Press Release: CLOC denounces arbitrary arrests of peasant leaders in Colombia

Communication of solidarity and public denunciation of arbitrary detention, false accusations and show trials of peasant leaders and members of the National Agricultural Coordination – CNA – a member organization of the CLOC-LVC Colombia

16 December 2020 | Latin American Coordination of Rural Organizations (CLOC – LVC)

The intensification of violence and stigmatisation of social movements in South America has increased in an abysmal fashion. The pandemic has become an occasion for further dispossession, stigmatisation, and violence in countries like Paraguay, Brazil, Chile, Peru, Columbia, and in general, the majority of countries in the lower region. These actions are meant to stomp out resistance through the extermination of peasants, students, workers, and social organisations more broadly.

At this time, Colombia is one of the countries with the largest number of assassinations, massacres, violence, and generalised stigmatisation against the leaders of social organisations. In spite of the Peace Accord signed four years ago, one which was supposed to ensure a cessation of violence and give opportunity for further agreements, the current government does not have the political will to execute and roll out the agreed-to actions. Today, a large portion of the country has found itself immersed in violence enacted by illegal groups and paramilitary organisations in the territory. There has also been an increase in the cases of persecution against peasant organisation, the displacement of communities, and the miserable criminal charges from judicial entities against social leaders. These are striking examples of what is called the “judicial false positives”.

It is for this reason that we denounce the Attorney General’s Office of the Nation of Columbia’s arbitrary detention of three (3) recognised leaders of the National Agricultural Coordination (CNA Colombia), a member organisation of the CLOC LVC International, on December 15th 2020. They are: Adelso Gallo, recognised peasant and social leader in the center-West region of Colombia; Teófilo Acuña, peasant leader and advocate for the organising process that gathered together peasant communities, landless people, fishermen, farmers, and miners; and Robert Daza, peasant leader in the north of Nariño, former president of the CNA, and driving force behind the Agri-Food Peasant Territories on a national level.

For these reasons, CLOC-Via Campesina offers all of our solidarity to CNA-Colombia. We express our deepest disdain for the decriminalisation of the social and popular movement in Colombia. We also demand that the authorities charged with protecting rights be aware of these facts. We urge human rights and grassroots organisations around the world to stay attentive and alert to the critical human rights situation which our peasants’ movements are facing.

Build Solidarity, Resistance, and Hope among the people!