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  • Cauca Valley Indigenous peoples get ready for the National Dialogue in La Delfina, Colombia, March 28, 2019.

    Cauca Valley Indigenous peoples get ready for the National Dialogue in La Delfina, Colombia, March 28, 2019. | Photo: Twitter/ @ONIC_Colombia

Published 28 March 2019

The U'Wa Nation joins the "Social Minga," a nation-wide collective in defense of life, territories and peace.

The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia (ONIC) called on all the country's Indigenous peoples to join the "Social Minga" and participate in the National Dialogue on Friday in La Delfina territory located at the Cauca Valley.

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The Colombian Indigenous, farmers and afro-descendants demand the presence of Colombia's President Ivan Duque in that dialogue as he should provide immediate answers to ensure the communities' safety and to reach effective agreements.

The Colombian Head of State, however, indicated that he will not negotiate with the Indigenous peoples while they block the Cauca's roads, a protest measure that began more than 15 days ago.

Despite governmental threats, the ONIC announced that it will continue with mobilizations to sensitize the whole nation. From the Putumayo, Nariño and Choc departments, the Indigenous families are already moving towards the Cauca region to join the protest for the defense of life, territories and peace.

Weeks before, the Indigenous leaders denounced the Duque Administration over its treatment of social protest as if it were an act of war, a policy which has already generated human rights violations and police repression with firearms.

"Indigenous peoples pay posthumous homage to Jhonatan Landines, a Univalle college student, who died in an explosion at the Cauca Valley. "Jhonatan Landines lives because solidarity is the tenderness of the people. Strength, strength, we are seeds!"

The U'Wa Traditional Authorities and Councils Association (AsoU'Wa) also announced Thursday that it joins the nation-wide collective action, "la minga", which has been carried out by the Colombian Indigenous peoples.

"This Indigenous minga will make it possible to render our demands more visible to the President Duque administration," the AsoU'Wa said and requested "the unconditional withdrawal of those extractive projects which are being deployed within our ancestral territories because they damage our life and culture."

The U'Wa, which means “the people who think,” is an Indigenous nation who managed to avoid extermination at the hands of the Spanish conquistadors by fleeing into the highland forest mountains and avoiding contact with the outside civilization for decades.

However, due to the political violence that Colombia has experienced since the 1950s', the U'Wa families are harassed by a new wave of colonizers who try to appropriate their lands to develop mining projects or agribusiness.

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