Colombia Reflection: On Going Home

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CPTnet
16
October 2013
Colombia
Reflection: On Going Home

The
small farmers of Colombia have been on strike for the past six
weeks. This meant that thousands of families and hundreds of
communities took to the streets of Colombia, blocking major arteries
along national highways and demanding change.  The mobilization
took place as a result of empty promises from the Santos government,
who have failed to provide agricultural subsidies, create the
appropriate economic and social infrastructure, and facilitate a land
reform process where Colombian farmers will be favoured over
multinational investors.  Their demands also include an end to
the Free Trade Agreements with Canada, the United States and the EU
which have made it impossible for Colombian farmers to compete in
their own national market.

So they
shut the country down. Farmers traveled for days and camped out for
weeks trying to negotiate with a government who refuses to recognize
their human rights. After six weeks of striking, where five
people were killed and many more were wounded, the government has
agreed to work with various geographical areas individually to tailor
resolutions for specific regions.

With a
promise of negotiations and a meager remuneration for food and
transportation from a tight-fisted government, the farmers and their
families have headed home.

But what
does it mean to go home?  Some stereotypical ideas of going home
that often come to mind include a familiar bed, a friendly neighbour,
a normal routine, and a mom’s cooking.  I’m sure most Colombian
farming families are enjoying these comforts of home. But many are
returning to a reality of violence, poverty, and injustice, and six
weeks of lost work on the land, not to mention a dark shadow after
years of stigma, abuse, and empty promises from politicians.

However,
going home does not mean giving up the fight. Going home does not
mean returning to the status quo. CPT stands with the Colombian
farmers and asks the Colombian government to work with them on a fair
and just solution. If the agreements aren’t reasonable,
they’ll just take to the streets again. And they would rather
just be home.

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