[News] Colombia: Indigenous Communities Denounce Lack of Guarantees, Vow to Remain in Bogota

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Nov 14 11:41:26 EST 2018


  Colombia: Indigenous Communities Denounce Lack of Guarantees, Vow to
  Remain in Bogota

Published 14 November 2018

The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, or ONIC, denounced 
Tuesday night the lack of guarantees for the over 450 Indigenous people 
who traveled to Bogota to remain in the capital city. Via Twitter, they 
questioned the government of President Ivan Duque.

"These are the guarantees of the government of @IvanDuque for the people 
who flee Choco due to the conflict? Volunteers woke up inside 
@ONIC_Colombia and those who couldn't fit in the hall's floors had to 
sleep in streets 12b and 4th," they tweeted Wednesday morning.

Indigenous peoples of the Embera, Wounaan, and Zenu nationalities of the 
Choco region in the Colombian Pacific reached Bogota Monday to demand 
the fulfillment of a set of agreements reached in August 2017, which 
according to Indigenous communities have been unilaterally broken by 
Colombian authorities.

The agreements include safety guarantees in their territories, which 
have witnessed several incidents of violence. ONIC has reported that 
since late 2016 -when the peace agreement between the Colombia state and 
the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was signed- 
violence has forcibly displaced 5,730 Indigenous while 8,245 are 
suffering from involuntary confinement.

They have also denounced that 10 Indigenous leaders have been tortured, 
25 recruited by illegal armed forces, 65 have been murdered, and 161 are 
currently under threat.

On Tuesday they resumed talks with government representatives but failed 
to reach a solution. At 11 p.m. the talks were suspended due to lack of 
guarantees for their permanence in Bogota. The ONIC announced they will 
resume talks Wednesday to discuss security, lack of health services in 
their communities, the need for education, energy, and transport 
infrastructure, and land restitution.

In the streets next to the ONIC headquarters, where many had to spend 
the night, men, women, and children shared music and dance as part of 
the resistance. "In our #MingaPorLife (minga is a form of collective 
work) we dance to live, we dance to not die, we dance because we exist 
and resist in the face of oblivion. #IAmIndigenous, #IAmChoco."

Members of the Minga are also defending popular consultations as a 
mechanism to stop extractive industries when the communities oppose 
them. In October, Colombia's Constitutional Court 
ruled that Indigenous communities cannot use popular consultations as a 
mechanism to stop extractive projects arguing the state is the owner of 
all the resources in the countries subsurface.

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