From 8 to 12 October 2010 at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá, various social sectors of Colombia met to inaugurate the People’s Congress. Christian Peacemaker Teams Colombia was present at the Congress, accompanying the community processes from the Middle Magdalena region.
During the four days, subsistence farmers’, grassroots, indigenous, miners’ students’, LGBTQ women’s, and conscientious objectors’ groups from around the country came together to form proposals for how “… people plan the territory, economy and way of governing.”
Seventeen thousand people attended to discuss their situations, design proposals, and have the opportunity to exchange ideas and strategies with community processes from different parts of the country. Discussions focused on seven topics:
1. Land, territory and sovereignty
2. Economy for life against the law of dispossession
3. Building power for good living
4. Culture, diversity and ethics of the common good
5. Life, justice and the road to peace
6. Violation of rights and unfulfilled agreements
7. Integration of peoples and the globalization of the struggle
Gabriel Henao, leader of the Southern Bolivar Agricultural-Mining Federation FEDEAGROMISBOL, an organization that CPT accompanies said, “I am very encouraged with the process. I have almost not eaten but I’m not hungry because I am being fed by the energy of the Congress.”
The inauguration of the Congress ended with a great march through Bogotá and a concert of various musical forms representing the different sectors present at the Congress. Now the organizations from the different regions will work on the agreed objectives.
Why a People’s Congress? According to its webpage, “We will show in fact that we are about popular democracy, sovereignty, the struggle against capital, and for a life of dignity, peace and justice; that the people of Colombia are of a country in which unity is possible and that we are weaving it. “