Posts Tagged 'Guatemala'

Preaudiencia TPP: Militarización de fronteras,criminalización y desaparición forzada de migrantes en tránsito.

cartel-tpp-migracic3b3n1

Convocatoria a la PRE-AUDIENCIA:

Militarización de las fronteras, criminalización y desaparición forzada de migrantes en tránsito

lunes 19 de agosto, 9 a 18 hras., Sala Digna Ochoa, CDHDF, Av. Universidad 1449, Metro Viveros; rueda de prensa martes 20 ago. 11 AM; mesas redondas y actividades culturales lunes 19 a viernes 23 de agosto, todo en la misma sede

En el marco de la conmemoración del 3er aniversario de la Masacre de 72 migrantes en San Fernando, Tamaulipas

Denunciantes invitados: Don Raúl Vera, Padre Alejandro Solalinde (Ixtepec, Oax.), Padre Pedro Pantoja (Saltillo, Coah.), Fray Tomás González (La 72, Tenosique, Tab.),  Padre Heyman Vásquez (Arriaga, Chiapas); Rubén Figueroa y José Jacques Medina (Movimiento Migrante Mesoamericano), Las Patronas (Veracruz), Comités de Base de la Asamblea Popular de Familiares de Migrantes (APOFAM) (Tlaxcala), defensores y familiares de víctimas de la Masacre (Brasil, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Ecuador), Abel Barrera (CDH Tlachinollan, Tlapa, Gro.); Wilner Metelus (Comité de Defensa de Ciudadanos Naturalizados y Afro-Mexicanos)

Jorge Fernández Souza, Gilberto López y Rivas (observadores invitados)

Jurados: Dr. Jorge Bustamante (ex relator ONU derechos humanos de migrantes, COLEF), Iver Orstavik (Fundación Rafto pro Derechos Humanos; Bergen, Noruega), Leticia Calderón  (Instituto Mora), Laura Carlsen (Programa de las Américas-CIP), José Rosario Marroquín (Centro PRO DH), Pedro González Gómez (Asamblea de Migrantes Indígenas del DF), David Velasco (ITESO), Jesús Antonio de la Torre Rangel (UAA), Luis Daniel Vázquez (FLACSO), Miguel Pulido (FUNDAR), Azadeh Shahshahani (National Lawyers´ Guild, Estados Unidos/Irán), Hans Egil Offerdal (teólogo, Univ. de Bergen, Noruega),  Immanuel Ness (CUNY Center for Workers Education, Brooklyn College), representante del Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers (Reino Unido); Rosa Martha Zárate (Alianza de ExBraceros del Norte), Gilberto Parra (Centro Jalisciense de Atención al Adulto Mayor y Migrante, Guadalajara)

Jurados honorarios: Mumia Abu Jamal, Alberto Patishtán

Rueda de prensa: 11 AM, martes 20 de agosto, 2013 Sala Digna Ochoa, CDHDF, Av. Universidad 1449, Metro Viveros, Coyoacán

Mesas redondas (todas en CDHDF):

martes 20 de ago., 13 a 15 hras. con miembros del jurado internacional

miércoles 21 de ago., 10 a 13 hras.  (caso exBraceros)

16 a 19 hras. (derechos al refugio y asilo)

Durante la semana del 19 al 23 habrá actividades culturales:

Teatro, música y clown: 17 a 19 hras.; cine 19-20 hras.

http://www.tppmexico.org

Monsanto se va de Europa ¿Haremos que se vaya de América?

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Aún cuando puede parecer que el poder y la influencia de las transnacionales es casi absoluto, una pequeña esperanza se abre en la lucha de los pueblos ante la corporación semillera Monsanto que a principios de esta semana ha hecho pública su decisión de no seguir promoviendo ni comercializando cultivos transgénicos en Europa.

En declaraciones a un periódico alemán, la representante de Monsanto en ese país, Ursula Lüttmer-Ouazane, mencionó: ‘Hemos llegado a la conclusión de que en este momento no hay una amplia aceptación’. Representantes de la gigante multinacional semillera indicaron también que no buscarán nuevas aprobaciones para plantas modificadas genéticamente dada la baja demanda de sus productos y ante una oposición y rechazo a la tecnología cada vez mayor del público en general: ‘No tiene sentido luchar contra molinos de viento’, fue la declaración de la portavoz de Monsanto.

