Declaration By The Native Indigenous People, African Descendants And Popular Organizations Of Latin America

The crisis that COVID-19 has caused globally presents us with a crossroads for the peoples of Abya Yala – Latin America. Popular organizations are the first line of resistance against the worst expressions of the decomposing system.

We are going through a deep crisis that threatens life in all its forms. COVID-19 became a pandemic at a time of deepening of the capitalist crisis and of repeated attempts by the economic power against the working class to carry on its back with the recomposition of the decreasing rate of business profit;

This crisis comes together with the weakening of health systems, the deterioration of living conditions and the dispossession of the public as a result of the neoliberal wave. The suffocation to which the external debt, the international organizations and the permanent oppression of imperialism against our sovereignty, shapes a scenario that anticipates serious consequences.

In an America where we refuse to accept structural adjustments and the imposing of new imperialist policies, and where our people have embodied important popular uprisings in recent months, the pandemic has become an excuse to legitimize the presence of the armed forces in our territories and implement adjustment measures and the deterioration of the conditions of existence of the working class.

Furthermore, this crisis once again highlighted the brutality of patriarchal violence against women and sexual dissent, as well as the historical exclusion of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples exposed to facing the pandemic in conditions of extreme vulnerability.

We are the organizations of the people, workers, peasants, of native inhabitants, feminists, Afro-descendants, grass-root combatants, of the barrios, which are putting the body, mind, and heart in developing immediate responses, but also to project a way out of this crisis that is not a return to the savage capitalist normality, but a path towards a different society.

This will be possible if we take the best of ourselves as people, the community ties and popular, territorial and regional unity that we nurture during this battle will be part of the fabric that builds the horizons of transformation in Abya Yala.

In the absence of dignified housing, we occupied territories and built houses; In the absence of work, we organize cooperatives, recover factories and face closings, layoffs and suspensions; In the face of the bosses’ attack, we fight for better working conditions through strikes; in the absence of education we create schools; In the face of oppression to women and dissent we build popular feminisms; In the face of exploitation, we build grassroots union organization and fight against precariousness and for living wages up to the last consequences;

Against hunger we build soup kitchens and eating zones; In the face of the climate crisis we develop agroecology; In the face of monoculture and food monopoly, we build peasant agrifood territories to guarantee food sovereignty and autonomy; In the face of militarization, paramilitaries, and drug trafficking, we substitute crops and fight against state violence. Our alternative is life against those who propose death to us.

Faced with the policy of closed borders and fragmentation, and against the xenophobia and neofascism that they propose from above, we return to the horizon of continental solidarity and the unity of peoples.

Faced with the policies of the capitalists, to use the crisis as a lining for adjustment, let us deepen and rethink our historical struggles for the defense of the territories, life and the socialization of wealth, let us build popular and community power.

Based on all these facts, we demand from governments and we call on all people to:

1. Prioritize life over debt. No to the payment of the external debt, exhaustive investigation and waiver of it. It is criminal that funds are taken from the health and social rights, for paying the obligations with the IMF and other creditors. Health and social protection systems to deal with the pandemic are the priority. We need to recover our strategic wealth and the management of banks and foreign trade, a permanent source of economic bleeding for Latin American countries. Only a policy of economic sovereignty, with the advance of popular power, can alleviate the economic and world crisis that we are beginning to experience.

2. Combat inequalities. Impose special taxation on the wealthy, on the profits of banks and large companies, on those who fled with our capital. That the governments assume the role of eliminating the inequalities promoted by the market, that the necessary investments in emergency policies are financed by facing the concentration of wealth, not by lowering wages to the workers. Reorient the production lines of large companies for the generation of supplies destined to fight the coronavirus, as well as the diseases that we bear without State attention such as malnutrition, dengue, Chagas and tuberculosis.

3. Urgent strengthening of the public health systems, nationalization of private health and strengthening of pandemic containment measures by the States. The pandemic verifies the need for everyone to receive universal health care, strengthening the public promotion of these services. That the States take control of the production and administration of all the necessary inputs to face the crisis with the participation and control of the workers. Elimination of the patent system on medicines to fully develop scientific research and application to solve human problems, and recognition of original and ancestral medicine.

