Sinaltrainal

Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores del Sistema Agroalimentario

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Campañas Campaña por Soberanía, Democracia, Paz y Bienestar para los colombianos Declaración política. Por los caminos de Colombia

Declaración política. Por los caminos de Colombia

Declaración política. Por los caminos de ColombiaCaravana global por la paz y la conquista de la democracia en Colombia.  21 de abril al 3 de mayo de 2014 

Delegados y delegadas de organizaciones sindicales, defensoras de derechos humanos y colectivos de solidaridad con Colombia de Estados Unidos, Suiza, Chile, Australia, Italia, Alemania, Francia, invitados por Sinaltrainal, Fundación La Otra Esquina, CELES, La Red de Lucha contra el Hambre y la Pobreza y el Movimiento Unidad, Paz y Democracia, realizamos una gira por varias regiones de Colombia, con el propósito de reunirnos con las comunidades y sus organizaciones, para examinar los impactos de la política del estado y las multinacionales en sus vidas y en el país.

La caravana global, visitó varias ciudades en cinco regiones de Colombia, centro, nororiente, suroccidente, noroccidente y costa norte, logrando reunirse con población impactada por la construcción de represas, hidroeléctricas en Santander y Antioquia, la explotación de minas de carbón y de oro en Antioquia y el Sur de Bolívar, de exploración y explotación de petróleo en Santander, la destrucción de paramos en Santander, la implementación de grandes plantaciones de palma africana y caña de azúcar en Antioquia, Santander y el Valle del Cauca respectivamente, de construcción de megaproyectos de infraestructura como la zona franca y el mega puerto de Tamarindo y los desconectados de Barranquilla producto de la privatización de los servicios públicos, la contaminación por parte de la Drumond en el puerto de Ciénaga en Magdalena y el pueblo indígena Wayuu en la Guajira y la desprotección de la salud laboral de sus trabajadores, del cinturón verde y los desconectados producto de la privatización de los servicios públicos de Medellín, los impactos de la política de las multinacionales como Nestlé en la producción e importación de materias primas agroalimentarias, como del café en la zona cafetera del sur occidente colombiano, la grave situación de la población afro descendiente en el puerto de Buenaventura, el incremento de las tasas de interés y la falta de viviendas dignas y la privatización de la educación en todo el país. 

La caravana global pudo constatar:

1.Desde el 18 de octubre de 2012, se desarrollan en La Habana Cuba, conversaciones entre el gobierno de Juan Manuel Santos y la organización insurgente Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia “FARC-EP”, para poner fin al conflicto armado que se desarrolla en el país desde hace 50 años. Las negociaciones tienden a lograr un "Acuerdo General para la terminación del conflicto y la construcción de una paz estable y duradera".  El Ejército de Liberación Nacional ELN, le ha manifestado en reiteradas ocasiones al presidente Santos su total disposición para iniciar diálogos de paz.

Estos diálogos tendientes a alcanzar el fin del conflicto armado y la solución de algunos problemas que aquejan a la población, se desarrollan en medio de la guerra. A pesar de que el gobierno colombiano continúa manifestando su intención de lograr un acuerdo de paz, incrementa la militarización del país y aumenta el presupuesto para la guerra. En 2014 se incrementó a 27.74 billones de pesos, por encima de los presupuestos para salud y educación (es el mayor rubro del presupuesto nacional). Entre 2011 y 2014, la inversión en Seguridad y Defensa ha aumentado 2,21 billones de pesos, un 19,6% más que en el periodo comprendido en el cuatrienio anterior 2007 y 2010. Colombia sigue teniendo unos de los mayores ejércitos per cápita del planeta y recibiendo la mayor ayuda militar de Estados Unidos, después de Israel. No se entiende como un gobierno que manifiesta voluntad de paz incrementa drásticamente el presupuesto para la guerra y el número de unidades militares (para el año 2014 se incrementará en 15.000 la policía nacional). 

En cada región visitada observamos una fuerte militarización. En algunas fuimos retenidos por unidades militares durante varios minutos, en otras fuimos fotografiados indebidamente. La mayoría de los retenes estaban instalados en zonas muy cercanas a los megaproyectos o zonas con presencia de multinacionales. 

