Frente Campesino.Farmers' protest.
(The Peasant's Democratic Front is know by its initials "FDC")


The FDC is the result of a wide social movement which took place in the State of Chihuahua during the winters of 1985-1986 and 1987-1988, when the peasants decided to organize independently to demand fair prices for corn and bean.

On December 1985 and January of 1986, hundreds of peasants from the northern part of the State, took-over 69 silos of CONASUPO (the state buyer of agricultural and food products) and as a result, the guarantee prices for corn and bean were increased 30 per cent. The movement, initiated by the peasants from the Unión para el Progreso de los Campesinos de la Laguna from Anáhuac, is named Movimiento Democrático Campesino (Democratic Peasant Movement) and is formally created in a public assembly held in Cuauhtémoc, Chihuahua, on April 10, 1986, on the anniversary of the murder of Emiliano Zapata.

On December 6, 1987, the Democratic Peasant Movement calls upon other organizations to a forum and the most important peasant and farmworker groups of the State of Chihuahua participate. The FDC is born in this historic meeting.

Immediately, the FDC petition the government to increase the crop prices but the government rejects the increase proposal. The members of the FDC initiate a movement to put political pressure. A total of 35 silos are taken over. The peasants start a march to Chihuahua and walk for four days to call attention to their plight. On January 15 of 1988, the "Campamento de la Dignidad Campesina" ("Dignity Camp") is installed and the door steps of the State Capitol. On February 5, two leaders of the FDC, Camilo Daniel, a catholic priest from Anáhuac, and Humberto Ramos Molina, a former major of Cuauhtémoc, launch a hunger strike. Little by little, more people join in on the strike and other solidarity camps are opened in Ciudad Juárez, in Cuauhtémoc and in Parral. The movement is successful and on February 15, the government grants the producers an additional subsidy to support the corn and bean.

With the expansion of the efforts of the FDC, a formal structure was developed to guarantee a collective decision making process. In 1988, for example, the Peasant Council was established as the highest leadership body within the Front. The Council is formed by the representatives of the member communities.

In 1990 when the federal government attempts to exclude the poor peasants of the temporary zone from the credit system, the FDC organizes massive opposition and demands that all producers without credit be given state support to cultivate their land. After three weeks of protests in the city of Chihuahua, the FDC reached an agreement to benefit the majority of the poor producers.

By September of 1991, the FDC already has presence in more than 10 municipalities. It is then that the Permanent Commission, a leadership and decision making body, is formed with one representative for each municipality. In the same month, the FDC joins the National Network of Corn Producers.

In late 1991, the FDC organizes opposition against the attempts to reform Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution and joins with 11 other Mexican peasant and farmworker organizations to form the Council of Agrarian Organizations.

During the campaign for governor and local representatives which culminates in July of 1992, the FDC shows its political diversity character. Several of the militant members present themselves as candidates for different parties. Many of the active members of the FDC also participate as observers to monitor the electoral process. A member of the FDC is elected major of the village of General Trias.

In January of 1993, the FDC, along with 10 other peasant and farmworker groups initiated the Coordinadora de Centrales Campesinas y Organismos del Sector Agropecuario (Coordinate of Peasant and Farmer Organizations), to protect small and medium sized producers from the further deterioration and worsening of the farm crisis under globalization and the neoliberalist economic policies.

The FDC continues to lead the struggle as a response to the plight of the poor and small producers due to the farm debt and the current economic crisis in rural communities. The FDC is an organization deeply rooted in the collective action of its members. Takeover of banks and public offices and blockade of highways have taken place continuously. But besides the active defense of the rights and interest of the peasantry, the FDC also provides direct assistance to its members, negotiate credits and loans for agricultural production as well as to improve housing and the general conditions of the people in the rural communities. The FDC also works to organize economic development alternatives.

The FDC works in collaboration with several organizations at the state, national and international level. Since 1988, the FDC has been working with DECA Equipo Pueblo in specific projects dealing with community based development and economic policies. Internationally, the FDC participates with the Catholic Committee on Development and Against Hunger, based in France and the Canadian Catholic Organization Development and Peace. The FDC was the first non-North American member organization in the Rural Coalition, an alliance of rural groups and rural communities based in United States.

Currently, the FDC have 4,000 members in the municipalities of Ahumada, Bachíniva, Bocoyna, Carichí, Cuauhtémoc, Cusihuiriachi, Chihuahua, Gómez Farías, Guerrero, Matachí, Namiquipa, Riva Palacio, Santa Isabel (General Trias), and Temósachi.

The highest authority of the FDC is the State Congress which takes place every two years. The resolutions of the Congress, the Council and the Permanent Commission are executed by the Executive Commission. In each community, the highest authority is the Assembly. The Assembly elects the representative of each community to the Frente.

The State Coordinator: of the FDC is professor Dagoberto González, municipality of Guerrero.

The main office of the FDC is located in the City of Chihuahua:

13 y Jiménez 2208
Chihuahua, Chihuahua
México
Tel/fax: 011-52 (14) 16-07-72


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