4. Guaranteed universal income for all, the prohibition of layoffs and suspensions. It is essential to recognize the rights of workers to live a dignified quarantine. That this emergency is not the excuse to continue advancing in the precariousness of work. No to the closure of companies, State support for their occupation and recovery by the workers.

5. Housing and decent habitat as a social right. The quarantine can only be done under a roof with guaranteed basic services and in a healthy neighborhood. It is necessary to suspend evictions, rent and service payments; Habitat policies should be directed towards a comprehensive urban reform that guarantees access to housing in decent neighborhoods for all working families. Universal access to water, electricity, and gas, and urbanization of popular neighborhoods: there is no fight against the pandemic without everyone having access to clean water, gas, and access to electricity in the home, neighborhood or community. Neither houses without people, nor people without houses. Requisition of empty properties for the street population and popular shelters.

6. Combat hunger and guarantee universal food supply. Prioritize financing and the role of cooperative, community and agroecological family agriculture in providing food for the people, popular eating halls and community kitchens: it is necessary to advance in promoting access to food, as a way to boost the economy and not cause a supply crisis. Guarantee a basic food basket with regulated prices and tax-exempt. Demand sanctions for speculation with prices, the hoarding of supermarkets and intermediaries. Waiver of peasant debts, the redistribution of productive land and implementation of protection systems and agro-ecological colonies with State financing.

7. Against the commodification of nature. We need to recover sovereignty over our common goods such as water, gas, oil, land, strategic wealth that is usurped by economic octopuses with the complicity of governments and the local bourgeoisie. Full respect for the territories of native peoples and rethinking of the economic and extractive model. The exploitation of natural resources must respect mother earth as well as the peoples that inhabit it.

8. Strengthening of the sanitary fence and humanitarian assistance with the guarantee of the sovereignty of the territories to indigenous and Afro nationalities. Especially to all those whose habitat is in vital ecosystems such as the Amazon, for whom the epidemiological threat may mean ethnocide. Strengthening of self-government and its systems for the territorial and cultural survival of indigenous and Afro peoples. Prohibition of evictions and actions that violate the sovereignty of indigenous peoples.

9. Real policies to face male violence. With social isolation measures, there is a possibility of increasing domestic violence and other forms of violence against women. That for cis and trans women, the expansion of technological platforms to guarantee their use when violence against women is a fact, to prevent and eradicate it. Prevent femicides and transfemicides. Shelters for people in situations of violence, delivery of a special economic subsidy to survivors. Employment and education plans geared toward women and dissent.

10. More prevention, not repression. Many governments have used the context of the Coronavirus to intensify the repressive and vigilant logic and to increase the imprisonment of the poorest, of community leaders, human rights defenders. It is time to reduce the prison population as a public health problem. It is also necessary to revalue grassroots authorities in the community, indigenous and popular guards that take care of the ancestral territories and are being an effective community both in the countryside and in the city.

11. No to imperialist political, economic and military intervention. We categorically reject the use of the crisis as an excuse for military interference in Venezuela by Yankee imperialism and its partners, the permanent assassination of indigenous and popular leaders in Colombia, the fierce repression of the coup regimes in Bolivia and Honduras, Piñera’s anti-popular government in Chile, as well as the expansion of extractive projects in indigenous and peasant territories. We demand that the blockades against Cuba and Venezuela be lifted.

12. Internationalist Humanitarian Aid. We demand that governments request humanitarian aid from Cuba and other countries that have developed technical expertise to deal with the pandemic and that can help contain the Covid-19 outbreak in cities where the pandemic has spread most harshly, such as Guayaquil and Saint Paul.

Against the wealth of few, struggle of the peoples!

For life, not the IMF! How

Latin American peoples fight by saying and doing!

Internationalist solidarity, Now!

Adherence to this declaration:

[email protected]

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