Las insurgencias de las FARC y ELN tienen en perspectiva, entre otras, la participación política electoral para alcanzar cargos públicos y gobernar. No es un buen mensaje, ni para estos procesos, ni para la paz y la democracia en Colombia, la destitución y la inhabilidad del alcalde de Bogotá Gustavo Petro Urrego y de la Senadora Piedad Córdoba. La lectura que más identifica los colombianos, es que la derecha se niega reiterativamente a permitir cambios sustanciales en la forma de conducir y construir modelos alternativos a la pobreza, la exclusión y la antidemocracia en el país, violentando la soberanía popular y desconociendo los mandatos de la comisión interamericana de derechos humanos.  

2.En el gobierno anterior (Álvaro Uribe Vélez) las chuzadas (espionaje) a sindicalistas, defensores de derechos humanos, entre otros, del gobierno se realizó a través del Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad DAS, (adscrito a la presidencia de la República), en el gobierno de Juan Manuel Santos el espionaje se hace a través del ejercito nacional (Sala Andrómeda). El DAS fue convertido en Unidad Nacional de Protección de Protección UNP por estos hechos que conllevaron al asesinato de cientos de integrantes de organizaciones sociales que eran investigados, aun no pasa nada por este nuevo actor de espionajes ilegales. Continúan saliendo a la luz pública nuevos hechos relacionados con falsos positivos, relacionamiento de la mafia y las paramilitares con altos mandos militares y de hechos de corrupción entre los mandos de las distintas fuerzas que componen el aparato militar colombiano.

3.La impunidad continúa. La ley de justicia y paz, resultado de las negociaciones entre las AUC y el gobierno de Álvaro Uribe Vélez, es en realidad un gran acuerdo de impunidad. No solo brillan por su ausencia las condenas contra los autores intelectuales de miles de crímenes contra organizaciones sociales, sino que este aparato de muerte continúa. Aparatos paramilitares como las ERPAJ, LOS RASTROJOS, LOS URABEÑOS, LAS AGUILAS NEGRAS, LOS PAISAS, siguen fortaleciéndose, asesinando y desplazando población para ampliar las zonas de explotación minera, agroindustriales y grandes haciendas ganaderas en todo el territorio nacional. Los paramilitares condenados por justicia y paz están próximos a quedar en libertad.

4.Del Plan Nacional de Desarrollo implementado por el gobierno de Santos, de las 5 locomotoras (infraestructura, vivienda, agro, minería e innovación), las de mayor impacto negativo en la población son la minero-energética, por la expropiación de los recursos naturales por parte de empresas transnacionales que llegan a Colombia a explotar el subsuelo, sin generar nuevos empleos, y con la tasa de impuestos más baja de todo el hemisferio que no cubre siquiera en una centésima parte los daños ambientales, económicos y sociales generados. A esto se suma el incremento de desplazamiento, la contaminación medio-ambiental y la destrucción ecológica.

5.Están en proceso de entrega por concesión 46 millones de hectáreas de tierras, de las 114 millones que tiene Colombia , a las multinacionales, grupos económicos nacionales y al sistema financiero, la inmensa mayoría sin la consulta previa informada a las comunidades. Hace 20 años Colombia importaba un millón de toneladas de alimentos, en 2013 fueron importadas 10 millones y se prevé que en pocos años, en gracia de los tratados de libre comercio firmados por el gobierno colombiano, esta cifra ascenderá a 20 millones de toneladas. 

Según el representante a la cámara Wilson Arias, en 2013 fueron entregadas a Cargill 52.000 hectáreas para el cultivo de cereales y Riopalia adquirió fraudulentamente 41.000 hectáreas en Vichada para la siembra de Palma africana. La Familia Eder a través del ingenio Manuelita tienen 20.000 hectáreas en el Meta para siembra de palma africana, La Fazenda perteneciente al grupo empresarial Aliar y Contegral, posee 13.000 hectáreas sembradas de maíz y soya en un proyecto en Puerto Gaitán, Corficolombiana, el grupo brasileño Mónica Semilla o la familia de Carlos Aguel Kafruni, Organización Pajonales S.A. acumula más de 4.000 hectáreas. Existe además, un proceso de extranjerización de la tierras con destino al agro exportación especialmente en la amazonia, de multinacionales y sector financiero de China, India, Estados Unidos, Inglaterra, Brasil, entre otros.

Mientras esto sucede, miles de campesinos pierden sus propiedades a través de procesos jurídicos.

Según  Oxfam "el reparto de la tierra en Colombia es extremadamente desigual, pues la tasa de concentración de tierra es de las más altas del mundo y la segunda de América Latina, sólo después de Paraguay". 

