Intelligence and sense must speak up so that weapons may be silenced
“With war, the land of landowners
the needs of the needy
increase, the speeches
of the generals increase,
and the silence of men grows.”
growing concern over the recent events affecting Ecuador and Colombia.
Whatever may happen on a political and diplomatic level, the situation calls for
the labor movement to strengthen its traditional values and the principles that
have guided its beliefs and actions for centuries. These principles are unity in
democracy and diversity, equality, pluralism, solidarity, struggle and
movement assumed an essential and decisive role in resisting and overthrowing
the devastating dictatorships that hit our region and trampled human and labor
rights. We know what State terrorism is because we experienced it first-hand,
and we also know that a negligent State makes for the best breeding ground for
suffering violent persecution in some countries, the labor movement has always
acted as a peacemaking agent. We women and men workers defend Life. For us,
organizing in democracy means unity in diversity, a unity where the other is not
an adversary, but rather somebody different with whom we can fight side by side
when we need to defend rights that are common to us all.
shows us that some prefer war, polarization, uniformity, homogeneity,
monopolization and centralization of power. These choices have left very deep
imprints in the recent history of our countries, and we might even say that
almost without exceptions these imprints are identical throughout all of
Latin America. Some political lessons have also emerged over the years,
lessons which should be permanently engraved in all of our minds. One such
lesson, which while very old is often forgotten, is that the end does not
justify the means.
This means that
pursuing a worthy aim is no excuse for resorting to any method indiscriminately.
History has taught us, over and over again, that more than victory itself,
what’s important is how victory is obtained. We unionists know that some
impressive victories are achieved at a very high cost, and that there are
others, perhaps more modest and silent, which fortify and herald many more
movement rejects all forms of violence, whatever their origin. It rejects
violence exercised through weapons and bombs –even when such bombs are
“intelligent”–, whatever its origin may be, whatever purpose it may have. It
also rejects the violence of inequality, of lack of freedom, of injustice and
impunity, of violation of human and labor rights. And its method for rejecting
these forms of violence is to generate and further more and better forms of
social organization, building bridges to unite the various movements and social
interests, and remaining firm in its commitment to the conception of life that
considers that human beings achieve their greatest fulfillment in association
with others. We also know that the enemy is not the worker in our neighboring
country, but the exploiter in any country.
Even as we
condemn certain practices, we remain historically committed to the respect for
sovereignty, self-determination, democracy and the legitimacy of the order that
governs the international community.
deplorable case at hand, we acknowledge Ecuador’s right to demand that it
be respected in its exclusive and sovereign rule over its own territory, and
therefore we condemn the invasion perpetrated by the military incursion ordered
by the Colombian government. We also reject the methods employed by the FARC
and the paramilitary groups, in particular the kidnapping and murder
of unarmed civilians –including dozens of members of our rural and labor
organizations–, to whom the war logic imposed on them is totally alien.
We also object
to President Hugo Chávez’ extreme stance, as it is apparently based on a
logic comparable to that of those he claims to combat.
American Executive Committee of the IUF, representing 69 organizations from
17 countries, joins its voice to the clamor of those who are demanding an
immediate end to the escalating confrontation in the form of violent words and
gestures, and who are calling for multilateral forums to be prioritized as the
only scenario and framework for the resolution of the current confrontations.
reaffirms its active commitment to defending democracy and pluralism, and to the
ongoing struggle to fully apply and deepen these processes, so that our peoples
may live with greater social justice, greater freedom, and greater opportunities
for integral development, in a climate of peace and safety.
Executive Committee of the IUF
March 6, 2008