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Letter from peasants and fisnerpeople from social movements and organizations from Africa and South America to the Heads of State and Government at the 2nd Africa-South America (ASA) Summit.
29 September 2009

Sunday 27 September 2009

Social movements and organizations from Africa and South America, gathered during the Encounter of African and South American Peasants and fisherpeople enthusiastically greet the 2nd Africa-South America (ASA) Summit, in Venezuela. We hope that the Heads of State and Government gathered at the Summit agree actions that strengthen cooperation among the peoples of the South. We met in the city of Caracas, Venezuela, on September 21 and 23, 2009, to sketch the historical map of spoilage, exploitation, disdain and marginalization of the peoples of the South, an to share our dreams, our futures. This letter presents the topics we discussed in our encounter. Here, our words.

The peoples of Africa and South America share a common history. We, in South America, consider ourselves the children of mother Africa. We, in Africa, consider ourselves brothers and sisters of Latin Americans. It should not come as a surprise that we might meet our own relatives in our common struggles.

Exploiters, in their greed and hunger for power, brought us together through indecent means.

Exploitation, spoilage, disdain and repression have been common evils over the last 500 years. Perpetrators on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean are the same: “transnational Capitalism.”

Now and before, they have called us savages, ignorant, uncivilized and inhuman: with their Conquest and civilizing wars, they forced us to provide them with vast wealth.

The peoples of the South have never remained silent or still against the powerful Capitalist evil. We always have waged and will wage liberation struggles. Rebelliousness and resistance are part of the common history of the peoples of Africa and South America.

Capitalism wages and strengthens its conquest wars to multiply itself and grow stronger. It keeps on creating new products and conquering new markets to sell and purchase. The balance of the Conquest wars in our territory is as follows:

Water is now a piece of merchandise for capitalists, but it is life for us.

Lands are stolen, exploited, and sold by capitalists, but for us it is our mother. You cannot sell, much less exploit, your mother.

Landscape is tourism and environment destruction for them; for us, it is a sacred place where our ancestors live.

Food sovereignty, migration and culture

Oil, gas, minerals, wood, lands, glaciers, and landscapes are the resources the Capitalism wants from us. Examples are the basins of the Orinoco, Nile, Paraguay, Niger or Amazon Rivers.

Should the powerful capitalist people continue to wage their conquest wars, we shall continue to wage our liberation struggle. We the black men and women and the indigenous people have been the major players in the liberation movements led by Simón Bolívar, Negro Primero, Antonio Conselheiro, Ezequiel Zamora, Nelson Mandela, Gamel Nasser and many other comrades. We do realize that the well-intended laws enacted by the peoples jointly with their progressive and revolutionary governments are not enough. We do know that the well-intended policies implemented by revolutionary, progressive governments in order to solve the problems faced by the oppressed peoples are not enough. We do welcome the laws and policies advocated by socialist, revolutionary and progressive governments. We do know that our leading role in the struggle to restore our legitimate rights is vital. Therefore, we the peasants and fisherpeople suggest struggling for food sovereignty while bearing in mind the following objectives:

One: Eradicating poverty in rural areas.

Two. Fighting social inequality and nature degradation resulting from the structure of ownership and peasant production.

Three: Ensuring labor and fair distribution of revenues for all people.

Four: Ensuring food security for all people by producing quality food and developing local markets.

Five: Guaranteeing the conditions for egalitarian access by peasant women to land, production and any other activity seeking to overcome the historical oppression imposed on women, particularly in rural areas.

Six: Preserving the plant, animal and cultural diversity existing in all the regions of the world, particularly in our African and South American regions.

Seven: Guaranteeing life improvement conditions for all people and access to all and every work opportunities, income, education and recreation, by encouraging people, in particular peasant youth, to stay in rural areas.

Certain fundamental aspects to be taken into account:

- Food cannot be negotiated (turned into a piece of merchandise) in stock

markets. Peoples should have control and sovereignty on food production, commercialization and reserves.

- Countries should give priority to domestic supply production.

- We are against homogenization of food patterns; promoting the rescue of good habits of peoples’ food culture.

- Territorial control. Promoting territorial and endogenous development.

- Promoting a broad agrarian reform that guarantees:

· Access to land by all families who wish to work on it.

· Expropriation of all lands held by foreign companies.

· Expropriation of all large estates that do not fulfill their social function.

- Protection of seeds as humankind heritage. We are against transgenic seeds! We are against patents! We are against agriculture multinationals.

- Creation of new technological models:

· Agro-ecology as a basis for this new technological matrix

· Coexistence with nature and preservation of natural resources. (society)

· Higher agricultural and work productivity.

· A technological model that improves the standard of living in the rural environment.

· Production of healthy food.

- Agro-industry control by small producers. Agro-industry as a tool to add value to production and as a technique for food preservation and transformation. We are against bottom trawling fishing; we advocate for traditional fishing that preserves the environment.

In summary: guarantee measures to improve living conditions in the countryside such as education, health, infrastructure and housing. That is,”decent and peaceful life”. Imperialism wants to guarantee its peace through war; a peace to divide peoples. Imperialism creates artificial nations to the detriment of the self determination of the peoples and their cultures. The imperial war industry has to be maintained active, regardless of its consequences.

Also, there is no possibility of guaranteeing peace when more than half the world population lacks the basic resources to survive. Imperial peace has established the war for food, water and basic resources in the countries of the South. For this reason we say: No to war; yes to life with justice and dignity¡

From all the above, we propose:

That Heads of State strongly condemn the installation of military bases and any other type of military presence of foreign troops in their territory, whether in Africa or South America, as they are trying to do in Ghana with the Africom Program. We call upon the Presidents and Heads of State of the African and South American States to join the roar of the peoples that try to live in dignity within the framework of respect for our cultures, our territory, our right to receive education, health and our right to self determination. The organizations present here strongly reject the coup d’état in Honduras and urge our heads of state and government to also reject it. We demand the free determination of the peoples.

Let our voices not be silenced

Let our steps not be stopped

Let our bonds not be untied

Let our bonds grow stronger

Long life to peasants all over the world!

Long life to fisherpeople all over the world!

Let us globalize our struggle, let us globalize hope!