6.Según comunicado público del MOVICE del 9 de abril pasado, la situación de las víctimas es crítica, 34 víctimas y reclamantes de tierras asesinados por reclamar sus derechos y más de 500 amenazadas principalmente por grupos paramilitares, lo que muestra que la Ley de Tierras es un total fracaso. Durante   los   primeros   tres   años   del   mandato   del   presidente  Santos se presentaron 274 agresiones  contra  líderes  y  lideresas del Movimiento de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado (MOVICE).  No hay garantías y protección en casos de restitución. 

7.Seis millones de desplazados internos, 10 millones de nacionales en el exterior, visibilizan de largo la tragedia humanitaria que vive Colombia.

8.Existe una queja permanente relacionada con la violencia y la discriminación en general contra la mujer. Esta violencia se evidencia en un mayor índice de desempleo, carencia de trabajo digno, diferencias salariales entre hombres y mujeres, mayores niveles de pobreza, el acoso laboral y sexual, el feminicidio y el machismo.  Según cifras oficiales, en el 2012, fue asesinada una mujer cada tres días, 3968 fueron agredidas por su pareja y cada media hora una mujer fue víctima de la violencia sexual en el país.

Igualmente, es evidente la violencia y discriminación contra las comunidades lesbianas, gais, bisexuales, transexuales e intersexuales “LGBTI”.

9.Colombia continúa registrando el más alto índice de sindicalistas asesinados en el mundo. En el 2013 fueron asesinados 26 trabajadores sindicalizados, 13 intentos de homicidio, 149 amenazas, 28 casos de hostigamientos y 13 detenciones arbitrarias. En total en los últimos 28 años han sido asesinados más de 4000 sindicalistas, más de 3000 casos están documentados. Las amenazas continúan siendo el diario vivir de los sindicalistas, confirmando que Colombia es el país más difícil para la organizaciones de los trabajadores. Gran parte de la población victima de violaciones a sus derechos humanos tiene temor de denunciar, declarar y en general de acudir a las instancias judiciales por considerar que no existen garantías. 

La caravana pudo constatar que la violación a los derechos es sistemática y selectiva, que existe un proceso histórico de exterminio,  que es alimentado por la impunidad de los derechos a la vida, a la libertad y a la integridad de los sindicalistas y otros sectores sociales y sus organizaciones en Colombia, poniendo de manifiesto la grave situación humanitaria de los pueblos de Colombia. El 99 % por ciento de las investigaciones por crímenes cometidos contra sindicalistas continúan en la total impunidad.

Nos causo mucha indignación, que mientras los procesos por el asesinato y la persecución de sindicalistas e integrantes de organizaciones y movimientos sociales perduran y se profundizan, muchos dirigentes sociales son judicializados producto de la criminalización de la protesta social.

La desprotección de los trabajadores y trabajadoras en materia laboral, sindical y en salud en el trabajo, producto de la subcontratación, la tercerización, deslaboralización, la precarización de las condiciones de labor, el impulso de sindicatos dirigidos por los patronos, de contratos sindicales, pactos colectivos, es un factor más de su vulnerabilidad. Todo esto incrementado con la implementación de tratados de libre comercio, leyes leoninas que atentan contra todos los derechos, la implementación de megaproyectos y el terror del estado a través de las fuerzas armadas y el paramilitarismo.

10.Los/as caravanistas pudimos constatar en todas las regiones que visitamos, que el pueblo de Colombia y sus organizaciones, a pesar de la dura represión, continúan movilizándose exigiendo derechos y respeto por sus vidas y sus organizaciones. Muy especialmente, en todo el territorio nacional inicia el paro nacional agrario, étnico y popular, luego de la presentación de un pliego de peticiones al gobierno nacional y a la exigencia de cumplimiento de acuerdos establecidos en el paro agrario de 2013. 

Plan de acción

Los integrantes de la caravana nos comprometemos a implementar las siguientes iniciativas que contribuyan a visibilizar esta grave situación, a fortalecer la solidaridad internacional con las luchas del pueblo de Colombia y a contribuir a la paz y a la conquista de la democracia en Colombia.

1.A visibilizar el país real y las respuestas del pueblo colombiano a la grave situación en que viven.

2.Fortalecer la solidaridad internacional, continuar apoyando las luchas que en Colombia desarrollan múltiples organizaciones y movimientos y contribuir con la búsqueda de la justicia social y el bienestar de sus gentes. 

