Tompkins Co. Antiracist Coalition popular demands

We demand that the Ithaca city government:

A. DEFUND AND SHRINK POLICING

  1. Immediately cut the IPD budget by 80%—from ~$12.7 million to $2.5 million.
  2. Commit to continuing significant cuts to IPD budget each year for the next 5 years.
  3. Enact an immediate IPD hiring freeze and end spending on overtime & public relations.
  4. Terminate and not rehire officers with misconduct records or who have harmed community members. Withhold pensions for officers involved in excessive-force cases. 
  5. Suspend paid administrative leave for police officers under investigation. 

B. DEMILITARIZE and RESTRAIN POLICE

  1. Immediately dissolve and disband the SWAT program.
  2. Remove the SWAT truck from IPD and allow its future use to be determined by an assembly of poor and working class people so that it actually keeps our community safe. (It could become a mobile health clinic, a COVID testing facility, etc).
  3. Eliminate semi-automatic and fully-automatic rifles, and tasers.
  4. Prohibit IPD participation in police militarization programs.
  5. End harassment and displacement of homeless people.
  6. Prohibit police and other law enforcement agent participation in eviction proceedings.
  7. End corporate contracts that support the operations of ICE, CBP and other federal agencies involved in targeting immigrant and refugee populations.

C. RE-FUND, REBUILD and HEAL COMMUNITY 

  1. Reallocate $2.8 Million to GIAC (Greater Ithaca Activities Center) and $5.06 Million to IYB (Ithaca Youth Bureau) to ensure the continuation of existing youth programs.
  2. Prioritize spending for black, brown, working class, and poor led self-determination projects that increase community safety, such as Black Hands Universal and the Unbroken Promise Initiative. Create structures to ensure that those most impacted by racism and gentrification in Ithaca decide democratically how the money is spent.
  3. Pay monetary reparations to the targets of police attacks, and the families of the victims of lethal police violence in Ithaca. Start with paying Rose DeGroat and Cadji Ferguson for the ongoing trauma they experience due to the brutal police attack they suffered on the Ithaca Commons in April 2019.
  4. Adequately fund choices of sustainable and affordable: housing, transitional housing for those in recovery,  healthcare (including mental healthcare), and childcare.
  5. Ensure that all essential and frontline workers and service industry employees are afforded full COVID-19 protections, including PPE, distancing and other appropriate safety measures. 
  6. Provide financial and other support to the Multicultural Resource Center, Tompkins County Immigrant Rights Coalition, and other groups that are developing, or have developed, models for community-based alternatives to policing. 
  7. Suspend rent payments for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. 
  8. Initiate an immediate, official review of the Nagee Green case to provide real justice for the community.

DEMAND LETTER: To Ithaca-area residents, Mayor Svante Myrick, and Members of the Ithaca Common Council:

We are members and supporters of a broad coalition of racial and economic justice advocates from Ithaca, including Democratic Socialists of America, Tompkins County Immigrant Rights Coalition, Tompkins County Showing up for Racial Justice, Ithaca Tenants Union, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, Decarcerate Tompkins County, and other local groups echoing the calls to defund the police now resounding across the country. The murders of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and George Floyd have fueled a global uprising in response to racist police violence. Here at home, the need to divest from policing and invest in human need can no longer be denied.

In a city with a population of roughly 30,000 people, the Ithaca Police Department (IPD) has 64 officers and a budget of $12.7 million dollars. Meanwhile, vital community programs have been slashed, rent and housing throughout the city remain unaffordable, and many residents face a deepening economic crisis exacerbated by COVID-19. Rather than a bloated police budget, our community needs support, investment, and healing. This is not the time for mild reforms.

We see the results of racist policing across the country and here in Ithaca. We cannot forget the killing of Shawn Greenwood and Keith Shumway by IPD officers in 2010 and 2011, nor the four teenagers of color held at gunpoint by an IPD sergeant in 2014, nor the brutality experienced by Rose DeGroat and Cadji Ferguson on the Commons last year, nor the police misconduct in the Nagee Green trial, nor the SWAT raids in West Village, nor the countless other accounts of daily dehumanization and punishment at the hands of police. We recognize that the system of policing criminalizes black and brown, poor, and working class people everywhere. Our city is not exempt. We join the nationwide call to defund this racist system and invest in resources that actually keep us safe, including youth programs, affordable housing, childcare, and alternatives to policing.

We urge residents of Ithaca and the immediate area as well as local organizations and businesses to sign this letter and commit to working to fund and rebuild our community. Of course, signing is just a beginning. The demands below do not fully capture our aspirations for a more just society. We need a larger vision of democracy in which all have what they need to survive and thrive, and in which all can determine their destiny. We know mass mobilization and diverse tactics will be necessary to achieve the basic goals outlined below. We know we must build a grassroots movement. To connect with us, please contact tompkinscoalition@gmail.com. We will not stop until our human needs are met and IPD no longer has the power to drain our resources and abuse black and brown communities. [OVER FOR DEMANDS]


JOIN US!

To sign on, visit our sign on form here: bit.ly/3kCf45yOr scan QR code with your phone’s camera: To share this document, use this link: bit.ly/2DLWLtQOr scan QR code with your phone’s camera:

Reflections on domestic and workplace violence that women workers experience in the maquiladoras in the Coahuila border zone

Reflections on domestic and workplace violence that women workers experience in the maquiladoras in the Coahuila border zone

Maria Elena Martinez, M.Sc. Psychology

Work on gender equality is central to building a human rights culture, to breaking stereotypes, and to reach a healthy and equitable culture.

 

Framing culture as a cross-functional factor in the dynamics of establishing personal relationships, beliefs, behaviors, and values that each person brings to a relationship serves as a context for the experience presented here. The roots of domestic violence, and thus of workplace violence, are part of our culture and society. Domestic violence has serious effects on women’s entry into the labor market and on their productivity, which is even more important if we consider the generalized violence that affects women from the poorest sectors of the population, in which the need to generate income is vital to family subsistence. This informs the experience and recent observations from my participation in a delegation that allowed me to visit both Austin, Texas (USA), and Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, a border zone marked by the invasion of giant transnational corporations known as maquiladoras.

Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera (ACTF) and the Comité Fronterizo de Obreros (CFO), both of which collaborate between the two border zones to benefit maquiladora workers,[1] coordinated and facilitated the trip. These organizations call for consciousness-building and support for and amongst workers and migrants, protecting civil and human rights, and contributing to developing solidarity between zones.

The border zone is remote, forgotten, a place where people arrive and hope to find ways of survival, to be able to work, and to meet their and their family’s basic needs. Due to maquiladoras being strategically built in an area where labor and land acquisition are cheaper, employment opportunities, and proximity to the United States, make it suitable for people to settle in the border zone. Women in the border zone do not have many opportunities to study or continue into the university, and they represent cheap labor for the maquiladoras.

In Allende and Piedras Negras, Coahuila, there is an ecosystem that functions exclusively to produce goods for export. One of these goods is the production of different parts and materials for automobile assembly, of which there are various companies that manage the maquilas in this area. During this assembly work, sexual harassment and abuse occur openly in the work place during work that is shared with people of the opposite sex. As explained by one of the women workers, while they are constructing harnesses, standing, moving around and in vulnerable positions holding the pieces they are assembling, men pass by, brushing their bodies from behind, from the front, and from all sides. Women are unable to defend themselves. If they report this behavior, they run the risk of being discriminated against.

These women’s lives happen within these metal structures, where a thousand or more abuses of the most vulnerable people are hidden. Their lives revolve around these maquilas, a large majority of workers’ homes are close to these huge structures. Once more they are being robbed of their resources, their labor in exchange for a few pesos,[2] which are insufficient for their basic needs.

