The below article is an English translation of an article from the Via Campesina website: Organizaciones Campesinas en ayuno…
Photos by Greg McCain
Farmers organizations and confederations of women and youth, members of CAMPESINA ORGANISATION OF HONDURAS (ARCAH-LVC), HONDURAN CONFEDERATION OF WOMEN FARMERS (CHMC), and other campesino movements, reported this morning to a 48-hour fast demanding the repeal of the Agricultural Modernization Act (of 1992) and the approval of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform for Gender Equality, Food Sovereignty and Social Development Law introduced in Congress on April 9th, 2014 by Rafael Alegría, Representative of the Libre Party.
The peasant movement has decided to introduce a new form of struggle in order for the members of Congress to give start to the debate on the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law therefore they are fasting. According to Alegría, Coordinator of Via Campesina in addition to being a Congressperson of Libre, “These fasts have a religious connotation and of Christian faith, these fasts are to ask God to enlighten the members of Congress to approve the law. We will start with it, but possibly the fasts will move into a hunger strike. The idea is to invite Catholic and evangelical churches, and the Agape Church to join us from early morning. Farmers have said they will, en masse, recover soil for planting. The farmers have called these actions, ‘RUMBLING, RAINING and SEEDING,’ after the clap of thunder and the rain, they will plant.”
The agrarian problem is a structural problem that currently affects the efficiency of the implementation of the few existing government policies. It can be broken down in the following way:
1) Abandonment of the agricultural sector, especially the rural economy
2) Land grabbing
3) Priority on agricultural exports and a marginal role for food production.
4) Concentration of natural resources in a few hands
5) Weakening of and lack of the political will of the government
6) Repression of struggles over land and territories
7) Increasing poverty and inequality in rural areas
8) Repression and criminalization of peasant’s struggles
All these points are framed in this Agrarian Reform bill.
In addition to demanding the speedy adoption of Comprehensive Agrarian Reform, farmers also demand:
The immediate release of political prisoner Jose Isabel Morales, ” Chabelo ” to whom has been violated every right to prove his innocence, sentenced unfairly due to political interests to 17 years in prison in full violation of the Constitution of the Republic.
Cease threats and persecution of peasants, who are in the struggle for land.
Equally, they demand the repeal of the mining law and the removal of hydroelectric projects and mining in the territories; repeal the law that makes effective the Special Development and Employment Zones (ZEDEs) also referred to as “Charter Cities” and resolve the appeal of unconstitutionality filed with the Supreme Court by representatives of organizations of the Social and Grassroots Movement.
Faced with government indifference, the peasant movement has decided to conduct peaceful lobbying such as fasting, marching, land recuperation and posiible hunger strike for the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform with Gender Equity for Food Sovereignty and Rural Development Law to be approved as quickly as possible.