3.De manera especial, a estar muy atentos y exigentes ante el estado colombiano a fin de que se garantice y respete el derecho al paro nacional agrario, étnico y popular y demás movilizaciones que se generen en el país y no se criminalice la protesta social.

4.Exigir del Estado colombiano, el reconocimiento de la existencia de una política sistemática que ha producido masivas violaciones a los derechos humanos, con la complicidad de los Estados Unidos, de la Unión Europea, otros países, del FMI y del Banco Mundial.

5.Demandamos al estado colombiano y a las organizaciones insurgentes a parar la confrontación militar, involucrar a las organizaciones y movimientos sociales en el proceso, avanzar en los diálogos y lograr acuerdos que superen las causas que generaron la confrontación armada en Colombia.

6.Construir una paz real exige del estado colombiano la reducción de las Fuerzas Militares, el desmonte total de todas las estructuras del paramilitarismo, la suspensión del fuero militar y la rebaja del presupuesto militar en beneficio de la salud, la educación, la vivienda, la cultura, entre otros.

7.Las víctimas tienen derecho a participar y a decidir sobre el derecho a la verdad, a la justicia, a la reparación y a las garantías de no repetición. Por tanto, apoyamos cualquier iniciativa que con este fin se implemente, con la seguridad de que sin su participación será imposible alcanzar la paz y la conquista de la democracia. 

8.Parar la ofensiva de las multinacionales, del sistema financiero internacional y los impactos generados por la implementación de los tratados de libre comercio contra nuestros pueblos es urgente, por ello, nos comprometemos a trabajar en el desarrollo de las campañas que se implementen con tal fin. Campañas contra Nestlé, Coca Cola, Sodexo, contra la guerra de las multinacionales, son desde hace varios años, un ejemplo de la lucha global y la construcción del internacionalismo proletario.

Colombia, abril 30 de 2014 

English.

Global Caravan for Peace and the Conquest of Democracy in Colombia

Political Declaration: On the road around Colombia, April 21 – May 3 2014

An international delegation of representatives of trade unions, human rights organizations and other organizations in solidarity with the people of Colombia, including members from the United States, Switzerland, Chile, Australia, Italy, Germany and France, visited Colombia accompanied by representatives of Sinaltrainal (a Colombian trade union representing working in the food and beverage industries), Fundación la Otra Esquina (Foundation of the Other Corner), CELES, Red de Lucha Contra el Hambre y la Pobreza (Network of the Fight Against Hunger and Poverty) and Movimiento Unidad, Paz y Democracia (Movement of Unity, Peace and Democracy). The delegation, the Global Caravan for Peace and the Conquest of Democracy, conducted a tour of several regions of Colombia with the objective of meeting with regional and local communities and organizations in order to examine the impact of the policies of the state and multinational companies on the country and their lives.

The global caravan visited communities and organizations in five regions of Colombia, in the centre, the northeast, the southwest, the northwest and the north coast, meeting with communities affected by a wide range of industrial and agricultural projects such as: the construction of dams and a hydroelectric scheme in Santander and Antioquia; coal and gold mines in Antioquia and the south of Bolivar; the exploration and exploitation of petroleum in Santander; the destruction of vulnerable highland ecosystems in Santander; the implementation of large plantations of African palm trees and sugar cane in Antioquia, Santander and Valle del Cauca; the construction of infrastructure megaprojects such as the mega port and dockyards of Tamarindo in Barranquilla; the pollution that has devastated the areas around the port operated by Drummond at Ciénaga in Magdalena, and the impact of the Cerrejon coal mine on adjacent Wayuu communities in La Guajira; encroachments on the green belt and the communities that have been cut off from essential services in Medellín following their privatization; the impacts of the policies of multinationals such as Nestlé in the production and importation of agricultural products, including coffee production in the southwest of Colombia; the critical situation of the Afro-Colombian population in the port of Buenaventura; the rise in the official interest rate and the lack of adequate housing; and, the privatization of education throughout Colombia.

The Global Caravan affirms that:        

1. Since October 18 2012 the government of Juan Manuel Santos and the insurgent organization the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia “FARC-EP”) have committed to ongoing negotiations in Havana Cuba in an attempt to end the armed conflict that has ravaged Colombia for fifty years. The objective of the negotiations is to achieve a “General Agreement for the end of the conflict and the construction of a stable and enduring peace”. The other main insurgent group, the National Army of Liberation (Ejército de Liberación Nacional – ELN), has repeatedly expressed to President Santos its willingness to commence negotiations to reach a peace agreement.

