The streets of the capital of Peru this Friday witnessed the clamor of hundreds of indigenous women arriving from various Latin American countries who marched to defend their rights and make visible their economic, social and environmental contribution in the region, on the occasion of the International Day of Rural Women.
“We are revolutionary women, we are rural women, fighting women and we need the great capitalists to understand that we too have rights that they have to respect. We are women sources of life and we are going to continue fighting in search of equality,” Angelica told EFE Ponce, national executive of the Trade Union Confederation of Women of Intercultural Communities of Bolivia.
From his country, Ponce arrived in Lima summoned by the Second Summit of Indigenous Women of Abya Yala, which brought together in the Peruvian capital some 500 indigenous women from all over Peru and another 145 from more than ten countries of the region, as detailed to the EFE agency Lourdes Huanca, president of the National Federation of Peasant, Artisan, Indigenous and Salaried Women of Peru (Fenmucarinap).
“One only voice”
This Friday’s march was the first public activity of this international meeting, which began with a symbolic act in the Andrés Avelino Cáceres Park, in the Jesús María district.
In the center of that Lima square, hundreds of vegetables, fruits, flowers, seeds and crafts represented the silhouette of a woman in a mystical offering to the Pachamama (Mother Earth).
Indigenous women, in an offering to the Pachamama, in a great march for equality in Lima. Peru. Photo: EFE
Around this great figure, the spokespersons of the delegations of Peru, Bolivia, Guatemala, Colombia and Mexico, among others, sang speeches in which they praised the role of indigenous and peasant women in caring for the territory, the environment and the family, and in the economic and social development of the region.
They also claimed to do respect your rights, put an end to discrimination and gender violence, with a call to continue fighting, always united.
“Now we are thousands, with a single voice”, “from afar I have come in defense of my people”, “come on women, damn it, women don’t give up, damn it”, they sang.
Then, the parade went through the main avenues of Lima until it reached the historic center of the city, where another mystical offering was made in the Peruvian Government Palace.
Indigenous women from Peru and other Latin American countries demonstrated this Friday in Lima. Photo: EFE
The regional demands were also joined by complaints at the national level. In this sense, the president of Fenmucarinap mentioned the inescapable need to consider indigenous and rural women in the second agrarian reform that the Peruvian president, the leftist Pedro Castillo, launched on October 3.
“Reform without women, it is not agrarian reform,” her colleagues shouted in unison, alluding to this new government program that includes a series of measures to promote agriculture through technology, technical advice and communication channels.
Huanca added that, with the march in Lima, the more than 500 women who arrived from different corners of Peru also wanted to “say to the President of the Republic ‘here we women are fighting alongside him.”
Hundreds of indigenous women met this Friday in Lima to demand their rights. Photo: EFE
“We know that the right wing wants to overthrow him, but with the strength of indigenous peasant women they are not going to achieve it, but he also has to listen and has to respect and fulfill the promise he made for the original indigenous peoples,” said the woman to EFE.
He was referring to the deep division in the country, where a large part of the population rejects the president, who took office after a very close victory against the right-wing candidate Keiko Fujimori in the June 6 ballot.
Topics in debate
Starting Saturday, the summit will continue with several virtual forums that will address issues such as food sovereignty, respect for the territory and the body of women, gender equality, the climate crisis, constitutional reforms and the right to live well.
From these round tables, which will last until Monday, a joint agenda will come out, “a statement in the voice of all women,” said Huanca, which will be presented “to all the presidents of the countries” participating in the summit and before the Permanent Forum of the United Nations (UN).
This is the second meeting of Abya Yala indigenous women, after the first summit held in Bolivia on May 27 and 28.
The idea, as the organizers informed EFE, is to establish two annual meetings and, by 2022, Guatemala and Mexico are expected to host the summits to be held in March and next October.