“Laborious Hands”, the Urabá collective that seeks to overcome the armed conflict through work

“Laborious Hands”, the Urabá collective that seeks to overcome the armed conflict through work

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Laborious Hands is a group of women who, through handicrafts, work on the concepts of peace and reconciliation.

the hands of misery is a collective made up of 10 women from Antioquia and Córdoba who created this company to overcome the Colombian armed conflict. The Peasant Self-Defense Forces of Córdoba and Urabá AUCC militated in this area of ​​the country. The women that make up this group were victims of violence more than twenty years ago and are still waiting for the State to fulfill their right to reparation.

Arlenis Mosquera is one of the members and a victim. In an interview for the newspaper El Espectador, she recounted her life and work. In the memory of Mosquera the names of Jesús Ignacio Roldán resound, Monoleche; Jorge Humberto Victoria, Captain Victoria; and other former ACCU paramilitary commanders. She still does not know exactly who murdered her mother, her aunt and her cousins, but she is certain that it was one of the paramilitaries that controlled the Urabá roads.

“Living in pain is no longer an option. My mother was murdered in 1985 in Apartadó (Antioquia) and my aunt, along with her children, in 1990, in Tierralta (Córdoba). We continue in the fight for compensation. A year ago, the Victims Unit told us that we only had to wait 120 days, but to date nothing has happened. However, with the support of the group, the hope is always maintained that better things will come and they also help a little to reduce bad feelings such as resentment or despair, ”said Arlenis Mosquera in the interview.

In It is troublesome hands handicrafts are made with banana leaves. Mainly, this group was created for the collective search for “a new life”. The women from Antioquia and Córdoba intend to convey their example of reconciliation through their products. They all make bags, baskets, key rings, vases, place settings, trays and boxes, fashion handicrafts that are expected to be exported soon.

“It all started in 2009, but there were years in which they did not take us into account, either due to lack of opportunities or for other external reasons. Like everything in life, the start was precarious, but as aid from different organizations arrived, we became a little stronger, to the point of attending various cultural fairs in the region. It may seem like little, but it is our effort and I am excited because we will never stop being artisans or our essence as street vendors ”, Arlenis assured.

Urabá Antioqueño has been a region where many families have arrived due to the forced displacement of different armed groups. Arlenis Mosquera also arrived here, 23 years ago, and Argenida Fuentes, 32 years ago. Two women who had to start from scratch and find a way to support their family.

According to Argenida Fuentes, despite the extension of the Victims Law, they do not fully trust its scope. “Empropaz has helped us to intercede with compensation issues before the Unit, but despite all its efforts, unfortunately still nothing is enough. None of us are still involved in land restitution plans or programs and a couple of companions for about five years have not received any help, not even something similar to a basic income ”, Fuentes denounced in an interview for El Espectador.

To the women of the collective They liked to be in a house located in the Ortíz neighborhood, in Apartadó, to make schedules of their work plans, points of sale, and they also had a space for creation and new proposals. The pandemic meant that they could not be found and, as is customary, their meetings went to the virtual room.

The three main spokespersons of It is troublesome hands They know that there is still a long way to go before the State goes and makes reparations for them. “Four years ago a big conflict ended, but there are more left. Violence in the regions does not stop and until that happens, the number of victims will increase and the State will no longer have sufficient capacities to know exactly how many it can repair. For now, we ask that they do not forget us and that our project serves as a sign that there are people, especially women, who do not shy away from adversity but rather move on with their things, “said Argenida Fuentes worried.

Through their biodegradable products and related to the banana culture of Urabá, they had the idea of ​​sending a message of peace and opening space for environmentally sustainable projects. “The sun is our ally in our” industrialization process. ” We use zinc sheets that we let dry naturally and then come up with ideas for weaving. This is a symbol of caring for the planet, because if we want to be repaired, we have to be consistent with equal care for our home ”, Arlenis Mosquera concluded.


Ben Oakley
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