This dialogue that is attempting to end the conflict and find solutions to some of the problems that are afflicting the people of Colombia is taking place in the midst of ongoing military campaigns. Despite continually expressing its intention to reach a peace agreement, the Colombian government continues to militarize the country and increase the budget allocated to the war. In 2014 the military budget increased to 27.74 billion pesos, well above the amounts allocated to health and education (the military receives a larger part of the national budget than any other sector). Between 2011 and 2014 government spending on “Defence and Security” has increased by 2.21 billion pesos, approximately 19.6% more than in the period 2007 to 2010. Colombia continues to have one of the largest militaries on the planet on a per capita basis and to receive one of the highest levels of military support from the United States, exceed only by Israel and Egypt during the implementation of “Plan Colombia”. It is very difficult to reconcile the repeated affirmations of a steadfast commitment to peace with the drastic increase in the military budget and the number of military and “security” personnel (in 2014 the national police are set to increase by another 15,000 personnel).

In every region that the caravan visited the members witnessed a very high level of militarization. On several occasions our members were detained by the military for short periods; on many others we were followed and photographed by members of the security forces. The majority of these incidents occurred in areas close to megaprojects or the facilities and properties of multinational companies.

The FARC and ELN have repeatedly stated that among their objectives is the right to participate in the electoral contests for public office and the right to govern. The destitution and exclusion from public office of the Mayor of Bogotá Gustavo Petro Urrego and of Senator Piedad Córdoba are not positive signals for the peace process and for the prospects of democracy in Colombia. Many Colombians interpret these actions as expressing and manifesting the ongoing determination of the right-wing political parties and groups to exclude all other groups from politics and public offices and to prevent at all cost the development and implementation of alternative political and economic strategies and models to address the chronic poverty, exclusion and lack of democracy in the country, violating the sovereignty of the people and ignoring the calls of the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights to take substantive measures to address the lack of civil and political rights in Colombia.           

2. During the previous government (of Álvaro Uribe Vélez) the “chuzadas” (espionage and intercepts of communications) against trade unions representatives and human rights defenders among others were conducted by the administration of Uribe through the Department of Administrative Security (DAS), attached to and closely managed by the office of the President. During the government of President Santos the espionage has continued, conducted in this instance by military intelligence units (such as the Andromeda office). The intelligence and espionage functions of the DAS have been reallocated and DAS has been converted into the “National Unit for Protection” (Unidad Nacional de Protección, UNP), assuming responsibility for the protection of the same individuals and organizations that were targeted by these espionage activities that have resulted in the assassination of hundreds of members of civil society organizations. The new agency does not acknowledge the systematic political persecution and violence against these groups and individuals (in which it played a substantial role), and the results of its protection program have been completely inadequate. The revelations continue of additional details concerning the “false positives”, and connections and dealings between mafia and paramilitary groups and high ranking members of the various units and agencies that make up the military and security apparatus (as well as politicians, businessmen and landlords), in spite of rather than due to the efforts and diligence of the UNP and other “security and intelligence” agencies.

3. The impunity continues.The Law of Justice and Peace, the result of negotiations between the government of Álvaro Uribe Vélez and the AUC (Auto-Defensas Unidas de Colombia – United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia, the umbrella organization of the paramilitary groups), is in reality nothing more than an agreement of complete impunity for the intellectual authors behind and the overwhelming majority of the members of the paramilitary groups. The investigations and prosecutions that have been completed have failed to even mention the intellectual authors of the paramilitary groups responsible for thousands of assassinations and other crimes against civil organizations and the people of Colombia, and the elaborate infrastructure and apparatus of systematic assassinations and plunder continues intact. The paramilitary apparatus has been fragmented and repackaged, with the emergence of groups such as ERPAJ, the Rastrojos, the Urabeños, the Águilas Negras, and the Paisas, which continue to strengthen their positions, murdering with almost complete impunity and forcing individuals and entire communities to leave their land and property to expand the zones of mineral and energy exploration and exploitation, and to establish and expand large scale agricultural plantations and cattle ranches in all of the national territory. Many of the few members of the paramilitary groups that have been sentenced to prison under the Justice and Peace Law of 2005 have almost completed their prison terms.  