Knowing about human trafficking, which has been considered a form of modern enslavement, it is difficult not to think about the reality of the workers at the border in Mexico as a modern form of enslavement. The difference is that this format, through the factories and the maquiladoras, is a legalized enslavement. Daily, workers are obligated to work long periods, in unhealthy conditions, and under the pressure of meeting a certain quota of product. Since their wages do not cover the costs of their basic needs, the majority of the workers undertake informal business arrangements, such as house cleaning, making and selling meals, and buying and selling various items to increase their income and be able to cover their expenses.

 

Women in the border zone, women who are strong and fighters, who go to their work daily in spite of the weather, the harassment, and the illnesses, deal with the adversities within the oppressive context in which they are forced to work. Some of them have been able to participate in the GEMA (Gender and Empowerment for Women in Action) program, which focuses on worker’s rights, gender, and violence. GEMA is an example of the effectiveness of group work amongst women as a tool in the struggle against domestic and work place violence.

This participatory process has allowed women workers in maquiladoras to undergo an introspective development that has improved their capacity to establish health relationships, both interpersonal and with themselves, contributing to their growth as human beings, as well as leadership development and attention to reporting abuses in the workplace.

The GEMA program, as offered by the CFO, is important to the organization’s reproduction. It is also important in educating and constructing a supportive culture, which could be key to working toward a life free of domestic violence, as well as workplace violence.

We need to analyze then, the power dynamics in the workplace where despite the recognition of the need for equal rights, there is a huge gap between the reality that women experience as they constantly suffer from sexual and labor harassment and the application and compliance of these rights. Currently, workers’ rights are being violated at another level due to the new reality we live in because of Coronavirus. During the pandemic, there has been an increase of workplace abuses, worker exploitation, and lack of preventive care to protect workers for whom it continues to be necessary to work despite the fact that their jobs have not been declared essential.

In this moment, the CFO has reported that maquiladoras have reduced the salaries of workers by 50%, increasing the severity of an already precarious economic situation. The issue of power relations runs deep and is embodied in the dynamics of control of the strong over the weak. The person being victimized lives subordinated to the demands of the person acting out the aggression, whether this person is their partner, their boss at their workplace, or the transnational company. Mostly, it is women who are being affected.

A series of problems rooted in exploitation take hold, robbing the voices of the people who are at risk daily. The consequences of the constant pressure to perform the expected labor are inevitably psychosocial. From some of the women workers that shared their stories, we heard of the problems that arise due to the various stress factors faced by these dignified women workers. Amongst these are primarily, workplace, economic, and mental abuse, sexual harassment in the workplace, intrafamily and intimate partner violence, and the physical disabilities resulting from so many years of repetitive tasks at work. The workers recognize the seriousness of domestic violence and the effect it has on them, as well as the how this violence is related to continuing workplace violence.

 

According to Fournier, Ríos, y Orpinas, cited in del Valle, Palú, Plasencia, Orozco, & Álvarez (2008), the relationship of health with violence is much more than recording events. Violence itself implies a threat or a negation of the conditions or possibilities of life and their own survival, with the eminent need to provide care to victimized people.

As far as the psychological effects on victims of domestic violence, depression is one of the most prevalent clinical presentations in victims of abuse (Bryer, Nelson, Miller, & Krol, 1987), and especially forms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), frequently experienced by victims of domestic violence (Aguirre, Cova, Domarchi, Garrido, Mundaca, Rincón, Troncoso, y Vidal, 2010). In the case of women workers in the border area, we need to add the workplace violence they experience within the competitive system that stimulates the efficiency of production – the daily pressure of maximum production—which exhausts and debilitates their mental and physical capabilities. This factor is stripping them of their time on earth as well as their health. Their life expectancy is being reduced along with their subsistence.

Women who are beaten go to work with obvious bruises, one of the workers mentioned, and violence is part of their day to day. In this area, as one of the women workers told us, the support for battered women is psychological and legal support when the woman has already been seriously assaulted. There is no preventative support. From a health perspective, the issue of partner violence is a high risk factor, which means it is necessary to increase and improve care for victims.

 

Contemporary society’s cultural structures, marginalization, and isolation of families are some of the huge obstacles to community support and the formation of a mutual aid group to prevent domestic and workplace violence at the border.

The CFO’s positive experience in developing the GEMA program and the work done with women in other countries where women also face domestic violence and economic insecurity, helped established that one of the most effective psychotherapeutic forms of working with victims of domestic violence was to construct a group culture of solidarity, mutual aid, and consciousness-building about their rights as people and in relationships. This model is organized by using various strategies, including having a safe space for actively listening to women, learning about their needs, and simultaneously, supporting women as they learn their own strengths. Forming support groups is a very concrete way of improving the health and life conditions of women in the border zone.

To benefit the women workers and continue to build on the success of the GEMA program’s work on the prevention of domestic and workplace violence, I propose three points of action that could be implemented by the CFO leadership and membership:

*Education and methods of disseminating information from elementary school age until adulthood for girls and boys, and women and men to be knowledgeable about healthy relationships.

*Creating safe spaces for empowerment where people can process their traumas with the support of others in solidarity and trained professionals to help them exercise their rights as a person and in the partnership.

*International solidarity with the CFO’s organizational processes and their struggle for demands.

Maria Elena Martinez, M.Sc. Psychology

Referencia

del Valle, J., Palú, A., Plasencia, C., Orozco, M., & Álvarez, O. (2008). Modificación de conocimientos de los integrantes del sector sanitario del municipio “Julio Antonio Mella” sobre violencia intrafamiliar contra la mujer. MEDISAN, 12 (2). Santiago de Cuba. Recuperado de https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=368445247002

Bryer, J. B., Nelson, B. A., Miller, J. B., & Krol, P. A. (1987) Childhood Sexual and Physical Abuse as Factors in Adults Psychiatric Illness. Am. J. Psychiatry,144:11, Nov.

Aguirre, P., Cova, F., Domarchi, M., Garrido, C., Mundaca, I., Rincón, P., Troncoso, P., y Vidal, P. (2010). Estrés postraumático en mujeres víctimas de violencia doméstica. Revista chilena de neuro-psiquiatría, 48(2), 114-122. https://dx.doi.org/10.4067/ S0717-92272010000300004

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the proximity to the United States, maquiladoras are strategically built in an area where labor and land acquisition are cheaper, and the proximity to the United States

[1] The original uses les trabajadores, which is used in Spanish as a gender neutral pronoun. Everywhere this text signals workers, without the specific descriptor of women, is where les trabajadores has been used.

[2] As of this writing, July 2020, $1 USD is equivalent to 22 Mexican Pesos.

introduccion Revista Movimientos de Mujeres

Introducción al primer número de la Revista Movimientos de Mujeres           

Ithaca NY, 17 julio 2020

Foto: la inscripción de este monumento en el centro de Ithaca, NY dice: “los primeros colonos blancos fueron soldados revolucionarios.” No se sabe bien cuando alguien la pintó de rojo, pero pensamos que es súper fuerte el simbolismo de lo que representa el rojo.

No es ninguna exageración decir que la incertidumbre sobre el nuevo virus Covid-19 nos arrebató a todxs con un diluvio de emociones y temores sobre qué hacer, a mediados de marzo. Nosotros somos un grupo de once activistas y miembros de comunidades (mayoritariamente del centro de Nueva York) que había llegado a Austin TX y después a Piedras Negras, Coahuila, en una delegación de solidaridad, para aprender sobre (y de) el trabajo de mujeres trabajadoras en las maquiladoras del Comité Fronterizo de Obrer@s, CFO.

