Friday, October 14, 2011. 7:00pm. Room 5409
The CUNY Graduate Center 365 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY.
SUBWAY: trains B,D,F,M,N,Q or R to 34th Street – Herald Square
Light refreshments will be served.
La Toma documents the struggle of an Afro-Colombian gold-mining community in southwestern Colombia to remain on its territory. Home to 1,052 families, La Toma was founded by runaway slaves in 1636. Over the centuries, they have developed a culture and history that is tied to this land, carving out environmentally sustainable livelihoods through artisanal gold mining and basic agricultural projects, and grounding their traditions in this ancestral place.
Despite a legal framework that protects the community’s rights to the land, multinational investors and right-wing paramilitaries have threatened, intimidated, and killed members of the community. Thanks to the strong organizational capacity and the community’s will, in addition to transnational advocacy efforts that included PCN, WOLA, LAWG, and ACSN, the people of La Toma continue to live in the territory. However, private interests and armed militias continue to threaten La Toma in order to displace them and make way for large-scale mining operations.
The U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) poses a threat to the people of La Toma and other communities undergoing similar experiences. According to Colombian and international law, Afro-Colombian and indigenous peoples have the right to free, prior, and informed consultation and consent (FPIC) for any development project or public policy that will affect them; the FTA was not consulted with Afro-Colombian or indigenous peoples. Increased investment in controversial industries as a result of the FTA will undermine Afro-Colombian and indigenous peoples’ rights to self-determination and to the land. Join us on September 30 to view the film and discuss the current situation with Paola Mendoza, director of La Toma, and Gimena Sanchez of WOLA.