The time for talking is over, Colombia’s Indigenous communities have said, as they mobilize to demand the government adhere to the terms of the country’s peace agreement in a “Minga of Resistance.”
Indigenous organizations are marching in cities in at least 16 states, demanding authorities accelerate the murder investigations of at least 30 community leaders as well as observe the peace agreement signed last November with the former FARC rebels.
“In the Minga of Resistance for the territory, the dignity and fulfillment of agreements, there will be women, men, students, young people, elderly, seniors, Indigenous guards, sons and daughters of the earth,” the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia said in a statement on its website.
According to ONIC senior advisor Luis Fernando Arias, the government of Juan Manuel Santos’ continued failure to implement the peace agreement is the driving force behind the demonstration.
“Each and every one with … the red and green flag held high, with pain and anger for our fallen comrades at the hands of the government for the sole reason of defending our territories, the platform of struggle and the principles of unity, land, culture and autonomy. That same feeling calls us to defend life, Mother Earth, and every being that inhabits it … Let us unite in a single voice, in a single song of dignity,” the call to action read.
Residents from Cauca, Huila, Valle del Cauca, Nariño, Putumayo, Tolima and the Association of Community Councils of Northern Cauca are present as they continued the push for the National Indigenous Minga movement, the ONIC said.
“We will sing songs, slogans, we will dance as it shows that in our communities there is no fear and that the love for life, today unites us in the struggle and resistance,” it continued.
Members of the coca farming community are expected to participate in the nationwide marches after suffering the loss of numerous members in police crackdowns and forced evacuations in the Tumaco region.
“There will be no peace without the Indigenous peoples, there will be no peace if our proposals are not incorporated into the Peace Agreement,” Fernando Arias said.
“What happened and continues to happen to the Awa brothers, Afro (descendants) and peasants in Tumaco, to the Kokonuko people, to the Wounaan, Sikuanis, to the Original Peoples in their ancestral territories, cannot be repeated in other regions of the country, and less in times of peace,” he added.
The marches coincide with the indefinite national strike launched last week, contesting the over 150 deaths of social activists and Indigenous leaders which have occurred this year.