300 delegates from peasant, Indigenous, Afro-descendant, landless, artisanal fishing, agricultural workers, youth and women’s organizations from 30 countries gathered in Havana, Cuba for the VIICongress of the Latin American Coordinator of Rural Organizations (CLOC) of the Vía Campesina from June 25 to 30. The historic Congress was held on the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Agrarian Reform law, 27 years from the creation of the CLOC and 25 years from its first continental congress.
The Congress was a moment for people from across the continent and the world to come together and reflect on the challenges currently facing the peasant movement as well as the progress that has been made for the rights of peasants and rural communities. The advances in the coordination and solidarity between movements across the world was also an important point of reflection.
During the Congress, the delegates discussed and analyzed the current political context in the region which has seen an intensification of imperialist attacks against progressive governments and the criminalization of social movements. In their closing declaration they denounced that this wave of repression has been coordinated “from the military, judiciary and mass communication sectors, violating democratic systems and human rights.” They highlighted that the United States “dangerously attacks in order to reassert its domination over Latin American territory and to subordinate the states to their geopolitical and economic interests causing hunger and poverty.” They characterize this latest stage as a cultural war which “attempts to normalize fascist hatred and discrimination.”
They also highlighted the dire state of the environment and how agribusiness not only threatens the livelihoods of peasants but also the survival of the planet and all people. As such the struggle for food sovereignty and agro-ecological production is more necessary than ever.
The CLOC Congress reaffirmed its support to the political leaders like Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, who is currently serving an unfair prison sentence and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner who is facing legal persecution in Argentina.
They declared their solidarity to the Venezuelan people who are struggling to survive in the face of harsh economic sanctions slapped on by the US and its imperialist allies. They also manifested their permanent and unconditional other central target of imperialist aggression, Cuba. The Trump administration recently announced unprecedented sanctions on Cuba with the total activation of the Helms-Burton Law which has not happened in the history of its existence.
In the Congress’ closing statement the CLOC reject all forms of oppression of people like patriarchy, racism, sexism and homophobia and affirmed the struggle of the people for “democratic and participatory societies, free of exploitation, discrimination, oppression and exclusion.”
The CLOC continues to be a beacon of struggle, hope and resistance in the region. Through the struggle for people’s agrarian form and against agribusiness, the CLOC maintains the central goal of the struggle against all forms of oppression, colonialism, and for the true liberation of people and for socialism.