In Antioquia province, the Peasant’s Association of Antioquia (ACA) was founded as an alliance between marginalized farmer communities to improve their lives and conditions and vindicate their rights to life, land, and to continue farming. The ACA supports communities planning their own return to their lands, focusing on areas where multinational corporations are trying to impose their interests and construct dams, extract primary resources or develop large-scale agricultural projects (e.g. bananas, oil palms). The ACA’s extensive communications team investigates and documents the experiences of rural communities. The videos they produce preserve the historical memory of these places and help others to understand why they were displaced and how they plan and organize their return to their land.
The ACA focuses on three areas:
1) Education: working with leaders and community members to strengthen knowledge about rights to their land and the recovery of memory as a strategy of nonviolent resistance.
2) Production: supporting farmers returning to produce on their lands, working to recuperate traditional and ecological farming techniques, and seeking markets for their products.
3) Cultural: conducting workshops on theater, art, traditions, dance and food, especially with youth. In the past year, ACA has been working with a group of youth from various communities teaching them how to make their own documentaries and tell their own stories of the conflict, their displacement and resistance.
Much of the ACA’s work focuses on supporting peasant farmers to resettle their land and rebuild their community social fabric–collectively they are more effectively organized and work to guarantee the implementation of the new Colombian laws concerning the rights of victims and the restitution of stolen land.
FOR Peace Presence was working closely with the ACA, providing protective accompaniment as they work with communities in the San Francisco region east of Medellin to defend their land from large hydroelectric projects that threaten to flood their land, inhibiting their efforts to continue farming, guarantee their food sovereignty and ability to remain on their land. Additionally, the ACA and communities they work with fear the large corporations investing in these hydroelectric projects will increase the presence of illegal armed actors in the region.