Asociación Campesina del Catatumbo
:: Norte de Santander, Colombia ::
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Petitioning Juan Manuel Santos Calderón
President of Colombia Juan Manuel Santos: approve the Peasant Reserve Zone in Catatumbo
Colombianätverket - Colombia Network / Jueves 4 de julio de 2013

We, the undersigned, demand the recognition of the Peasant Reserve Zone in Catatumbo because it would guarantee the eradication of coca leaves crops without glyphosate poison and the militarization of the area, besides, the recognition of the Peasant Reserve Zone in Catatumbo would allow peasants to farm and sell their crops at reasonable prices, and would protect the peasant’s lands from oil and palm oil multinationals hoarding what guarantee the protection of the environment in the area and the reduction of poverty.

The peasants that claim for the Peasant Reserve Zone in Catatumbo have been waiting for more than ten years the recognition of the Zone, meanwhile they have developed an ecological development plan that explain and provide a methodological route to eradicate manually the coca leave they have been forced to farm -because no crop is well paid- and farm other crops that would benefit local economy and Colombia’s food sovereignty. The plans are supported in Colombia’s legislation and limit the expansion of the oil and palm oil multinationals that have hoarded thousands of hectare and benefit the mining industry and agribusiness only.

There is also wide world concern about the attacks and aggressions against the peasants of the Peasant Reserve Zone of the Catatumbo area and the population of Tibú by members of national armed forces. In the last days the peasants Diomar Humberto Angarita, Hermides Palacios, Leonel Jácome and Edinson Franco have lost their lives; 46 have been injured and other have been victims of arbitrary and detention, torture, looting and other human rights violations committed by state security forces in order to suppress the communities’ protest for the recognition of the Peasant Reserve Zone in Catatumbo.

For these reasons, we the undersigned, support the claim of thousands of farmers that ask for better life conditions, and demand the national government of Colombia to stop the army and police raids as well as the stigmatization of peasants as guerrillas, situation that endangered the peasants leaders and human rights advocates lives.

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