (La Casa).
The first agreement reached at the negotiating table in Havana between the Colombian government and the largest insurgent group to end the 50-year armed conflict focuses on the need for an extensive agrarian reform. Even so, Colombia’s farmers continue to struggle for economic and social justice, since “free trade” policies and the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement have undercut the ability of small farmers, indigenous communities, and other agricultural producers to make a decent living, and has reduced Colombia’s ability to feed itself by more than 30% since 1990.
In this context, the Colombia Human Rights Network is organizing a tour to bring the voice of Oscar Gutiérrez, representative of Dignidad Agropecuaria, to the United States in November of this year. Oscar Gutiérrez has a long history of political activism supporting the struggles of miners, farmers, and others in the department of Caldas, where he is from. In recent years he has been a leader of agrarian strikes involving coffee growers and other rural producers, particularly in 2013 and 2014.
Mr. Gutiérrez will talk about the detrimental impact of the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement on agriculture in Colombia; promoting the economic and social rights of farming, indigenous, and Afro-Colombian communities; and the importance of improving conditions in rural areas in order for an eventual peace agreement to be able to achieve the goals of creating a society in which all social sectors are represented and can live with dignity.
He is looking forward to meeting with policymakers, persons involved in sustainable and organic agriculture who are struggling for economic justice, universities, and media, as well as members of the Colombian community in the United States, to discuss these issues and possible ways forward. Mr. Gutiérrez will be in Washington, DC from November 9 to 11 and New York from November 12 to 15. The Colombia Human Rights Committee, Trabajadores Unidos, and Three Part Harmony Farm are sponsoring a presentation about Colombia’s Peace Process: Proposals and Concerns of Colombian Farmers with Mr. Gutiérrez on Tuesday, November 10 from: 6-8pm at 3166 Mt. Pleasant St. N.W., Washington, DC (La Casa). Please contact the Colombia Human Rights Committee of Washington DC (firstname.lastname@example.org, 202 997-1358) or the Movement for Peace in Colombia of New York (MPC@mfpic.org, 917 207-6206), if you or your faith community, university or student group, or community organization would like to participate.
Click here to read an interview with Oscar Gutiérrez Reyes on agricultural sovereignty as a challenge to the neoliberal model.