From our territories: Unity, struggle and resistance for socialism and peoples´ sovereignty” is the slogan of this 8th Congress. 400 people are participating in it, including Latin American and Caribbean delegates, representatives of La Vía Campesina Romania, Congo, Nepal and North America, in addition to guests and allies from different countries.
Nury Martínez, of Fensuagro (Colombia), member of the Political Commission of CLOC, stated that the Congress is taking place in Cuba “because this country is a beacon of light in Latin America”. CLOC reaffirms the struggle for food sovereignty and integral and popular agrarian reform, knowing that this will not be possible without the unity of the peoples”.
Nury made reference to the tour carried out by delegations and guests on June 27 through different agroecological cooperatives of ANAP in the provinces of La Habana, Artemisa and Mayabeque. These are service and small farmer cooperatives created when lands were distributed to peasants after the passing of the first law on Agrarian Reform by Fidel Castro on May 17, 1959, in Cuba.
“We were able to see what socialism is”, said the Colombian peasant leader, about the experiences of the farms that make up the cooperatives, where the main goal is to produce healthy food for the Cuban people, and even to supply the hotels in the main touristic areas.
Fruits and vegetables produced in an agroecological way are bought by the State to distribute to the rest of the country. They are even thinking about potentially exporting some products, through trade agreements signed by Miguel Díaz Canel´s administration, as part of the strategy to overcome the intensification of the economic blockade imposed by the US towards the island.
The Agrarian Reform in Cuba “eradicated all the ills experienced by peasants” said the head of ANAP, Rafael Santiesteban, when he welcomed the delegations in El Laguito, making reference to the abuses, displacement, hunger, malnutrition and exploitation experienced by peasants before the Revolution.
The agrarian reform law allowed 60 years ago to grant land titles to over 100,000 families and to improve the living conditions of peasants, through health care, building of roads and schools, access to social security, soft credits and pensions.
In addition to expressing their solidarity with Cuba, CLOC will address the strengthening of unity among different organizations and countries, the building of these movements from a peasant and popular point of view, and agrarian reform for food sovereignty, as well as agroecology in the region.
Santiesteban considers CLOC is a “mobilizing social strength that covers the entire continent”. The president of the association of Cuban peasants highlighted that the Declaration on the Rights of Peasants approved in 2018 at the UN is “a fundamental instrument to defend our rights”.