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(en) PGA latin american process - T. post to caravan99@lists.riseup.net

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 24 Aug 2003 07:17:48 +0200 (CEST)

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Hi everyone, I am writing about the PGA regional conference in Panama. Maybe in a week
the notes of the meeting will be finished. But meanwhile, I would like to
make a small report about it. Please, take this report as my personal
opinion and point of views, to answering some emails i have received. This
is not a formal report. The notes from Movimiento Indigena de Panama (MIP) will come soon.
a) Not going to Cancun. Call for local movilizations.
b) Strengthening the relation among the communities and local process
through tours in the communities by people from communities.
c) Create an emergency committe. One responsable organization for country.

1. The participation from outside of Central America was quite limited for
many reasons. The first one was that we didn't get enough money, and the
one we got, came in the last moment. We are really having problems getting
funds for the Latin American process (also the Asian one. We even had to
delay the Asian conference till January). It is clear that NGOs find PGA
too radical and prefer to support other iniciatives. In the case of the
Netherlands we only got support from Vrankrijk (through a party in their
squat) for the conference. So, I would really like from here to thanks them
and the rest of people and collectives from other european countries that
support this meeting in Panama (and to poke my tongue out at those that
"kindly" rejected it), because the meeting was an important success in the
Latin American PGA process.
It was very important the participation of many of the sailas (tradicional
authority of kunas kumunities) from the kunas and caciques emberas ,
including the "president" of the kuna congress (assambly of all sailas). So
this made possible a really strong process in Panama, where indigenous and
trade unions are amazingly working together now in pga space, with regular
meetings and "future planing".
Of course the second big problem for participation was (and still is) the
And other important one was (like always) that most of the international
delegates were men, though this was a issue discussed before hand.
The meeting took place in an embera community.

2. Necessity of PGA space. This was already discussed in Quito last year.
It is clear that in Latin America the Social Forum is "the" political valid
space. All the big Latin American networks, coordinations and the biggest
organizations attend or are part of the Social Forum. There are also many
other political space (at the end are also participating in the SF) as
COMPA, the coordination campaing against FTAA, Via Campesina... So the
disscusion is whether then it is needed other space and if it is so,
whether PGA is that space or not. The answer to this was that it is clear
the necesity of a radical space. The Social Forum, the mesoamerican forum,
... are completely dominated by NGOs and political parties in the decision
making, media ascess, final declarations, etc. So, it was identify the
necesity of creating a political process from the bases with a clear and
radical political line. A space for only social movements, were NGOs could
only be simple observers. And the hallmarks of pga are exactly that radical
political line.

3. Annalising the problems in the pga latinamerica. There was a big list of
problems, that I would summarize in the four I consider more relevant.

a) I think one of the most important problems that we idendify in the
process was the fact that PGA was stablished there more "up to down". The
information and the process was not getting down into the communities. It
was a process created in meetings by the leaders of the organizations. This
is by itself a wrong way to start a grassroot process. But also when the
delegate sent to those meetings changed, the entire discussion on the hall
mark and principles had almost to start again. Decisions on the process
were many times taken by convenors in movilizations like Praga or meetings
in Europe. Only a couple of those organizations really got down the
informations to their bases. There are organizations working in the process
from 96 that every time they change the delegate you have a big discussion
about "what is pga" or a big disagrement for "not being an organization
with a central secretariat" (tradicional old leftist organization) or
trying to get the process to "get power in the goverments". In this meeting
there was even a man (Marcial Arias, an indigenous man very known in the
indigenous NGO movement and UN indigenous commision working group),
defending strongly "religous fundamentalist" specially regarding to gender.

b) Other issue was the necessity of regionalise pga. It was clear that it
was a strong feeling, specially after Cochabamba, that Europeans were
imposing their political reality and way to work.

c) Communication. Clearly internet it is not the best tool to communicate
in a rural space. The pga list is fine for putting information, but it can
not be for the moment a tool of coordination. But telephone is of course
too expensive.

d) Other nice issue that it was not so much discuss this time, because it
was not the situation in this meeting, it is also the differents among
urban radical collectives from big towns and rural processes and

3. Political process. Solving problems.
The idea is now to work from the bases, from the communities, creating
political process through exchange information and experinece of
alternatives and problems, movilizations, direct actions and civil

a) To create the process from "down to up", tours will be organazed through
communities with people from other communities. The first ones will be in
Central America. In middle september two people from indigenous communities
from Colombia, one from Costa Rica and probably one from the Emberas from
Panama will make a tour through Kuna Yala (indigenous kuna territory on the
Panama Republic, consisting in islands in the Caribean. They have one of
the best autonomys on territory aspect in Latin America) and Talamanca in
Costa Rica. Other one will be organized through Guatemala and Honduras by
Las Coordinadoras of Chiapas, also with people from Colombia and Panama.
And so on.
Through these tours the idea is bringing information to the communities and
create a link among them, without mediators. In a first fase a special
effor is being put for strenghening the indigenous movement. Information
on the situation in other communities and countries, exchange experiences
in alternatives, educational projects, etc. and planing and coordinating
movilizations and actions. These movilization would be with the local
reivindication linking them with the structural and global issues. Trying
to make a step from concrete reivindication to a political movement.
When people start to know each other realities and trust each other the
communication will be easier and more effective.