 4. In terms of the National Plan of Development (Plan Nacional de Desarrollo) being implemented by the Santos administration, of the five engines of economic development (infrastructure, housing, agriculture, mining, and innovation), those that have had the biggest negative impact on the population are minerals and energy exploration and production, usually conducted by expropriating land and natural resources from Colombian communities for the primary or exclusive benefit of transnational corporations that have arrived to Colombia to exploit the riches of the subsoil. Such development projects generate limited and short term employment opportunities while taking advantage of the lowest levels of taxes and royalties in the hemisphere which don´t even cover one percent of the environmental, social and economic costs caused by the projects. These negative impacts are compounded by high levels of forced displacement of farmers and entire communities from project areas, as well as the environmental pollution and ecological destruction.

5. Approximately 46 million hectares of the 114 hectares that make up Colombia have been or are in the process of being granted by concessions to multinational companies, national economic groups and the financial sector, the overwhelming majority of the concessions being made without the informed consent of the communities living in affected areas. Twenty years ago Colombia imported one million tonnes of food products, in 2013 ten million tonnes of food products were imported and it is anticipated that within a few years the amount will increase to 20 tonnes due to the free trade agreements signed by the Colombian government.

According to member of the House of Representatives Wilson Arias, 52,000 hectares of land were granted to Cargill for the cultivation of cereals and Riopalia fraudulently acquired 41,000 hectares to plant African palms. The Eder family has acquired 20,000 hectares of land in Meta province to plant African palms through their corporate front Manuelita, the corporate group Aliar and Contegral owns 13,000 hectares through their subsidiary La Fazenda for the cultivation of soya and maize in a project near Puerto Gaitán, and the Brazilian group Mónica Semilla with the family of Carlos Aguel Kafruni and Organización Pajonales S.A. has accumulated more than 4,000 hectares of land. Apart from these specific properties there are major projects underway to convert land in the Amazon region and other areas to agro-industries dedicated to the production of crops for export markets, largely under the ownership of multinationals and financial companies from China, India, the United States, England and Brazil, among others.

While this is occurring, thousands of farmers and communities are losing their land through forced evictions following questionable legal processes. 

According to Oxfam, “the distribution of land ownership in Colombia is extremely unequal, with one of the highest rates of concentration of land ownership in the world and the second highest in Latin America after Paraguay.”

6. According to a press release of MOVICE (Movimiento de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado, Movement of Victims of Crimes of the State) of April 9 2014, the situation of the victims is critical. Thirty four victims of state crimes and people seeking to reclaim lands from which they were forcibly evicted have been assassinated in recent times and over 500 have received death threats from the new paramilitary groups, which together with the very small amount of properties returned to their rightful owners show that the Land Law for victims of forced displacement has been a complete failure. During the first three years of the mandate of the Santos administration there have been 274 cases of aggression against the leaders of MOVICE. There are no guarantees of safety or protective measures for those that have successfully completed the restitution process and that want to return to their land.

7. Approximately six million Colombians that have been forcibly displaced within Colombia, and another ten million that have opted or been forced to live outside Colombia, demonstrate the scale of the human tragedy that Colombia is going through.

8. A longstanding and ongoing grievance is the endemic violence and discrimination against the women of Colombia. This violence and discrimination is apparent in elevated levels of unemployment and poverty, the lack of dignified work, differential salaries for men and women, sexual abuse and harassment, and the tolerance and promotion of rampant sexism and male chauvinism. According to official statistics, in 2012 a woman was murdered every three days, 3968 were assaulted by their spouse, and a woman was sexually abused every half hour within Colombia. 

Violence and discrimination are also endemic against minority communities, including homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals.

9. Colombia continues to register the highest number of assassinations of trade union members in the world. In 2013 twenty six trade union members were murdered and there were another thirteen attempted homicides, 149 members received death threats, 28 members were subject to harassment by state officials and 13 were imprisoned under arbitrary procedures. During the last 28 years over 4000 trade union members have been assassinated, of which more than 3000 have been documented. Death threats continue to be a regular part of daily life for many trade union members, confirming that Colombia has the most hostile operating environment in the world for trade unions. More generally, in most cases people that are subjected to human rights violations are afraid to declare and denounce them and participate in judicial proceedings due to the lack of guarantees and effective protective measures.

