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| 4/16/2009 12:00:00 AM

Q&A: Indigenous People in Colombia "Have Become a Strong Force"

Apr 16 -- There is a heavy turnover of social movement leaders in Colombia, given the frequency with which they are killed, displaced or forced into exile. And because of the dangers, those who step up to the plate can be considered veritable heroes – one of whom is indigenous leader Aída Quilcué.

"Resistance" is a term frequently used by the 36-year-old Nasa Indian, who is chief counselor of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca (CRIC), and whose activism made her the target of an attack that cost the life of her husband, Edwin Legarda, in December.

Thanks to the visibility she gained in her leadership role in the "Minga" (a Quechua term for collective work for the common good) of Indigenous and Popular Resistance, which mobilised more than 30,000 demonstrators in marches along roads in Colombia in October and November, she stands a chance of being elected senator in the 2010 elections.

Two seats are reserved for indigenous representatives in the Senate, and two in the lower house of Congress.

In this interview with IPS, Quilcué talks about her life and the difficulties and suffering faced by indigenous people in this country that has been in the grip of civil war since 1964.
 
Read more here.
 
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