David Fernando Murillo Mosquera
I’m a 23 year old young afro descendant, the youngest of four brothers. I was born in Bogota, but with Choco roots. My parents were born in Istmina and Andagoya, two mining municipalities, located in the department of Chocho. Even though I was borned in Bogota, my connection to the Pacific region of Colombia, the people who belong to ethnic minorities and their surrounding, is stronger every day. I studied Governance and International Relations at the Externado University of Colombia. In my ninth semester of studies, I had the opportunity to be an intern at the Colombian permanent mission to the United Nations in Geneva, where my worked focused on human rights. I have also worked with the “Manos Visibles” corporation for over 18 months. During this time I had have the opportunity of coordinate and work with diverse programs where community leaders from the Pacific region of Colombia work. The following are some of the programs that I have coordinated: The Economy School, The Laboratory for Political Innovation for Peace, Strengthening of Community Organizations, The School for High Government, and a Public Policy and Governance Masters.
How does your current work relate to economic democracy?:
In Manos Visibles, we have been working in the strengthening of community leaders and the grass roots organizations they belong to, with the goal of generating from the base, actions that transform the local realities and to improve the wellbeing of the inhabitants of the region. We have done these though: 1. The Economy School, where we engage in the challenge of encouraging community leaders to re-think the economy of the Colombian pacific region, focusing on local development with the aim for it to be sustainable. The current local economy relays on the extractive industry, which is not sustainable. 2. We see that from a democratic point of view is imperative to renew the region’s political and institutional powers, due to its weak institutional structure. This is why we strengthen local and community leaders that are involve in the public sector. And 3. Through strategies such as “MingaLab”, we seek to strengthen social and community organizations, because these organizations fill in the gap left from the lack of institutional presence of the Colombian state in the region, and ensure accountability from the public sectors. In conclusion for us to make economic democracy a reality we need three pillars: 1. An economy based on the region’s reality, 2. A strong state, 3. Strong community organizations, that can be the bridge between the state and civil society.