Fuimos a esa región para presenciar el trabajo organizativo de grupos laborales y comunitarios liderados por mujeres, y para ver cómo se puede estar en solidaridad de una manera que profundice las conexiones más allá de las fronteras. También queríamos darle visibilidad a la opresión que mujeres enfrentan en la región fronteriza, mucha en mano de gerentes y empleadores de las maquiladoras donde trabajan. Nuestrx objetivo era enfocarnos en las alternativas desde abajo para crear cambios. Como María Elena Martínez dice en su artículo en este primer número de la revista, las mujeres pasan por muchos abusos en el trabajo y en casa, y así mismo ellas persisten, y se organizan, mismo cuando sus derechos no son respetados y más aún en tiempos de Covid-19. El 8 de junio, la abogada y activista Susana Prieto Terrazas fue detenida y después encarcelada por haber denunciado al gobierno y compañías estadounidenses por presionar para reabrir las maquiladoras. Ella fue liberada el 1º de julio, pero bajo órdenes estrictas del magistrado mexicano para cesar sus actividades, y con restricciones de movilidad en la región.

Poco podíamos predecir en esos días de marzo que los temas de disparidades, discriminación, abuso, y acciones solidarias iban a ser centrales en los próximos meses, después de que tomáramos la decisión de acortar el viaje de la delegación dos días antes de lo programado por miedo a que se cerrara la frontera y no pudiéramos cruzar de vuelta a Eagle Pass, EEUU. El virus COVID-19 ha afectado a tanta gente en el mundo de una manera tan intensa, y lo que empezábamos a ver entonces eran muchas formas de resistencia tomando forma. Esto incluye la lucha por los derechos, el feminismo radical, la defensa de territorios y soberanía, la lucha por la justicia racial y social desde abajo. Aquellxs con experiencias vividas de haber enfrentado (aún!) racismo, misoginia, sexismo, y discriminación de género y otras formas todas sus vidas están exigiendo ser visibles, ser escuchados; muchas organizaciones también claman por el fin a nuevas formas de colonialismo e imperialismo. Este es el caso de las mujeres en Cauca, Colombia, en Santa Marta, El Salvador, en Coahuila, México y otras partes del mundo. Ellxs luchan por el fin a la miseria y la opresión contra sus cuerpos, y sus comunidades. Ithaca también tiene sus propias formas de resistencia, como podemos ver en las protestas contra la opresión de la historia verdadera de violencia y colonialismo (ver foto).

Vemos esperanza de transformación de estas luchas lideradas por mujeres, por personas trans, por la juventud; sentimos que su fuerza tendrá más luz, y que nos mostrará el camino, hacia un redireccionamiento que deja atrás las formas de individualismo neoliberal, y parte para nuevas ideas, nuevas solidaridades, diferentes conversaciones que no lleven a las mismas opciones que han puesto a tanta gente en este momento de ‘estar travado’ en que estamos, con un mundo tan militarizado, policiado, y con tantas muertes brutales en manos de asesinos pagados por los estados/gobiernos; es un mundo donde se explota el trabajo, donde hay violencias sexuales y formas de encarcelamiento típico de los patriarcados globales.

Con este primer numero de la revista, esperamos poder contribuir para abrir el marco de referencias a lo que es posible. Estos aportes incluidos aquí dan atención de una u otra manera a cómo las cosas están ocurriendo con la resistencia a la represión, el extractivismo, el daño ambiental, las violaciones de derechos humanos, los desplazamientos. También, observamos cómo podemos crear círculos de solidaridad y justicia social más profundos. Esperamos que les guste, y nos encantaría que comentaran, discutieran, y la compartieran. Esperamos que se junten a la fiesta de lanzamiento el día 16 de agosto a las 7pm hora de Nueva York, aquí:
twitch.tv/movimientosdemujeres

Saludos, siempre en solidaridad,

Colectivo de Editores del Movimientos de Mujeres

 

English and Portuguese translation of Article about Covid and El Salvador

Rural Women, The Most Vulnerable in face of Aggressive Measures to Confront COVID19 in El Salvador

Written by:

Deisy Mejía Martínez

Coordinadora de Proyecto, CRIPDES, El Salvador

Cripdes.net

 Rural communities in El Salvador have organized, and women have been important protagonists. The Development Association of El Salvador (CRIPDES) has accompanied these rights-based fights for more than 35 years.

CRIPDES is a community-based organization that was born in the middle of the armed conflicto in El Salvador. The main purpose was to give impulse to organizing among rural populations, and to be able to impact public policies in order to improve the quality of life of the population. One of the fundamental projects of CRIPDES is the work for gender equality and equity, which is undertaken in an intersectional way, and used in the work at the grassroots in more than 300 rural communities in six departments of El Salvador. Within the most notable projects of CRIPDES is the empowerment of rural women, and their economic autonomy; nevertheless, the repressive measures of the government to combat COVID-19 are undermining this advance.

The work that has helped strengthen the empowerment and the increase in capacity among rural women has been the creation of women’s community savings groups. In the southern region of La Libertad department, there are four networks of savings groups in 7 municipalities, composed of a total of 49 groups, and 1,303 organized women.

CRIPDES accompanies these savings groups, organizing training days about gender, women’s rights, violence against women, and the legal framework that protects them; they also join trainings about popular participation in decision making settings.

In March, the Salvadoran government decreed a state of emergency and exception, ordering all of the population to stay home in quarantine, just like many other countries around the world have done due to fear of COVID-19. If we analyze this situation from a gender perspective, we observe that women are always the most affected, including for the most part the poorest women who make a living day-to-day in rural zones, where being able to access basic needs is already difficult on its own.

The pandemics has brought light to the increase in cases of violence against women. Data from the National Institute of Women (ISDEMU) and the women’s organization (ORMUSA) show that violence against women has jumped by 70% during quarantine, and that the majority of the aggressors are partners, husbands, life companions. The need to stay home is a trigger that increases the different violences. This is in addition to harassment by some officials in the National Civil Police (PNC) and military officials, whom we have known and identified as harassers. They come to rural and poor communities and leave behind a lot of instances of abuse of power. The diminished mobilizing of people in the streets in these communities creates opportunities to sexually abuse women, or in the worst cases, that someone gets killed in a femicide, like the one that killed a young woman from the rural area of Carasque, a district in Nueva Trinidad, Chalatenango. This occurred when the young woman was going from her home to work.

On the other hand, the women has seen the increase of work at home. Due to machista culture, born out of the patriarchal system, the majority of men do not join or collaborate in the work of the home, and in helping out with young children and the elder. Women have to do all the work in the home; in addition, school has been suspended, so they also have been converted into teachers, and always stay aware of the pending homework, and the academic calendar. In many cases, they also are obligated to attend to their husband.

The women have been trained in the savings groups, and have maintained the work and their functions across many years of being greatly affected by all that was mentioned. In addition, due to this pandemics and the state of emergency, they have had their capacity diminished with respect to devoting time to meet to agree on savings and loaning, since most groups entail between 15 and 50 women. If they cannot save, they Will not be able to count on a fund for when they need loans or just to buy food, medicine, compost for the crops, or food for their chicken. Some groups also have thought about closing their activities, since the government has not said anything about reactivating the country’s economy, thus limiting their strategies to maintain their income. Hence, once the quarantine is over, and if their husbands or they themselves have not been able to have a steady income, they are likely not going to be able to save or maintain their families.

Since women have been left without this space which allows them to save, and to share and talk about different situations, their rights, family situations, school, etc, CRIPDES has been communicating with them via Whatsapp calls. In these spaces, there can be monitoring to know if there have been instances of violence, and so that it can be reported to institutions and the women can get legal and psychological help. This virtual space also can serve as a source of information about repressive and restrictive measures that the state decrees during the pandemics. Such is the case of the cancelation of the agricultural subsidy that rural families get every year in order to grow crops. There is a new decree that prohibits public transportation and limits the mobility of people in taxi or uber. Without this subsidy, families cannot cultivate during the first rains of the Winter. CRIPDES has been able to identify women in most vulnerable situations to be able to provide a food basket, and to guarantee that it reaches the people. The situation is difficult, but we seek to always help and support one another during the pandemics. Maintaining communications with them is a priority.

