Declaration international meeting landless in San Pedro Sula – Honduras

We, 84 delegates of organizations of la Vía Campesina and FIAN International, from 24 countries of the Americas, Asia, Africa and Europe, celebrated the International Meeting of Landless Peasants, from July 24 to 28, 2000 in the city of San Pedro Sula, Honduras. We have felt this sole assembly as a very important one, and rich moment of reflection and exchange for our struggles for the Land and the Agrarian Reform, both in our countries as at the international level. We have had the great opportunity to listen to partners from different countries and know about their struggles and tears, their efforts and hopes. We have shared our experiences and knowledge among ourselves and we believe we have understood that the struggles we undertake in all different countries are not isolated struggles, but different expressions of a common struggle for bread or tortilla, land and liberty. Therefore, we have the conviction of having found a strong common and encouraging fundament in this Meeting, to impel the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform in our own land and also in the rest of the world.
Land is the fundament of life for all human kind. Land, so properly called Mother Land by the natives of the Americas, feeds us: men, women, boys and girls; and we are deeply bound to her. That is why we feel affection for her. So, we reject the ideology that only considers the land as merchandise. We observe with concern that the dominant agrarian policies, implemented within the framework of neoliberalism, attempt, more and more, to substitute Agrarian Reform for the mechanism of land market. We see that the states and international organisms implement policies that end up privatizing the Agrarian Reform, which have resulted in agrarian counter reforms and a scandalizing reconcentration of land within a few hands, in many countries. We also observe that international financial institutions, particularly the World Bank, promote a model called "market assisted agrarian reform" which, according to the experiences we are living, threaten and substitute Agrarian Reform processes.

The neoliberal dogma, in essence, contradicts the basic principle of Agrarian Reform. According to its defenders, land is no longer for those who work it; but for them, land is kept for the ones who own the capital to buy it. The application of this principle systematically excludes landless peasants from participating in economical development, and deepens the already existing poverty. We wish to state that governments violate Human Rights of peasant families that need to access land, in order to fulfill their Right to be Fed as well as other Economical, Social and Cultural Human Rights, when they don’t take upon themselves their commitment with Agrarian Reform, and just let the market be the regulator. Agrarian Reform is an obligation that States have assumed with Human Rights, as long as a high concentration of agricultural surface persists, leaving peasants without the land they need to be fed. We start from the principle of access to land and security of holding it as indispensable elements of Agrarian Reform. Nevertheless, comprehensive Agrarian Reform is a much wider concept that includes the economical, social and political environment, necessary for the development of a sustainable peasant agriculture. We observe with concern that more and more each day, the rules of liberalization and globalization of the market prevail on agriculture, promoting a highly industrialized agro-export model, controlled by a few transnational companies. We oppose to the production and commercialization of genetically modified organisms and to the privatization and patenting of living organism genetic resources. We reject these policies, that constitute severe threats to alimentary sovereignty of our families and our people. We are convinced of the fact that Agrarian Reform is a basic element to democratize land and economy. Agrarian Reform is not only a topic for the Landless; it is a struggle of all society. There is no peace with hunger, and there won’t be peace without land.

We ourselves assume the practice of the pedagogy of example, which means we have to live in our own organizations what we demand from others. We recognize our achievements as well as our weaknesses. For example, it is obvious that gender equality is far away from being reached. Mentalities and structures that represent an obstacle for the evenness of women and men’s rights still persist inside our organizations. We have witnessed multiple ways of discrimination that particularly affect peasant women in terms of access to land, to other resources for production and to political decision processes. We believe that implementation of equitable rights for women and men is a very important banner for the struggles, within the framework of the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform.

We concluded the International Meeting of Landless Peasants, convinced of having settled the necessary foundation as to give a strong impulse to the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform, both for the struggles at the different countries, as for placing the topic again into the international political agenda. With globalization of our domestic struggles we will face globalization of the market and the instances that promote it. We commit ourselves today, in the city of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, to participate with public demonstrations and protests in the Global Week of Struggle for Agrarian Reform, from December 4 to 10, this year. And to participate with other actions to be promoted in favor of Agrarian Reform in all countries where we, the representatives in this International Meeting of Landless Peasants, come from.

San Pedro Sula, Honduras, C.A. July 28, 2000.
FOOD, LAND AND LIBERTY Long Live the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform! Long Live La Vía Campesina! Long Live FIAN International!