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Rogelio: a voice from Colombia

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“For us our land is everything, it is a God. We call it Mother Earth, because we have lived, being nourished by our mother earth since our roots. Our land is where we stay, where we think, where we farm and where we have all the essential elements that come from water, the earth… That’s where we are. That’s why we say that for us it is a totality, it is a God, because it is our mother. Without land we would have no reason to exist. It is the greatest element, it is the fundamental basis for the survival of a black community.”
Rogelio Ustate Arrogoces, is a leader from the displaced community of Tabaco and a national representative of Afro-Colombians displaced by mining has been an activist for over 15 years. He was interviewed for LAB by Emma Banks January 7 2017 in Hato Nuevo, La Guajira, Colombia. Rogelio works for the needs of his community of Tabaco, but also for all communities in La Guajira confronting the impacts of coal mining in their territories. He also works at a national level with Afro-Colombians fighting for rights to Prior Consultation and as victims of the armed conflict. In his home in Hato Nuevo, he runs a community education program educating the next generation of Tabaco about their ancestral roots and history. He is a published poet and an artisan who uses his art to remember Tabaco’s history and encourage people to fight for a better future.

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