 PORTUGUES:

MULHERES RURAIS, AS MAIS VULNERÁVEIS ANTES DAS MEDIDAS AGRESSIVAS DE ENFRENTAR COVID19 EM EL SALVADOR

Elaborado por:

Deisy Mejía Martínez

Coordenador de Projetos, CRIPDES, El Salvador

Cripdes.net

As comunidades rurais de El Salvador foram organizadas com um papel decisivo para as mulheres. A Associação para o Desenvolvimento de El Salvador (CRIPDES) acompanha essa luta de protesto há mais de 35 anos.

O CRIPDES é uma organização de base que nasceu em meio ao conflito armado salvadorenho. Seu principal objetivo é promover a organização da população rural e desenvolver um grupo defensor em políticas públicas para melhorar a qualidade de vida da população. Um dos trabalhos fundamentais realizados pelo CRIPDES é o trabalho pela igualdade e equidade de gênero, uma abordagem transversal na instituição e no trabalho de base realizado nas mais de 300 comunidades rurais de seis departamentos de El Salvador. Entre os avanços mais notáveis ​​no trabalho do CRIPDES está o empoderamento das mulheres rurais e sua autonomia econômica; no entanto, as medidas repressivas do governo para combater o COVID-19 estão minando esse avanço.

O trabalho que ajudou a fortalecer o empoderamento e a capacitação de muitas mulheres rurais foi a criação de grupos de poupança comunitária compostos por mulheres. Na região sul do departamento de La Libertad, foram criadas 4 redes de grupos de poupança em 7 municípios, compostos por 49 grupos de poupança, para um total de 1.303 mulheres organizadas.

O CRIPDES presta apoio a grupos de poupança, oferecendo sessões de treinamento sobre Gênero, direitos da mulher, violência contra a mulher e a estrutura legal que a protege; eles também aprendem questões de advocacia que promovem sua participação nos espaços de tomada de decisão. Em março, o governo salvadorenho decretou um estado de emergência e emergência, mantendo toda a população em quarentena, como foi feito em muitos países ao redor do mundo devido ao muito temido COVID-19. Ao analisar essa situação e da perspectiva de gênero, observa-se que as mulheres são sempre as mais afetadas, principalmente as mais empobrecidas que vivem o dia-a-dia ou nas áreas rurais, onde o acesso a bens e serviços básicos já é difícil por si só. A pandemia tem visto um aumento nos casos de violência contra as mulheres. Dados do Instituto Nacional da Mulher (ISDEMU) e da organização da mulher (ORMUSA) visualizam que a violência contra a mulher aumentou em 70% durante a quarentena, ou seja, que a maioria dos agressores são sempre casais, maridos, companheiros de vida. O confinamento com os agressores é um gatilho que aumenta os diferentes tipos de violência. Além disso, há o assédio de alguns elementos da Polícia Civil Nacional (PNC) e militares, que há muitos anos são identificados como assediadores. Eles se mudam para comunidades rurais e empobrecidas do país, deixando uma lacuna para abusos de poder nessas áreas. A baixa mobilização de pessoas nas ruas das comunidades cria oportunidades para abusar sexualmente de mulheres ou, na pior das hipóteses, um feminicídio como o de uma jovem na zona rural de Carasque, no cantão de Nueva Trinidad, Chalatenango. Isso ocorreu quando a jovem estava saindo do trabalho para sua casa. Por outro lado, as mulheres aumentaram seu trabalho em casa. Devido à cultura machista, herdeira do sistema patriarcal, a maioria dos homens não incorpora ou colabora em tarefas domésticas ou de cuidado. São as mulheres encarregadas de todo o trabalho doméstico, o cuidado de crianças e idosos; além disso, com as aulas presenciais suspensas, eles também devem se tornar professores e acompanhar os trabalhos de casa e o ano letivo. Em muitos casos, eles também são forçados a cuidar do marido. As mulheres que foram treinadas em grupos de poupança e que permaneceram funcionais por anos foram bastante afetadas por todas as opções acima. Além disso, devido a essa pandemia e ao estado de emergência, eles têm uma capacidade limitada de se reunir para fazer suas poupanças e empréstimos, uma vez que a maioria dos grupos é composta por 15 ou mais de 50 mulheres. Incapazes de economizar, essas mulheres não terão um fundo para fazer empréstimos e comprar alimentos, remédios, fertilizantes para suas colheitas ou alimentos para galinhas. Alguns grupos também estão pensando em fechar seu ciclo operacional, já que o governo não divulgou nenhum plano de revitalização da economia do país, limitando suas estratégias para manter suas fontes de renda. Assim, quando a quarentena terminar e se seus maridos ou mulheres não puderem vender ou trabalhar, eles também não terão uma renda para salvar e sustentar suas famílias. Dado que as mulheres ficaram sem esse espaço que, além de permitir que elas economizassem, era um espaço para compartilhar e conversar sobre diferentes situações, como seus direitos, situações familiares, escola, etc., o CRIPDES interage com elas por meio de ligações ou via WhatsApp. Nesse espaço, está sendo monitorado se algum tipo de violência está ocorrendo em algumas comunidades atendidas ou se eles conhecem alguém que está nessa situação, a fim de encaminhá-los para instituições que lhes dão apoio psicológico e jurídico. Esse espaço virtual também permite fornecer informações sobre as medidas repressivas e restritivas que o governo decreta devido à pandemia. É o caso do cancelamento da entrega do pacote agrícola que todos os anos é fornecido às famílias das áreas rurais para o cultivo. Isso devido ao novo decreto que proíbe o transporte público e limita a mobilidade das pessoas, mesmo de táxi ou uber. Sem esse pacote, as famílias não poderão cultivar durante as primeiras tempestades de inverno. O CRIPDES conseguiu identificar as mulheres nas situações mais vulneráveis, a fim de fornecer um pacote de alimentos e garantir que o parto seja direto. A situação é difícil, mas eles sempre procuram apoiar e facilitar sua situação durante a pandemia. Manter a comunicação com eles é uma prioridade.

Translation by Marilene Barros-Sarnataro

translation of article about domestic and workplace violence in maquiladoras- CFO

Reflections on domestic and workplace violence that women workers experience in the maquiladoras in the Coahuila border zone

by Maria Elena Martinez, M.Sc. Psychology

Work on gender equality is central to building a human rights culture, to breaking stereotypes, and to reach a healthy and equitable culture.

Framing culture as a cross-functional factor in the dynamics of establishing personal relationships, beliefs, behaviors, and values that each person brings to a relationship serves as a context for the experience presented here. The roots of domestic violence, and thus of workplace violence, are part of our culture and society. Domestic violence has serious effects on women’s entry into the labor market and on their productivity, which is even more important if we consider the generalized violence that affects women from the poorest sectors of the population, in which the need to generate income is vital to family subsistence. This informs the experience and recent observations from my participation in a delegation that allowed me to visit both Austin, Texas (USA), and Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico, a border zone marked by the invasion of giant transnational corporations known as maquiladoras.

Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera (ACTF) and the Comité Fronterizo de Obreros (CFO), both of which collaborate between the two border zones to benefit maquiladora workers,[1] coordinated and facilitated the trip. These organizations call for consciousness-building and support for and amongst workers and migrants, protecting civil and human rights, and contributing to developing solidarity between zones.

The border zone is remote, forgotten, a place where people arrive and hope to find ways of survival, to be able to work, and to meet their and their family’s basic needs. Due to maquiladoras being strategically built in an area where labor and land acquisition are cheaper, employment opportunities, and proximity to the United States, make it suitable for people to settle in the border zone. Women in the border zone do not have many opportunities to study or continue into the university, and they represent cheap labor for the maquiladoras.

In Allende and Piedras Negras, Coahuila, there is an ecosystem that functions exclusively to produce goods for export. One of these goods is the production of different parts and materials for automobile assembly, of which there are various companies that manage the maquilas in this area. During this assembly work, sexual harassment and abuse occur openly in the work place during work that is shared with people of the opposite sex. As explained by one of the women workers, while they are constructing harnesses, standing, moving around and in vulnerable positions holding the pieces they are assembling, men pass by, brushing their bodies from behind, from the front, and from all sides. Women are unable to defend themselves. If they report this behavior, they run the risk of being discriminated against.