The members of the Caravan affirm that the human rights violations are systematic and selective, that there is a historical process of political and social extermination in Colombia that continues to the present day. These crimes are sustained and fed by the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of violations of the rights of trade unionists, human rights defenders and other social sectors and individuals to life, liberty and integrity, manifesting the grave humanitarian situation of the people of Colombia. 99% of the investigations of crimes against trade union members have failed to prosecute those responsible, resulting in almost complete impunity.

We are extremely concerned that, at the same time as totally inadequate resources are dedicated to the investigations and legal procedures pertaining to the assassination and persecution of members of trade unions and other civil organizations and movements and associated procedures are delayed and only pursued with reluctance in many cases, many leaders of civil organizations and social movements have been detained, imprisoned and judicially persecuted as part of a general strategy that criminalizes social protest.

Most workers in Colombia lack protection in terms of decent working conditions, occupational health and safety standards, and the right to organize, products of the systematic use of sub-contracting, outsourcing, selective dismissals, precarious working conditions, the creation and promotion of trade unions controlled by employers, of individual contracts, and of collective agreements that exclude trade unions, all of which are tactics designed to increase the power of employers over their employees. The vulnerability of workers to the ruthless use of such tactics is exacerbated by the broader environment that includes the implementation of free trade agreements, the adoption of laws that undermine or seek to nullify constitutional rights and freedoms, the implementation of mega-projects without genuine consultation or informed consent, and the state terror that has been unleashed against the Colombian people by the armed forces and paramilitary groups.      

10. The members of the Caravan can affirm that despite the heavy oppression, in all of the regions that were visited the Colombian people continue to mobilize to demand their rights and that their lives and organizations are respected. In particular, a national agrarian, ethnic and popular strike has been launched throughout the territory of Colombia, demanding that the agreements reached with the national government in negotiations during and following the first national agrarian strike in 2013 are fulfilled. 

Plan of Action

The members of the Caravan commit to implement the following initiatives to help draw attention to the gravity of the situation, to strengthen international solidarity with the struggles of the Colombian people and to contribute to the peace process and the conquest of democracy and justice in Colombia.

1. To draw attention to the real situation in the country and the measures taken by the people of Colombia to respond to the critical situation that they face.

2. To strengthen international cooperation and solidarity, and to continue supporting the multitude of campaigns and struggles that are being waged by communities, civil society organizations and movements to construct conditions of social justice and protect the welfare of the people.

3. To pay particular attention to demanding that the Colombian state guarantees and respects the rights of the individuals and organizations that have mobilized for the national agrarian, ethnic and popular strike, and that social protest and political opposition more generally is not criminalized.

4. To demand that the Colombian state acknowledge the existence and implementation of a long term strategy of systematic oppression and violence that has produced massive violations of the human rights of the Colombian people, with the complicity and support of the United States, the European Union and other countries, as well as international organizations such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.

5. We demand that the Colombian state and the insurgent organizations end the military confrontation and provide for the active and intensive involvement of social organizations and movements in Colombia in the peace process, to extend and advance the negotiations as rapidly as possible to reach agreements that can overcome the causes that have generated and perpetuated the armed conflict in Colombia.

6. The construction of genuine conditions of peace requires that the Colombian state reduce the size of the armed forces, that the paramilitary structures and associated arrangements throughout the country are completely dismantled and that measures are taken to ensure they do not re-emerge, the suspension of the jurisdiction of military tribunals over procedures to investigate and adjudicate crimes committed by members of the armed forces (“fuero militar”), and a substantial reduction in the military budget in favour of sectors such as health, education, housing and culture.   

7. The victims of the armed conflict have the right to participate in and decide upon the best ways to achieve the rights to the truth, justice, reparations, and to ensure that such crimes are not repeated in the future. In this respect, we support any and every initiative that is adopted to achieve these objectives, knowing that without the active and empowered participation of those most affected by the conflict it will be impossible to reach and implement a peace agreement and secure the conquest of democracy and justice for all Colombians.

8. It is critical that the offensive being waged by the multinationals and the international financial system against our people is confronted and stopped, and that the negative impacts generated by the implementation of free trade agreements are acknowledged and addressed. We are committed to support the development of actions and campaigns designed to achieve these objectives, such as the campaigns against the ruthless policies of Nestlé, Coca Cola and Sodexo and the wars being unleashed by the multinationals, which provide concrete examples of determined and effective global struggle and cooperation to fortify international solidarity amongst all peoples.