Free Trade Agreements, TPP and Colombian Agriculture

Free Trade Agreements, TPP and Colombian Agriculture – Oscar Gutierraz and Adam Weissman of TradeJustice New York Metro

A Discussion with Oscar Gutierrez, Executive Director of Dignidad Agropecuaria Colombiana (Agrarian Dignities of Colombia) and Adam Weissman of TradeJustice New York Metro
(Simultaneous translation available)

Event by Terraza 7 and Polo Democratico Alternativo New York
@ Terraza 7 on November Saturday 14th, 2015 at 7:00 PM

In 1985, Oscar Gutierrez with Jorge Enrique Robledo and Aurelio Suarez founded the Colombian Coffee Growers Union. Later in 1994, the name changed to Coffee Growers Unity, as a direct opposition to the economic plans of Cesar Gaviria, then President of Colombia.
Towards the late 1990’s, Oscar Gutierrez participated in the National Association for the Agrarian Salvation , which was made up of diverse sectors of national agrarian producers. These farmers were facing financial ruin due to the neoliberal politics of Colombian government through the implementation and subsequent stranglehold of the Free Trade Agreement with the USA, Canada, and Europe.
This struggle headed by the Dignity of Coffee Growers represented a defense of the economic sectors that sustained the country in the last century and that continue to sustain thousands through out the country. In conjunction these sectors joined by dignities of potato, onion, rice, cocoa farmers and dairy producers. This uprising led to two agrarian stoppages in 2013 and 2014. These very powerful massive agrarian strikes, had never before been seen in Colombia and resulted in enormous support across many major Colombian cities and urban areas. These stoppages demonstrated the urgency of examining the crux of the FTA’s (Free Trade Agreement), and the need to defend national agrarian production. It was a direct response to President Santos declaration that “those strikes don’t exist.”
At the same time, agricultural imports flooded Colombia. In 1990’s, 600,000 tons of agricultural products were imported but by 2015, more than 1.2 million tons of agricultural products inundated Colombian market. These imports included potatoes, rice and even coffee. This set-off the Dignified Farmers to defend the sovereignty of their nation’s food production, the traditional seeds and the national agrarian production.
Oscar Gutierrez, then civic director of the Chinchina municipality, coordinated and organized, with the Committee Against –Tolls and valorization. This was an important fight against one of the first concessions asked of the Colombian sector – The Coffee Highway – and a fight the people of Chinchina won resoundedly.

Oscar Gutierrez He was also National Coordinator of the League of Public Services, founder and permanent collaborator of El Usuario newspaper. And one of nine promoters of the Referendum Water is a Fundamental Right.
Oscar held several public offices over the years in Chinchina including General Secretary Mayor Office and Councilmen. He was Deputy of the Department of Caldas and today is the Coordinator of PDA in Caldas. He has been a spokesman for a number of issues such as public services, agrarian questions, and education, health and books of interest for the people of Caldas.

Terraza 7 y POLO democrático NY presentan:

Dialogo con Óscar Gutiérrez, Fundador de Dignidad Cafetera y Director ejecutivo de Dignidad Agropecuaria.
(Simultaneous translation available)

Óscar Gutiérrez Reyes es coordinador del PDA, Departamento de Caldas.
En 1985 fundo con Jorge Enrique Robledo y Aurelio Suarez al Unión Cafetera Colombiana que en 1994 se convirtió en la Unidad Cafetera como una férrea oposición a la apertura económica de Cesar Gaviria.

A final de los 90 participo en la organización de la Asociación Nacional de Salvación Agropecuaria, movimiento que unió a los cafeteros de la Unidad Cafetera con los Arroceros del Tolima, el Huila y los Llanos para oponerse a los TLC´s

Su lucha contra el TLC fue la misma que abandero el Movimiento por la defensa y dignidad de los Cafeteros, DIGNIDAD CAFETERA, que en el 2013 protesta por la elevación de los insumos y la falta de políticas publicas para los pequeños productores. Meses después se unen los paperos, lecheros y cebolleros que fueron los motores del gran paro agrario de Septiembre de 2013 que paralizó al país después que el presidente Juan Manuel Santos dijera que “el tal paro no existe”

Secretario General de la Alcaldía y Concejal de Chinchiná durante varios períodos. Diputado de Caldas entre 2001 y 2007. Como dirigente cívico del municipio de Chinchiná, coordinó y organizó, junto al Comité Anti-peajes y valorización, la importante lucha contra una de las primeras concesiones viales -Autopistas del Café-, en la que el pueblo chinchinéense alcanzó un resonante triunfo. Coordinador Nacional de las Ligas de Usuarios de Servicios Públicos y fundador y colaborador permanente del periódico El Usuario. Miembro del equipo coordinador de la Unión Nacional de Usuarios y Defensores de los Servicios Públicos. Uno de los nueve promotores del Referendo El Agua un Derecho Fundamental. Autor del libro “Quehaceres Revolucionarios”. Articulista en temas como servicios públicos, asuntos agrarios, educación, salud y textos de interés para los caldenses.

Óscar Gutiérrez, Fundador de Dignidad Cafetera y Director Dignidad Agropecuaria
At Terraza 7 on Saturday November 14th at 7pm

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