These women’s lives happen within these metal structures, where a thousand or more abuses of the most vulnerable people are hidden. Their lives revolve around these maquilas, a large majority of workers’ homes are close to these huge structures. Once more they are being robbed of their resources, their labor in exchange for a few pesos,[2] which are insufficient for their basic needs.

Knowing about human trafficking, which has been considered a form of modern enslavement, it is difficult not to think about the reality of the workers at the border in Mexico as a modern form of enslavement. The difference is that this format, through the factories and the maquiladoras, is a legalized enslavement. Daily, workers are obligated to work long periods, in unhealthy conditions, and under the pressure of meeting a certain quota of product. Since their wages do not cover the costs of their basic needs, the majority of the workers undertake informal business arrangements, such as house cleaning, making and selling meals, and buying and selling various items to increase their income and be able to cover their expenses.

Women in the border zone, women who are strong and fighters, who go to their work daily in spite of the weather, the harassment, and the illnesses, deal with the adversities within the oppressive context in which they are forced to work. Some of them have been able to participate in the GEMA (Gender and Empowerment for Women in Action) program, which focuses on worker’s rights, gender, and violence. GEMA is an example of the effectiveness of group work amongst women as a tool in the struggle against domestic and workplace violence.

This participatory process has allowed women workers in maquiladoras to undergo an introspective development that has improved their capacity to establish health relationships, both interpersonal and with themselves, contributing to their growth as human beings, as well as leadership development and attention to reporting abuses in the workplace.

The GEMA program, as offered by the CFO, is important to the organization growth, It is also important in educating and constructing a supportive culture, which could be key to working toward a life free of domestic violence, as well as workplace violence.

We need to analyze then, the power dynamics in the workplace where despite the recognition of the need for equal rights, there is a huge gap between the reality that women experience as they constantly suffer from sexual and labor harassment and the application and compliance of these rights. Currently, workers’ rights are being violated at another level due to the new reality we live in because of Coronavirus. During the pandemic, there has been an increase of workplace abuses, worker exploitation, and lack of preventive care to protect workers for whom it continues to be necessary to work despite the fact that their jobs have not been declared essential.

In this moment, the CFO has reported that maquiladoras have reduced the salaries of workers by 50%, increasing the severity of an already precarious economic situation. The issue of power relations runs deep and is embodied in the dynamics of control of the strong over the weak. The person being victimized lives subordinated to the demands of the person acting out the aggression, whether this person is their partner, their boss at their workplace, or the transnational company. Mostly, it is women who are being affected.

A series of problems rooted in exploitation take hold, robbing the voices of the people who are at risk daily. The consequences of the constant pressure to perform the expected labor are inevitably psychosocial. From some of the women workers that shared their stories, we heard of the problems that arise due to the various stress factors faced by these dignified women workers. Amongst these are primarily, workplace, economic, and mental abuse, sexual harassment in the workplace, intrafamily and intimate partner violence, and the physical disabilities resulting from so many years of repetitive tasks at work. The workers recognize the seriousness of domestic violence and the effect it has on them, as well as the how this violence is related to continuing workplace violence.

According to Fournier, Ríos, y Orpinas, cited in del Valle, Palú, Plasencia, Orozco, & Álvarez (2008), the relationship of health with violence is much more than recording events. Violence itself implies a threat or a negation of the conditions or possibilities of life and their own survival, with the eminent need to provide care to victimized people.

As far as the psychological effects on victims of domestic violence, depression is one of the most prevalent clinical presentations in victims of abuse (Bryer, Nelson, Miller, & Krol, 1987), and especially forms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), frequently experienced by victims of domestic violence (Aguirre, Cova, Domarchi, Garrido, Mundaca, Rincón, Troncoso, y Vidal, 2010). In the case of women workers in the border area, we need to add the workplace violence they experience within the competitive system that stimulates the efficiency of production – the daily pressure of maximum production—which exhausts and debilitates their mental and physical capabilities. This factor is stripping them of their time on earth as well as their health. Their life expectancy is being reduced along with their subsistence.

Women who are beaten go to work with obvious bruises, one of the workers mentioned, and violence is part of their day to day experience. In this area, as one of the women workers told us, the support for battered women is psychological and legal support when the woman has already been seriously assaulted. There is no preventative support. From a health perspective, the issue of partner violence is a high risk factor, which means it is necessary to increase and improve care for victims.

Contemporary society’s cultural structures, marginalization, and isolation of families are some of the huge obstacles to community support and the formation of a mutual aid group to prevent domestic and workplace violence at the border.

The CFO’s positive experience in developing the GEMA program and the work done with women in other countries where women also face domestic violence and economic insecurity, helped established that one of the most effective psychotherapeutic forms of working with victims of domestic violence was to construct a group culture of solidarity, mutual aid, and consciousness-building about their rights as people and in relationships. This model is organized by using various strategies, including having a safe space for actively listening to women, learning about their needs, and simultaneously, supporting women as they learn their own strengths. Forming support groups is a very concrete way of improving the health and life conditions of women in the border zone.

To benefit the women workers and continue to build on the success of the GEMA program’s work on the prevention of domestic and workplace violence, I propose three points of action that could be implemented by the CFO leadership and membership:

*Education and methods of disseminating information from elementary school age until adulthood for girls and boys, and women and men to be knowledgeable about healthy relationships.

*Creating safe spaces for empowerment where people can process their traumas with the support of others in solidarity and trained professionals to help them exercise their rights as a person and in the partnership.

*International solidarity with the CFO’s organizational processes and their struggle for demands.

 

Maria Elena Martinez, M.Sc. Psychology

Referencia

del Valle, J., Palú, A., Plasencia, C., Orozco, M., & Álvarez, O. (2008). Modificación de conocimientos de los integrantes del sector sanitario del municipio “Julio Antonio Mella” sobre violencia intrafamiliar contra la mujer. MEDISAN, 12 (2). Santiago de Cuba. Recuperado de https://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=368445247002

Bryer, J. B., Nelson, B. A., Miller, J. B., & Krol, P. A. (1987) Childhood Sexual and Physical Abuse as Factors in Adults Psychiatric Illness. Am. J. Psychiatry,144:11, Nov.

Aguirre, P., Cova, F., Domarchi, M., Garrido, C., Mundaca, I., Rincón, P., Troncoso, P., y Vidal, P. (2010). Estrés postraumático en mujeres víctimas de violencia doméstica. Revista chilena de neuro-psiquiatría, 48(2), 114-122. https://dx.doi.org/10.4067/ S0717-92272010000300004

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to the proximity to the United States, maquiladoras are strategically built in an area where labor and land acquisition are cheaper, and the proximity to the United States

[1] The original uses les trabajadores, which is used in Spanish as a gender neutral pronoun. Everywhere this text signals workers, without the specific descriptor of women, is where les trabajadores has been used.

[2] As of this writing, July 2020, $1 USD is equivalent to 22 Mexican Pesos.

translation of Colombia article into Spanish and Portuguese

Líderes Sociales Colombianos, COVID-19 y el Imperio de E.U.A.

Por Patricia Rodríguez, Movimientos de Mujeres

Publicado originalmente en MARLAS (Mid-Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies, Junio 2020 special dossier on COVID impact; marlasjournal.com)

El asesinato de líderes comunitarios colombianos, derechos humanos y defensores del medio ambiente, durante los últimos años y, ahora intensificados bajo COVID-19, parecen replicar y presagiar los ataques dirigidos que estamos viendo y seguiremos viendo en los llamados países “democráticos” que viven bajo reglas autoritarias. Los líderes comunitarios, la mayoría de los cuales son indígenas, negros y campesinx pequeños agricultores rurales que expresan y defienden su derecho a una vida de seguridad y dignidad, una vida libre de guerras y militarización extrema, y para poder vivir y pensar como deseen, en sus propios territorios y tierras protegidas, están siendo sistemáticamente asesinados o judicializados.

