El Campo, other entities, other demands

El Campo, other entities, other demands

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By Darío Aranda

Since March, it seemed that "the field" was heard. Its current symbol is transgenic soy

Since March, it seemed that "the field" was heard. Its current symbol is transgenic soybeans, which have devastated forests, displaced communities, polluted soils, and increased food prices in the domestic market. The advance of the soybean model, initiated during the Menemism and accentuated in this decade, means a green and polluted desert, without farmers and cities saturated with families expelled from rural areas ”, they remarked from the MNCI, and they affirm that the main problem, not debated in Congress, it is the agricultural model.

In the last four months, where four employers' organizations in the sector proclaimed themselves "the field," two central actors were systematically omitted. There are 280,000 large families from native peoples and 220,000 peasant families, a population estimated at three million people. They do not produce soy or subscribe to agribusiness. They grow food, raise animals for self-consumption and have a special relationship with the land because they do not consider it a means for business: they understand themselves as part of it, their culture, their history and a common good of the next generations. Indigenous peoples and peasantry were pioneers in denouncing the soybeanization and the shifting of the agricultural frontier a decade ago, but no government took note. At present they warn of looting and mining contamination, they put the body to the bulldozers, they reject the dams that flood ancestral lands, they confront businessmen who prey on their fields and suffer from the poisoning of pesticides. Far from the high profitability of agribusiness, visited by grassroots organizations in the Argentine countryside, a heterogeneous, diverse and atomized sector, but with rich histories of work, resistance and struggles.

Organization roots

At the end of the 1940s, Catholic Action created in Salta, Mendoza and Buenos Aires a space for young people to evangelize rural areas. It was the germ of what in 1958 would be the Rural Movement of Catholic Action. Led by technicians and university students, he had a purely welfare work. But the papacy of John XXIII, the Second Vatican Council and the Medellin Conference, where liberation theology ends to take shape, transformed the Rural Movement into a space for promotion and demands. In the mid-1960s, with a presence in ten provinces and 300 organized groups, the leadership was assumed by peasants. With the influence of the Latin American context, the lines of work changed: the struggle for land, the exploitation of rural workers, the causes of poverty and the need for profound change.

The Rural Movement became strong in Cuyo, the NOA and the NEA. In Chaco, and as a result of a conflict with the price of cotton, a large peasant congress was held in Sáenz Peña, the second most important city and agricultural engine in the region. It was on November 14, 1970, when the Chaco Agrarian Leagues were born, a new space that action and representation of the peasants. Despite the obstacles imposed by the Agrarian Federation, which observed how organizations that truly fought for peasant interests were being developed, in the early years of that decade the Agrarian Leagues of Corrientes and Formosa were formed, and the Agrarian Movement was created. de Misiones (MAM).

“In Salta, Jujuy, Tucumán, La Rioja, Catamarca, and Mendoza, rural workers' unions, labor cooperatives and an intense struggle for agrarian reform developed. Assemblies and mobilizations followed one another with up to 5,000 peasant colleagues, rural unions and miners, supported by the marginal neighborhoods. Rural leaders were formed through popular education, managing to spread the organization throughout the region, ”explains Rafael Sifré, a collaborator of Bishop Enrique Angelelli, a reference for the Catholic Rural Movement and a historic peasant activist.

The entire process of organization and struggles began to be repressed with the third Perón government, with intimidation, persecution, kidnapping and disappearances, which continued with the military dictatorship. The leaders of the Leagues, the MAM, cooperatives and rural unions were persecuted, tortured and murdered. And the organizations totally disjointed.

New struggles

Santiago del Estero heads the list for clearing: 515 thousand hectares in the last four years, according to data from the Ministry of the Environment. Province synonymous with quebrachales, mountains and families dedicated to small agricultural production, was one of the first to know, from the hand of soybeans, the technical term "advance of the agricultural frontier." The fields began to be claimed, with deeds of doubtful origin, by businessmen and the new model of "development" began to evict, by force of bulldozers and weapons, ancestral inhabitants. At the same time, the organization began: churches, NGOs and grassroots communities, which were already articulating spaces, made official on August 4, 1990 the formal birth of the Santiago del Estero Peasant Movement (Mocase).

“El Mocase was born from Christian, anarchist, indigenous and Creole roots. It collects feelings, the history and memory that remains latent in the hearts of the peasants, dignity, a feeling of freedom, the need to bond with others and not allow some to dominate others. There were also present traces kept in old men and women of the mountain, the miscegenation, peoples of much struggle and resistance ”, explains Angel Strapazzón, one of the historical references.

The creation of Mocase was a break in the rural situation of Santiago. Ten thousand organized families began to stop bulldozers, confront private guards, and became a social actor who challenged businessmen, the judiciary and the political power. And they were erected as a reference for organizations from other provinces. In 2001 it suffered a split, caused by differences in how decisions were made.

