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French Guiana

Victory as agreement is signed

Saturday 29 April 2017, by Jean-Marc Burgaud

It’s victory for the people in struggle in Guiana, but also those who have supported their movement. It is also a demonstration that, in the face of capital and its state, the only tool that works is not decades of elections, but strikes, street activities, blockades, and all other means necessary.

The social movement that has paralyzed Guyana for more than a month has ended with the signing of an agreement between the state, elected representatives and the collective “Pou La Gwiyann dékolé” (“For Guiana taking off”) who led the mobilization. In front of the prefecture of Cayenne, approximately 500 people gathered, many wearing the tee-shirt “nou gon ké sa” (“enough”), the symbol of the blockade.

What a lesson on the eve of the first round [of France’s presidential election]! Guianese have voted how many times without result? In a determined mobilization, by all necessary means, they won. And not a little amount: 3.2 billion Euros. Work it out: for a population of 250 000 inhabitants, this means 13,000 Euros of investment and sundry expenditure per person.

It will be necessary to monitor the application of the agreement. The movement has already ensured that the plan for the 3.2 billion is published in the Official Journal, which will allow legal recourse if the next government tries to escape its obligations. And it has not ruled out resuming its action, starting by blockading the Kourou Space Center.

In Kourou, the roundabout at the entrance of the Guiana Space Center remains blocked by activists demanding “a letter from the Minister of Health” recording in writing “the passage into the public sector of the Kourou medical-surgical centre”. Flights to Cayenne will also resume in these coming days.

In relation to the first agreements drawn up in Cayenne by the government on April 1st:

- the government has given the green light for the construction of a “judicial precinct in Cayenne”
- there is acceptance that the question of the “total reconveyance” of land “be discussed during the next general assembly of Guyana”
- there is referral, by the congress of elected officials of French Guyana, on a “statutory evolution” of the territory.

It’s victory for the people in struggle in Guiana, but also those who have supported their movement. It is also a demonstration that, in the face of capital and its state, the only tool that works is not decades of elections, but strikes, street activities, blockades, and all other means necessary.