Desde los históricos acuerdos de paz del 2016, más de 400 defensores y defensoras de los derechos humanos han sido asesinados; sólo en este año, más de 120 líderes sociales colombianos han sido asesinados, y muchos otros amenazados y desplazados de sus hogares, y cientos han sido detenidos bajo acusaciones falsas como en el caso de Julián Gil, Secretario Técnico del Congreso de los Pueblos. Ha estado encarcelado por más de dos años. El Congreso Popular es una organización de base que tiene como objetivo construir y promulgar mandatos populares para los cambios en las políticas nacionales hacia el logro de una vida digna y autónoma para diferentes sectores rurales y urbanos. La pandemia COVID parece haber cerrado muchos de los espacios de participación abiertos en la década del 2010, con los grupos armados que ahora regresan con ataques feroces contra líderes mientras están en cuarentena, y con la implementación de tácticas de control social que se suman a las preocupaciones creadas por los fracasos de los recientes procesos de paz.

El Proceso de Paz y sus Consecuencias

La Paz con justicia social es en gran parte por lo que estos líderes comunitarios luchan, y las cosas parecían esperanzadoras con las negociaciones entre 2012-2016 y con la firma de los acuerdos de paz entre el gobierno colombiano y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), un poderoso grupo rebelde luchando en una guerra civil desde mediados de la década de 1960. Desde 2016, los acuerdos de paz, que incluyeron la implementación de varias iniciativas, entre ellas el desarme y el regreso a la vida civil de los miembros de las FARC, la restitución de tierras y monetaria a las víctimas del conflicto de larga-duración, los cambios estructurales rurales que exigía el fortalecimiento de los derechos territoriales y de soberanía para los indígenas, afro-colombianos y campesinx, y de políticas públicas para la sustitución gradual de cultivos ilícitos y estrategias alternativas para el desarrollo rural, han sido despojados de lo que equivale a un alto al fuego extremadamente tenue.

La implementación de los acuerdos de paz, apoyada y financiada en parte por instituciones gubernamentales de los Estados Unidos como la Agencia de los U.S.A. para el Desarrollo Internacional (USAID) y el Instituto de Paz de los Estados Unidos (USIP), parece estar llena de contradicciones, y oculta gran parte del enfoque de de seguridad que sigue siendo predominante, en los “territorios”. Mientras que los acuerdos de paz prometían fondos a las comunidades para trasladar su producción a cultivos agrícolas y para la implementación de los Planes de Desarrollo con Enfoque Territorial (PDET), en cambio están siendo cada vez más expulsados de sus tierras debido a los ataques violentos y fumigación por parte de las fuerzas armadas colombianas.

El 28 de mayo, el gobierno de los Estados Unidos anunció el despliegue de 45-50 tropas SFAB (Brigadas de Asistencia de la Fuerza de Seguridad) de SOUTHCOM, tropas para asistir a los aliados socios estadounidenses… basado en necesidades operativas e institucionales’ relacionadas con la seguridad y la defensa en las llamadas Zonas Futuro, o zonas especiales que el gobierno ha considerado abandonadas y propensas a la presencia de grupos armados, y la producción de drogas y, por lo tanto, para permitir fáciles rutas de envío de drogas.  Los oficiales de operaciones antinarcóticos y de recolección de inteligencia que llegarán pronto a las cinco Zonas Futuro han recibido educación en la Academia de Entrenamiento de Asesores Militares en Fort Benning, Ga., la infame ubicación de la SOA/WHINSEC (Escuela de las Américas/Instituto del Hemisferio Occidental de Seguridad y Cooperación). La SOA/WHINSEC ha brindado capacitación a numerosos militares y policías latinoamericanos que han cometido masacres contra su propio pueblo en Guatemala, El Salvador y otros lugares.

La medida de SOUTHCOM es perceived por Adam Isacson, Director del programa de Supervisión de La Defensa de la Oficina de Washington para América Latina (WOLA), como que tiene mucho que ver también con los bloqueos navales contra el presidente venezolano Nicolás Maduro, acusado en marzo por el gobierno estadounidense de narcotráfico. Dentro de Colombia, la intención es ‘acelerar la implementación [de los planes de desarrollo], con una gran presencia militar al principio, lo que implica operaciones ofensivas contra los grupos armados actualmente ubicados allí… [y] es probable que vengan con la intensificación de la erradicación forzada de la coca”.

Estas contradicciones políticas (por un lado, la erradicación gradual, por otro lado, “perdón, pero vamos a fumigar”) por parte de los gobiernos de Colombia y Estados Unidos camuflajan el interés por la gobernanza territorial. La minería pesada de oro y otros minerales, un puñado de megaproyectos de energía y la adquisición de tierras para producir cultivos de estilo monocultivo para la exportación es extensa, incluidas en las cinco Zonas Futuro. Estos esfuerzos comerciales son fuertemente financiados por bancos y consorcios internacionales, incluyendo BlackRock, HSBC, Lloyds, y otros.  En este contexto económico y de militarización, y la profundización del enfoque de la guerra contra las drogas, los líderes sociales se convierten en blancos de ataque por los entes armados de todo tipo. No son los únicos: los periodistas y los defensores de derechos humanos también han sido espiados y atacados por operativos militares.

Territorios de Paz en Disputa

La sociedad civil ha sido inflexible en la creación de la paz con justicia social, y a través de fuertes movilizaciones y huelgas nacionales, los campesinx, afro-colombianos y grupos indígenas han conseguido que el gobierno firme numerosos acuerdos. Esto también incluye una agenda por la paz con las fuerzas armadas de liberación nacional (Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN) donde también estaban incluidos muchos movimientos sociales. Al final, esas negociaciones se estancaron bajo la actual presidencia de Iván Duque, y el gobierno no cumple con muchos de sus propios acuerdos y genera desconfianza.

Gran parte de la desconfianza se debe a una historia de fracasos de los gobiernos en sus promesas de mejorar la infraestructura y las desigualdades estructurales en la Colombia rural. Las dificultades de hoy todavía tienen mucho que ver con la explotación del trabajo para una economía capitalista basada en la exportación de alimentos y materias primas a las naciones ricas, pero también implican la fuerte extracción de minerales y según un líder campesinx del Departamento del Cauca, las amenazas y asesinatos de tantos líderes sociales (34 asesinatos sólo este año en Cauca) tiene que ver con el dominio territorial:

“Estas son áreas que hemos llamado territorios de paz, donde juntos construimos nuestras propias garantías, nuestras propias soberanías. El objetivo de los actores armados es de diezmar la cultura ancestral y derribar estas y todas las formas de pensamiento libre. El impacto de la militarización y los asesinatos selectivos en tiempos en que la gente se queda en casa debido a COVID-19, es que está destrozando la base social, avanzando la destrucción de la democracia y amenazando la pérdida del Cauca como territorio de paz” (M.S., líder campesinx hablando en un seminario web el 11 de junio de 2020).

Organizaciones comunitarias como el Movimiento de Mujeres por la Vida (MoMuVic), en Cajibío, Cauca llevan bastante tiempo concibiendo estos territorios de paz. El MoMuVic es una organización que surgió de la organización de madres que perdieron a sus hijos por masacres de fuerzas paramilitares que ocurrieron en el apogeo del conflicto civil a principios de la década de 2000 en la región. Se organizaron inicialmente en torno a los derechos humanos, pero siempre con la intención de permanecer en sus tierras y territorios, y luchar por los derechos a la tierra, la autonomía, la salud, la vivienda y la soberanía alimentaria. Hoy en día el movimiento está compuesto por más de 100 mujeres de varias veredas (pequeñas ciudades) que han estado produciendo cooperativamente fertilizante orgánico, maíz, frijoles y otras verduras y hierbas.