One sector - linked to the Social Agricultural Program (PSA) - elected president, secretary and a vertical structure. It remained in alliance with the PSA and was part of the Agrarian Federation. The Juríes power station was then close to the provincial intervention and was part of Luis D’Elía’s Land and Housing Federation (FTV). At present, it is part of the National Peasant Front (FNC).

The other sector opted for horizontality and assembly decisions. Some time later, he joined the Latin American Coordinator of Rural Organizations (CLOC) and the Via Campesina, an international space that brings together peasants and indigenous people from 56 countries. The Mocase-Via Campesina is made up of six centrals and 9000 families. After the vote in Congress, they were flat: “Country families suffer more and more attempts at evictions, detentions and criminalization. With or without retentions, the repression will continue, the fumigations that poison us will be the order of the day and we will continue in the fight, because there is no intention to disarm the agribusiness model, nor distribution of land or questioning of the current use of the land . The discussion is between businessmen from the countryside and politicians of double discourse ”.

Financial, oil and mining companies

Patagonia continues to be a space for organization and resistance of the Mapuche-Tehuelche people. Away from the soy problem, they face a hundred territorial conflicts and the counterparts are diverse, the State (national, provincial and municipal), ranchers, tourist entrepreneurs, hydrocarbon and mining companies. There is a great diversity of organizations and communities, and the representativeness of each actor is very subjective, but in each province there are communities recognized for being at the forefront of conflicts.

In western Chubut, the Mapuche-Tehuelche 11 de Octubre organization is a benchmark. Mauro Millán, spokesman for the community, has no doubt. “It is a conflict over money and power, there is not even an ideological discussion, they all understand the land as a commodity, and they fight to see who gets the most of it. The four entities are totally opposed to our ideology, with a historical background that has not yet been settled, where there was the usurpation and disappearance of a large part of our people. We do not forget this crime ", remarks Millán, who also attacks the other part of the interdict:" The Government does not have a real policy to change the reality of those most in need, and much less for indigenous peoples. "

In Neuquén, the concentration of land is accentuated and generates clashes with Mapuche and peasant communities against businessmen or large landowners. As shown in a study by the Mesa Campesina del Norte Neuquino, it is detailed that ten percent of the largest agricultural holdings in the province concentrate 92 percent of the productive lands, while 60 percent of the smallest producers represent only 0.6 percent of the provincial surface.

In Río Negro, the Indigenous Advisory Council (CAI) recognizes that it is a mere spectator of an interdict where indigenous peoples should be present. Chacho Liempe, from the CAI, recalls that a large number of families that today occupy small portions of the countryside in the plateaus and steppe of Río Negro, Neuquén and Chubut inhabited the south of Córdoba, La Pampa and Buenos Aires, “they were massacred in the same lands that today are used for soy monoculture. The territory that was the space of the life of our people is the current scene of the robbery of the ‘countryside’ ”.

Land and water for the few

Mendoza is well known for its wines and its tourist attractions. Their indigenous and peasant reality is not so widespread: 60 percent of the rural population is below the poverty line, 22.6 percent is indigent and 66 percent of the jobs are precarious. All according to the official survey "Living conditions of rural households", of the Directorate of Economic Studies and Research (DEIE). Although soybeans are not grown, in recent years it has also been added to the provinces where businessmen promote evictions of communities with ancestral rights. With almost 5,000 families with twenty-year-old possession, according to a survey by the Union of Landless Rural Workers (UST), there are conflicts in the north of the province and evictions are multiplying in the south.

"The current exchange rate, the‘ soy boom ’and forestry companies have displaced livestock from the Litoral and La Pampa to this province. The companies, where the mining companies are also, try by all means to appropriate land and water, buying, forging titles, usurping, and promising progress that are lies ”, explain the Landless of Mendoza.

In the report "A land for all", of the Argentine Episcopal Conference of 2006, it is noted that Mendoza is the main province in concentration of land: ten percent of agricultural holdings monopolize 96 percent of the provincial land. Added to this is that, according to the 2002 National Agricultural Census, 50 percent of the properties with “irrigation rights” are abandoned or unproductive. Only three percent of Mendoza's land has “irrigation rights” –water in sufficient quantity to develop agriculture–, legislated by a provincial law of 1884, when it was determined which areas would have water: those belonging to the large owners of the time. In 124 years, that norm, and that irrigation zone, were not modified. It is considered, by rural organizations, the most retrograde water law in the country.

Native peoples and peasantry

In the mid-'90s, a score of institutions began to articulate in the Family Producers Table. Ten years of joint work, discussions, consensus, divisions and agreements led to the formation of the National Indigenous Peasant Movement (MNCI), made up of fifteen thousand families from seven provinces. "Comprehensive agrarian reform and food sovereignty, which is the possibility that the country has its own food project and not that the multinationals impose what should be produced", explain as principles of the Movement, members of the Latin American Coordinator of Rural Organizations (CLOC ) and the Via Campesina.