b) Gender. It was clear that a bigger effor has to be done. Not only the
international delegates were mainly men, but the gender issue was not
enough brought out in the general disscusion. In the case of indigenous,
unfortunately the women leaders that we expected, could not come and the
"north" women that went there, we are not legitimeze because of being
"white" and we were a desaster. Unfortunately in the gender workshop
(process called in Latin America Nor Men Nor Women but just the Opposite),
two "north" women (europe and usa) were completely taking over the
discussion, and saying things like "feminist" are only women who hate men,
or mistaking sex and sexuality (feminist for example is something, like the
world gender, that comunity women don't use or understand. Many times they
don't speak even spanish). A big desaster since the workshop it was
supposed to be really basic in a basic language and methodology. The
eternal problem.
The masculinity one it was quite better and even when the meeting was full
of big machos, the results were quite good. Already since I arrived in
Amsterdam, I received questions from some men asking for local support in
the formation in the issue. The problem that we are dealing with is the
necessity of "formators". I mean, men who can give workshops and formation
in masculinity in rural communities. For the moment there is only one, and
of course he can not be everywhere. There were a couple of men that want to
be trained to became formators, but for the time being, we really are
lacking of ways to do this training in permanent bases.
In the general disscussion, as I told above, because of most of the time
the absence of indigenous feminist leaders, men as Marcial Arias could make
his speech "on tradicion", imposition of wrong ideas by european white
feminist and so on. But I think that anyway, as I said, at the end was
quite positive.
It was also a very amazing thing that the "cacique" (tradicional authority
of the comunity) of the embera community where the meeting took place, was
a young woman who has being trainned in some feminist issues, and who was
very interested in the gender process of pga.
In October, "our formators" will go to Panama to give a local workshops to
indigenous organizations in masculinity and feminist.

c) Convenors. There was not a real discussion about it. I think that
firstable because of the priority of the discussion about "what is pga" and
how we go on. But also I think because in the process that we were
speaking about it was not space or necesity for convenors. The process is
still in the very begginning, and it was a kind of feeling for "slow steps"
in "dry land". Instead of the classic convenors, there are organizations
for "coordinating" countries or even only one part of the country. So
CONFEUNASSC is the one in Ecuador, Confederacion Campesina del Peru (CCP)
in Peru, and so on. These organizations will be also the ones (till I
remember) being part of the "emergency group". Also the coordination will
depends on project and action. PGA was define as somehing alive, it exists
if there is projects or action. It is not an structure or a "name".
Other thing it was that till the moment only a small part of the Latin
American convenors had been done their "job". So it was also quite clear
that that structure was not working in Latin America.

d) Cancun. Clearly movilizations are one of the most important part of all
this process, even I would say the most important one. A good target would
be to stop the entire continent against the implementation of the FTAA at
the end of 2004. But it is clear that going to Cancun it is too expensive
and it will not make any big step in the process. It would be very more
effective to movilize in every country, making real the situation for local
people, closer, easier to understand what this is all about, strenghening
local networking and resistance, having a better and strong possition
against local goverments...
Part of the organizations which participate in the pga space will be in
Cancun as part of the other process or networking where they are also
taking part, like Via Campesina. But as they say, you can send two
delegates there in some NGO pay the tickets and the accomodation, but you
can close the borders in your own country, and you should focus in that.

e) Social Forum. There was the decision of supporting the paralell meeting
( PME II: Peoples Movements Encounters II will take
place in Mumbai.) to the Social Forum that the social movements are
organizing in Mumbai in India.

f) Andean Peasant Forum. A forum in Peru will be organized in October by
Confederacion Campesina del Peru. This is the peasant Andean forum of CLOC
(Latin American Coordination of Peasant Organizations). The idea is that
PGA has an evaluation about how the process is going till that moment,
including an evaluation about the descentralize movilizations against the
ministerial conference of WTO. It is being disscused to include the gender
work of Neither Men Nor Women, Just the Opposite (genders workshops that
normally is organized in the Latin American meetings) the days before of
the meeting started. Unfortunally these workshops can not be attended by
all delegates, since the groups have to be small to be able to be effected.
The idea is that the "most involved" organizations in PGA will arrive three
days before to attend these workshop, (This would incluse the entire
delegation on Central America.)
Then it was decided to accept the invitation of CCP and a delegation of
Central America will to attend this meeting. Not only farmers, but trade
unions and indigenous as pga delegation. And we hope that this time gender
balance will be respected.
This meeting will be quite important in the process. It is clear that
even when the tours are the most important part of the entire process,
meeting to disscuss all together for evaluation and decision making process
are still necesary. And also making new contacts and have a space to
disscuss and grow with new organizations.
it is also being disscussed the possibility of making a tour through
communities in Peru and Ecuador by the delegations of Central America.
Specially to link with the last conference organized by Tinku in Cuzco. Of
course, all of this is depending mainly in funds for travel. The
communities would take care of food and accomodation in all the tours I has
been spoken about.

g) Mesoamerican Foro, Foro against water privatizations and dams,
Biodiversity week in Honduras. These three foros took place in La Esperanza
and Tegucigualpa, Honduras, just after the meeting in Panama. Then it was
decided than a "delegation of PGA" would be there to do contacts. It was
clear that those foros, as the Social Forum, would be dominated by NGOs and
the political positions quite soft. And well, the expectations were full
filled. The forum was a shit, but many good contacts were done. The NGOs
had paid tickets for some leaders from grassroot movements from Central
America. And these people got in love with the principels of pga. They
agreed completely in the decision of Panama and well, I think it was quite
important the work done in Honduras.

As a conclusion I would say that the process of pga latinamerica is really
going on. It has changed. Clearly it is a beginning, and we will see how it
is consolidate and how will "live together" with urban process like the pga
Again sorry for spelling and expresion mistakes in English. I hope that I
haven't been too caotic in the explanation and that more at least the text
is something understandable.


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