“Ahora vemos la necesidad de intensificar la producción de alimentos en las veredas, incluso como una forma de establecer una posición más firme en nuestro territorio. La asistencia técnica y la maquinaria prometida como parte de las negociaciones del PDET no han llegado. Tenemos mucha preocupación por la supervivencia económica y la disponibilidad de alimentos; hay límites porque hemos estado descubriendo que el suelo en nuestras tierras es cada vez más ácido, debido a las grandes plantaciones de eucalipto y árboles de pinos para la exportación que nos rodean”. (Y.G. 3 de abril, 2020 entrevista).

Bajo las restricciones de cuarentena COVID, las personas en las fincas (pequeñas granjas) se defienden por alimentos que no crecen en los mercados locales “familiares”, generalmente propiedad de personas que conocen bien. Un gran desafío al que se han enfrentado estas comunidades es que ha habido bloqueos en las carreteras, muchos organizados por grupos como el ELN o disidentes de las FARC que han regresado a la rebelión armada. Ellos controlan las entradas y salidas, quién puede pasar al mercado y quién no. En algunos otros lugares remotos como en Putumayo, estos grupos han estado enviando volantes con multas específicas a aquellos que violan las reglas, y bloqueando la libre circulación de personas sin su permiso. Las mujeres también han estado luchando con el aumento del abuso doméstico durante la cuarentena, y advierten que, en tiempos de control social, la violencia sexual en general aumenta. Las mujeres constantemente revisan el bienestar de los demás, y hacen un llamado de alarma con los funcionarios locales y su propia comunidad campesinx, indígenas y cimarrron /guardias negros sobre la necesidad de presionar a que tanto las entidades de estados violentos como los no estatales, se hagan responsables.

Proyectos Solidarios Anticapitalistas

Excavando más profundamente para una comprensión del trabajo de colectivos como esta hace MAS ALLA del nivel local, uno puede comenzar a notar que el desafío para el sistema capitalista es fuerte. MoMuVic es una organización (entre muchas) que ha participado organizativamente tanto a nivel regional y nacional con numerosos esfuerzos para llevar a cabo un proyecto económico y político anticolonial para la nación. Se esfuerzan por negociar un modelo económico diferente al modelo profundamente neoliberal que se encuentra actualmente, y que está diezmando grandes cantidades de su entorno, sus territorios y su tejido social y cultural. Insisten en modelos alternativos de producción, distribución y consumo basados en los principios de soberanía alimentaria, en la solidaridad y en las economías locales (economía propia).

Esto significa la liberación de los modelos de desarrollo capitalista que causan la destrucción, y un replanteamiento de las maneras en que pueden construir sobre el conocimiento de los movimientos sociales en toda América Latina. La construcción de nuevas economías no es fácil, ya que los funcionarios colombianos siguen firmando acuerdos que profundizan el vertido de alimentos de cultivos extranjeros, como en el caso de las casi 65.000 toneladas de papas que llegan pronto de la Unión Europea. Capturando los mercados en el extranjero mediante la firma de acuerdos de libre comercio es una característica clave del modelo económico neoliberal, por lo que la disolución de esta prioridad nacional forma parte del llamamiento a una profunda reestructuración sistémica desde abajo, por parte de las organizaciones comunitarias.

El fortalecimiento de las protecciones y garantías para los líderes sociales es primordial, y los estadounidenses deberían insistir en ello, como un control de las reacciones represivas de su propio gobierno. La solidaridad es quizás aún más importante. Como el preso político Julián Gil ha expresado en esta carta reciente desde la cárcel, sobre el apoyo colectivo educativo, legal y logístico que ha recibido de personas en grupos como el Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos: “Estas experiencias me han dado la fuerza necesaria para poder hacer frente a la reciente intensificación de las contradicciones”.

Líderes Sociais Colombianos, Covid-19, e o Império dos Estados Unidos

Por Patricia Rodríguez, Movimientos de Mujeres, Central New York

Publicado originalmente em MARLAS (Mid-Atlantic Review of Latin American Studies Junho de 2020 Dossier especial sobre impacto do Covid-19 (marlasjournal.com)

O assasinato de líderxs comunitários, de direitos humanos, e defensorxs do meio ambiente Colombianos desde faz alguns anos, e agora intensificado com o virus Covid-19, parece qye replica e tambem anuncía mais dos ataques pontuais que estamos vendo e continuaremos a ver em paises chamados democracias mas onde se vivem em tempos de regras autoritarias. Líderxs comunitarios, a maioria que são indígenas, negros, e campesinxs que estão lançando a voz e defendendo o direito a uma vida segura e digna, uma vida livre de guerras e de militarização extrema, e a possibilidade de viver e pensar o que quiserem, nos sexs territorios e suas terras protegidas, estão sendo mortos ou judicializados.

Desde o histórico acordo de paz em 2016, mais de 400 defensorxs de direitos humanos tem sido mortos; apenas neste ano, mais de 120 liderxs sociais Colombianos foram assassinados, e outrxs tantos foram ameaçados e desalojados de suas casas, e centos outros foram presos sob acusações falsas, como é o caso de Julian Gil, secretário técnico do Congreso de los Pueblos. Ele está na cadeia já faz mais de dois anos. O Congreso de los Pueblos é uma organização de base que almeja a construir e implementar mandatos populares sobre políticas nacionais. Estas tem o objetivo de alcançar uma vida digna e autonoma para diferentes setores da população rural e urbana. A pandemia do Covid parece ter fechado os espaços de participação que estes grupos abriram desde os anos 201o, com grupos armados regresando com ataques violentos contra liderxs em cuarentena, e com a implementação de táticas de controle social que crescem as preocupações com as falhas do recente proceso de paz.

O proceso de paz e suas falhas

Paz com justiça social é parte da luta destxs lideres comunitários, e as coisas pareciam esperançosas com a negociação e depois a implementação do acordo de paz entre o governo colombiano e as Forças Armadas Revolucionárias da Colombia (FARC). As FARC são um grupo rebelde lutando uma Guerra civil desde a metade dos anos 60. Desde 2016, o acordo de paz que incluia a implementação de varias iniciativas inclusive o fim da luta armada e a volta á vida civil por membrxs da FARC, restituição de terras e pagamentos as vitimas do longo conflito, transformacoes estruturais no campo que fortalecem a soberania territorial e os direitos de povos indigenas, afrodecendentes, e campesinx, e politicas publicas de gradual substituicao de coca e outros produtos ilicitos, e estratégias alternativas de desenvolvimento rural, ha sido desmontado e agora basicamente representa um frágil cesar-fogo.

A implementação do acordo de paz, apoiado e financiado em parte pelo governo estado-unidense e suas instituiçõess como a Agencia para Desenvolvimento Internacional (USAID) e o Instituto de Paz (USIP), parece cheia de contradições. Isso esconde muito da ainda-dominante abordagem da securitização que acontece nos territorios. Enquanto o acordo de paz prometía fundos para as comunidades poderem transicionar pro caminho a produção de cultivos agriculturais e para a implementação dos Planos de Desenvolvimento com Enfoque Territorial (PDETs), as comunidades em troca estão sendo desalojadas de suas terras por causa de ataques violentos e fumigação pelas forças armadas da Colombia.

No dia 28 de maio, o governo americano anunciou o desdobramento de 45-50 soldados da Brigada de Assistencia as Forças de Seguridade (SFAB), parte do SOUTHCOM, para “ajudar os aliados dos Estados Unidos, em termos de necesidades operacionais e institucionais relacionados com seguridade e defesa nas areas chamadas Zonas Futuro. Estas sao zonas especiais que o governo declarou abandonadas e por isso, zonas que tendem a ser dominadas por grupos armados e que produzem drogas, e por tanto que facilitam o transporte de drogas pelos corredores de droga na regiao. Os oficiais das operações anti-narcoticos e de coleta de inteligencia chegarao logo nas Zonas Futuro, e tem recebido treinamento na Academia de Treinamento de Assistencia Militar, em Fort Benning, GA, na infame Escola das Americas/Instituto de Seguranca e Cooperacao do Hemisferio Oeste. Esta Escola tem providenciado treinamento para muitos militares e policiais da America Latina, e muitos deles tem desde então cometido masacres contra seu propio povo na Guatemala, El Salvador e outros lugares.

