24 November, Harare:
La Via Campesina Stands in Solidarity with Central America
Central America is extremely vulnerable to climate change, exposing it to severe hurricanes and tropical storms. In just this month of November, Hurricane Eta and then Iota, both touched ground in at the northeast corner of Nicaragua’s Caribbean Coast and brought torrential rains, strong winds, landslides, and flooding in the entire region. The damage has been so far incalculable: roads, schools, electricity, internet, and potable water systems destroyed, and thousands of people left homeless. Disappearances and deaths are still being counted. The most severe damages that occurred are in rural indigenous and peasant communities.
The peasants and workers in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Panama were already suffering under the anti-poor policies of their neoliberal governments. To make it worse, people were already reeling under a crisis generated by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Now with Eta and Iota, these governments have taken advantage to enrich the dominant class instead of protecting human life.
As people seek refuge in shelters, under bridges, and on the streets in these countries, with little access to water and proper sanitary conditions, we worry that the cases of this terrible illness will increase. Massive crop losses in beans, corn, vegetables, and animals also mean a sharpening of the hunger crisis.
It is in this context that we say, “Only the People can save the People!”.
We reaffirm the urgency of peasant agroecology as the real solution to the climate crisis. In addition to attending to the immediate emergency of saving lives, we must also construct agroecological countrysides that are resilient to the storms ahead and ensure that our communities have access to healthy food.
La Via Campesina is calling upon all its members and allies to unite in solidarity for the people and peasant movements of Central America, and coordinate our efforts to recover farms, homes, and communities in the region.
We call on governments to defend life and respond to the needs of the people, and we support progressive forces that have organized prevention, mitigation, and recovery plans.
We also make a call for concrete expressions of solidarity from international organizations, UN agencies, and individual supporters of our movement through the campaign organized by the Central American region, “Only the People Save the People”.