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April 17th: International Day of Peasants’ Struggles – Call for Action – CLOC VIA CAMPESINA

17 April 2013 @ 0 h 00 min BST

On April 17th we commemorate the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles, by remembering and honoring all the peasants who have sacrificed their own lives in the name of agrarian reform and food sovereignty,  as well as to protect and care for nature, seeds and water. We pay tribute to them for sacrificing their lives so that we may have a better world. 

On April 17th, 1996 in Dorado dos Carajas, Brazil, 19 peasants from the MST were murdered. Yet today, seventeen years after the fact, their assassins remain unpunished. Sadly, this type of impunity is far too common throughout out continent: we still face the attacks from transnationals, who with their capitalist thirst for the privatization and mercantilization of land, agriculture and nature. To confront them, we must ensure that peasant movements – whether of struggle or resistance – continue to grow and gain strength throughout all regions of the American continent.

These agrobusinesses, with their unbridled ambition, have reacted with violence, illegal actions and corruption, taking hundreds of peasant lives in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia and Paraguay. In all these countries we have witnessed how the police and the army partake in this violence by murdering and violating peasant rights.

While in Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil, gunmen and paramilitary units shed the blood of peasants when organizations challenge the rampant plundering exerted by agro-mining transnationals and local oil oligarchies. In addition, new draft legislation has been sprouting up throughout the continent, attempting to legalize and mass-produce transgenics while placing obstacles for the use and circulation of our own traditional seeds – which has led to a rise in the criminalization of peasants’ struggles and supposes a major threat to local seeds.

Within the framework of the call for action set forth by La Via Campesina International, CLOC-VC is set to carry out actions in honor of the International Day of Peasants’ Struggles. These actions will take place throughout more than 23 countries, and will include the participation of our organizations, friends and allies, so that we may continue to discuss these issues and struggles among our people and in different cities throughout the Americas, yet keeping a continental and global mindset for all our movilizations.

In order to pay homage to our martyrs and to ensure their fights live on, we call for the mobilization of our people against land and water grabbing, the loss of our traditional seeds and the criminalization of our protests.

Let’s raise our voices wherever we are at, to clamor for the defense of our territories. Let’s make it clear that we will continue to denounce their criminal acts and fight for social transformation, one which will rely on agro-ecologically based food sovereignty and an integral agrarian reform as pillars for this grass-roots process.

We also call for all to express solidarity towards the Paraguayan people, by carrying out mobilizations before the Paraguayan embassies in order to denounce and expose the coup government and its relentless persecution of their own peasants, submitting a letter demanding that political prisoners are set free and that justice is sought out for the Curuguaty Massacre.

Let’s raise our voices and get involved in both local and nationwide actions within the framework of the International Day of Peasant’s Struggles, so that they may be visible throughout the continent and internationally, through La Via Campesina.

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17 April 2013
0 h 00 min BST
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