Monday, October 2, 2023

Rural reform and mobilization

In his book “The Rural Reform for Peace”, Alejandro Reyes collected the testimony of an old farmer: “We farmers of Montes de María live on four things: selling cell minutes phone, selling red wines on the street, motorcycle taxis and selling chance.. None of these activities allow us to feed the family.” About 12.5 million people live in rural Colombia (“populated centers and dispersed rural areas” according to Dane). The National Quality of Life Survey tells us that 75.3% of women and 78.6% of men live in rural areas. areas identify farmers.

The latest report shows that the incidence of poverty in rural areas is 44.6%: just under 5.5 million people. Extreme rural poverty reached 18.8%, so 2.3 million people face the same situation as the old farmer from Montes de María: they cannot buy the basic food basket. Despite their poverty and lack of access to technical assistance, credit and intra-farm irrigation, in addition to the deplorable condition of tertiary roads, the Mission for the Transformation of the Countryside found that agriculture in families (farmers) contribute less than half of the country’s agricultural production. So the argument that previously decided to subsidize the rich and big companies, believing that they, and not the farmers, are efficient, lacks validity.

The report of the Truth Commission, in “The Peasants and the War” (2002), estimated that of the 10,606,125 incidents of victimization reported in the Single Registry of Victims, 4,827,550 (45.5%) were affected farmers. Farmers are “more than 45% of the victims registered in 8 of the 16 documented incidents of victimization.” The Colombian peasant is a historically disadvantaged group of the population, subject to the direct violence of war and the structural violence of a style of development that is biased against them. Therefore, the proposal to support their movement and organizational processes is completely reasonable. There is nothing in the text that encourages land invasions or roadblocks. It proposes to support the formation and operation of Municipal and Territorial Committees for Agrarian Reform whose functions are to formulate plans for the implementation of the reform, implement control and management, systematize experiences and promote spaces for technical and political exchange. What needs to be given urgent attention by the current government is not the voices of the guardian of the status quo in the countryside but the security of the territories: supporting the organization and movement cannot survive without taking care of the people.

The excessive outcry against this proposed decree reveals the deep reactionary nature not only of some rural elites but also of a good part of our political culture, which is quick to despise social and popular movements or dedicate to them a violent and finally, to endorse the armed response to social needs. Anuc was initiated by the government of Carlos Lleras in the late 1960s with the idea that farmers’ organization and mobilization would increase the chances of success in agrarian reform. Then, Misael Pastrana and his Chicoral Pact buried him and we loved him later. Rural Reform was moderate and liberal. There is no reason for such a scandal.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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