“The so-called‘ field entities ’only pronounce the dictates of agribusiness. The advance of the soybean model, initiated during the Menemism and accentuated in this decade, means a green and polluted desert, without farmers and cities saturated with families expelled from rural areas ”, they remarked from the MNCI, and they affirm that the main problem, not debated in Congress, it is the agricultural model.

On April 17, the National Peasant Front (FNC) was formed, made up of the Mocase-Juríes and the agrarian movements of Misiones (MAM), Formosa (Mocafor) and Jujuy (Mocaju). They supported the retentions and were received at the Government House by Alberto Fernández. They also speak of agrarian reform and food sovereignty, express their intention to have representatives in the new (and still headless) Undersecretariat of Family Agriculture. Enrique Peczak, historical reference of the MAM, has already been appointed president of the Council of the Research Center for Small Family Farming (Cipaf), of INTA.

On June 24, in Rosario, the National Peasant Indigenous Movement, the National Peasant Front and another fifty organizations converged. They formed the National Coordinating Table, a broad and diverse articulation space, to fight for the rights of family producers and indigenous peoples. They questioned the four traditional entities, demanded participation in sector policies, immediate suspension of evictions, and democratization of natural resources. The brand new Coordinating Board, complex, still weak and heterogeneous, aims to be a real space for articulation of a large sector, the base of the rural pyramid, punished by the four traditional entities and forgotten by the Government.

Jump: clearing and water for few

Between 2002 and 2006, 415 thousand hectares of native forest ceased to exist in Salta, an index of clearing that exceeds the world average, according to data from the Ministry of the Environment, which also recognizes soy as the cause of this disease. The conflicts in the lands surrounding National Route 86, in the north of the province, stand out, historical disputes with sugar mills (the San Martín, of the Seabord Corporation is the most resonant) and, in the south of the province, disputes occur with large farms ( mostly winemakers) who acquire tracts of land with historical occupants inside and manage the water unilaterally. The organization Encuentro Calchaquí warns the advance of another evil: more than forty mining prospects for gold, silver, copper and lead.

Jujuy: industries contrary to indigenous

With a large presence of the Kolla and Guaraní people, in addition to the dispute over land, the mining activity (Pirquitas, Minera Aguilar and Orosmayo deposit) and conflicts with tourist entrepreneurs in the Humahuaca area stand out. “The provincial government encourages four productive poles: the sugar and tobacco industry, tourism and mining. All of them threaten our territories and our way of life ”, explained Ariel Méndez, from Red Puna. In the recent conflict, they pointed towards both sides: “We repudiate the policies of exclusion and looting of the territories in which we live; policies promoted by economic groups that have the governments of the day as accomplices ”.

Cordova: FAA and its other face

"The deep countryside demands land, that the environment and water are no longer destroyed, and it demands policies to stop the exodus to the cities. And all this does not depend on withholdings, it depends on real policies that no government promotes, ”says the Peasant Movement of Córdoba (MCC), strong in the northern province. Their sorrows go through the pesticides that poison community gardens, animals and families, the evictions and the lack of water. They denounce the silent and silenced role of the Agrarian Federation. “The FAA does not say that its affiliates, with the complicity of the political and legal system, evict farmers. And let's be honest that these producers do not harvest food for the benefit of the people, they produce fodder for speculation in the foreign market. "

Chaco: deforestation, soy and death

Historic cotton province, with an indigenous and peasant population, the agribusiness model had a cost: it lost half of its public lands (1.7 million hectares), the concentration of fields increased, it suffered the massive transfer of the rural population to areas urban areas and became daily news due to the death of the indigenous population. There are a hundred indigenous communities, the vast majority saw the "conflict in the countryside" as an alien fight, with enemies on both sides and the agrarian model as the cause of their ills. A similar view is provided by the 29 peasant organizations that form the Provincial Table of Small Producers, which brings together 4,500 smallholder families. "These four employers do not represent us, but neither did the Government, which has failed us, abandoned us," explains Angel Machuca, a benchmark for the Board and president of the Union of Small Producers of Chaco (Unpeproch).

Missions: pines, dams and tourism

Successive missionary governments promoted three activities that clash with indigenous and peasant communities. Pulp mills, tourist ventures that advance over ancestral territories and dams. In the province they do not grow soybeans, but from the hand of the pastoralists came the monoculture of pine, which has the same impacts as the oilseed: it expels farmers and indigenous people and pollutes with pesticides. Illustrative of land concentration is the case of Papelera Alto Paraná, which owns ten percent of the provincial land. There is a wide map of rural organizations. The most historic, the Misiones Agrarian Movement, hit by the recent conflict: part of its bases are federated and it also has leaders close to the Government. Two other organizations, with different styles but the same component - large families, who plant for subsistence and resist evictions - are the Central Land Commission (CCT) and the Peasant Movement of Misiones (Mocami), both question monoculture, but also the role of government.

Video: Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset (July 2022).


  1. Mazusar

    Not unyvay! Fun!

  2. Gedaliah

    remarkably, the very funny answer

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