Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Northern Cauca, the Occupied Territory

Then in 1910, Manuel Quintin Lame appeared on the scene, again struggling for the land, this time using a mix of nonviolent political struggle, education, and the laws of the independent Colombian state. Quintin Lame laid the foundations for today's indigenous movement with patient underground organizing over decades, for which he was punished: by the time he died in 1968, he had been in jail 100 times.

A battle between the Colombian social movements and the government is being played out in local spheres all over Colombia. One of the arenas of battle is Cauca, a highly strategic corridor in southwestern Colombia through which the Pan-American highway carries the commerce of the South American continent. The northern zone of Cauca, mountainous and neglected by the state, has long been a stronghold of the FARC. In the valleys and cities, the sugar barons, drug cartels, and ranchers continue to wield their traditional money power, trying to forge alliances with multinational capital for megaprojects to exploit the vast natural resources of the region (Cauca, for example, has tremendous water resources).

The battle for Colombia

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