A posição do SOUTHCOM é percebida por Adam Isacson, Diretor do Programa de Supervisão de Defesa do Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), como tendo muito a ver tambem com o bloqueio naval contra o Presidente da Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, acusado pelo governo estado-unidense de narcotrafico em março. Na Colombia, a intenção e apressar a implementação de planos de desenvolvimento, com uma presença pesada de militares desde o começo, o que implica operações ofensivas contra grupos armados localizados nos territorios. Estas operações provavelmente significará intensificada eradicação forçada da coca.

Estas politicas contraditórias (por uma parte, a eradicação gradual, e por outra ‘perdão mas vamos fumigar tudo’) pelos governos da Colombia e Estados Unidos escondem un interese de governança territorial. A exploracao de minerais como ouro e outros, vários megaprojetos hidroeletricos, e a tomada da terra pelo monocultivo para exportação e muito predominante, inclusive nas cinco Zonas Futuro. Estes negocios sao financiados quase completamente pelos bancos e consortiums internacionais, inclusive BlackRock, HSBC, Lloyds, e outros. Neste contexto economico e de militarizacao, e tambem de profundizacao da guerra contra as drogas, líderes sociais sao feitos vítimas pelos atores armados de todo tipo. Eles não são os únicos: jornalistas e defensores de direitos humanos tambem tem sido alvos de operações miltares e de espionagem.

Territorios de Paz em Disputa

A sociedade civil tem insistido em criar espaços de paz com justica social, e atraves de fortes mobilizações e greves nacionais, grupos de campesinos, Afro-Colombianos e indigenas tem conseguido firmar acordos com o governo. Isto tambem inclui a agenda de paz criada pelo grupo rebelde Exercito de Liberacao Nacional- ELN, onde muitos movimentos sociais foram incluídos. No fim, estas negociações foram cesadas pelo presidente Ivan Duque, e o governo não tem cumprido com muitos dos acordos que foram firmados, e isso gera desconfianças.

Muita dessa desconfiança tem a ver com a historia de fracasos do governo na implementação de promesas e de melhoramentos infraestruturais e de ineqidades estruturais na Colombia rural. Estes problemas hoje em dia tem muito a ver com a exploracao laboral em favor de uma economia capitalista predicada na exportacao de comida e materia prima para as naçõs ricas, mas tambem tem a ver com o pesado extrativismo por minerais. De acordo com uma líder campesina do departamento de Cauca, as ameaças e assasinatos de tantos lideres sociais (34 só neste ano, ate Junho em Cauca) tem a ver com a dominação territorial:

“Esas são áreas que nós chamamos territorios de paz, onde juntos nós construimos nosas garantias e nossas soberanias. O objetivo de atores armados e decimar a cultura ancestral e acabar com toda forma de pensamento livre. O impacto da militarização e assasinatos direcionados em tempos onde as pessoas tem que ficar em casa por causa do COVID-19, e que isso rompe a base social, avançando assim a destruição da democracia, e ameaçando a perda de Cauca como territorio de paz” (M.S., lider campesina, falando em um webinar no dia 11 de junho,  2020, Geografia Unicauca, Facebook).

As organizacções comunitárias como o Movimento de Mulheres pela Vida (MoMuVic) em Cajibio, Cauca tem vindo concebendo destes territories de paz já por algum tempo. O MoMuVic é uma organização que emerge desde a mobilizaçã de mulheres que perderam os filhos em massacres cometidos por paramilitares e pelo estado que ocorreram em meio de conflito civil no começo dos anos 2000 na regiao. Elas se organizaram inicialmente ao redor de direitos humanos, mas sempre com a intenção de ficar em suas terras e territórios, e lutar pelos direitos á terra, autonomia, saúde, moradia, e soberania alimentária. Hoje o movimento está composto por mais de 100 mulheres de diferentes veredas (vizinhanças), que produzem adubo orgânico, milho, feijâo e outras verduras e ervas.

“A gente ve agora a necesidade de intensificar a produção de comida nas veredas, mesmo como um meio de estabelecer uma mais firme posição no nosso territorio. A assistencia técnica e maquinária que foi prometida como parte das negociações do PDET nâo tem chegado á nos. Temos muitas preocupações pela nossa subsistencia econômica e acesso á comida; temos limites por que estamos vendo que a terra aqui está ficando acidica, por causa das grandes plantações de eucalipto e pinho para exportação que nos rodeia aqui” (Y.G. 3 Abril 2020, entrevista)

Neste tempo de restrições com a quarentena, as pessoas no campo procuram comida que não podem produzir na terra, nas tendas familiares, geralmente de propriedade de gente conhecida. Uma das maiores dificuldades e que tem sido os bloqueios nas estradas, por parte de grupos armados como ELN ou disidentes da FARC que tem decidido voltar á luta armada.. Elxs controlam saídas e entradas, quem pode entrar nas tendas e quem não. Em alguns lugares mais remotos como Putumayo, estes grupos estão repartindo panfletos que anunciam a cobrança de taxas para aqueles que violam as regras, e bloquando o movimento de pessoas sem a permissão da população. As mulheres no campo estão sofrendo com o aumento de abuso domestico durante a Quarentena, e alertam que há um incremento de controle social e violencia sexual durante a quarentena. As mulheres tem se organizado pra checar no bem estar uma das outras e levantar alertas com oficiais locais e guardas campesinas, indigenas e cimarronas da comunidade sobre a necesidade de gerar acontabilidade pelas ações de atores violentos e de parceiros.

Projetos solidários anti-capitalistas

Tentando profundizar no entendimento sobre o trabalho destes coletivos e o que eles fazem ALÉM do que fazem a nível local, podemos comecar a notar que o questionamento do sistema é forte. MoMuVic é uma organização (entre outras) que tem se envolvido na organização a nivel regional e nacional, com varias iniciativas com un angulo e com projetos econômicos e políticos anti-neocoloniais para a nação. Estes almejam negociar um modelo econômico alternativo ao modelo profundamente neoliberal que existe agora, e que tem decimado o meio ambiente, os territorios, e a fabrica social e cultural da região. Elxs insistem na produção, distribuição e consumo alternativos, nascidos desde princípios de soberania alimentárea, solidariedade, e economia local ou própia.

Isto significa liberação dos modelos capitalistas de desenvolvimento que causa destruição, e o repensar de maneiras de construir em cima da sabedoria dos movimentos sociais atraves da America Latina. A construção de novas economias nao e nada facil, ja que as autoridades Colombianas continuam assinando acordos que somente profundizam o ‘dumping’ de produtos produzidos no exterior. Este e o caso das 65 mil toneladas de batatas que chegarão desde a União Europeia logo. A captura de mercados exteriores atraves de tratados de livre comércio e uma das caracteristicas do modelo economico neoliberal, tanto que justifica o fim desta prioridade nacional e as demandas de reestruturação do Sistema desde abaixo, pelas organizaçôes das comunidades.

O fortaleçimento das proteções e guarantias para líderxs sociais é essencial, e estado-unidenses devem insistir nisto, como uma verificação das açoes represivas do seu governo. Solidariedade é talvez ainda mais importante. Como disse o prisoneiro político Julián Gil, numa carta desde a cadeia recentemente, referindose ao apoio logistico, legal, educacional coletivo que tem recebido de grupos como o Comitê de Solidariedade com Presos Politicos: “Estas experiências tem me dado a força necesaria para enfrentar a recente intensificação das contradições (deste sistema).”