Este anuncio se hizo público sólo unos días después de salir a la luz y de manera escandalosa el descubrimiento en campos agrícolas en Oregon, Estados Unidos de trigo transgénico de Monsanto (Roundup Ready) que no tenía la autorización para ser sembrado de manera comercial. Este hecho plantea nuevamente los altos riesgos de la investigación científica con intereses corporativos de fondo, la relajada legislación sobre patentes y liberación comercial de transgénicos y principalmente, los riesgos para la biodiversidad, la seguridad alimentaria  y la salud de la población mundial.

El anuncio de la salida de Monsanto de Europa debe confirmarse en los hechos, ya que es el Estado Español donde se cultiva más del 90% del maíz transgénico (Bt). La comunidad autónoma de Aragón es la que cuenta con una mayor superficie de cultivo de maíz modificado, seguida de Cataluña y Extremadura.  Sin embargo, Francia, Alemania, Austria, Hungría, Grecia, Luxemburgo, Bulgaria y Polonia han prohibido tanto la entrada como la siembra de maíz transgénico en sus territorios.

¿Saldrá Monsanto de América Latina? ¿Qué pasa en México?

Los voceros de Monsanto en Europa también mencionaron que ‘venderían semillas transgénicas únicamente en aquellos lugares en los que cuentan con amplio apoyo por parte de los agricultores así como de políticos y un sistema regulatorio funcional‘ pero, ¿cuales son esos lugares? Desde hace mucho tiempo, diversas organizaciones de indígenas, campesinos, activistas, científicos críticos de toda América Latina vienen denunciando la contaminación de sus campos agrícolas y su modo de vida por los cultivos transgénicos. Se ha alertado a la población por los daños a la salud asociados a los herbicidas que se usan en la fumigación de soya transgénica en países del cono sur; en diferentes medios de información se han mencionado casos de muerte masiva de abejas, o la disminución en la población de mariposas monarca debido posiblemente pesticidas o quizá a las mismas plantas transgénicas; se han vaticinado los incalculables daños a la biodiversidad y a la cultura milenaria por la siembra comercial y consumo masivo de maíz transgénico.

Los lugares a los que se refieren los voceros de Monsanto son nuestras comunidades y países: Argentina, Brasil, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Paraguay, Uruguay, etc., en resumen casi toda América, y que como refieren de manera maliciosa los agentes de Monsanto, son lugares en los que hay apoyo y complicidad de políticos que modifican las leyes para que la semillera aterrice y haga negocios.

Hace unos pocos días se demostró a nivel mundial el rechazo a Monsanto a través de masivas manifestaciones, se empiezan a recoger las primeras victorias con el anuncio de la salida de la corporación de Europa, y debe mencionarse que ese pequeño pero significativo triunfo se dio en gran parte a organizaciones de consumidores críticos, que desde el principio rechazaron que los transgénicos estuvieran en su mesa. Lamentablemente en México no hay asociaciones sólidas de consumo crítico, debemos fortalecer ese aspecto y hermanarlo a organizaciones campesinas e indígenas, que son quienes producen el maíz que alimenta a nuestros países.

Depende de nosotros mismos y de manera organizada y horizontal hacer que Monsanto se vaya de América, que se vaya a la quiebra en todo el mundo.

http://pagina3.mx/al-grano.html

México: La Policía Comunitaria: su legalidad y legitimidad.

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Los jefes de las bancadas legislativas desataron críticas implacables en torno a la legalidad de la “policía comunitaria”. Manlio Fabio Beltrones encendió la mecha y su posición fue secundada por la clase política del país. Consideraron que la existencia de la“guardia comunitaria” es un signo de ingobernabilidad y ruptura del Estado de derecho. El Consejo Coordinador Empresarial planteó la urgencia de frenar la creación de las “guardias comunitarias” y no deben “apoyarlas o armarlas”.

Beltrones alertó que las autodefensas “ya han fracasado en muchos países. Debemos aprender de esa experiencia. Han terminado, incluso como grupos paramilitares como en Colombia. No lo podemos permitir”. Su exhorto fue enérgico: ninguna autoridad debe refugiarse en las “guardias comunitarias”.

La “policía comunitaria” no ha fracasado en América Latina. En Colombia y en México/Guerrero no han terminado como “grupos paramilitares”. Hay que aprender de dichas experiencias y no juzgarlas a la ligera. La vigencia de la “Policía Comunitaria” hizo que el Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID/2003) solicitará los servicios del Dr. Hugo Fruling, catedrático de la Universidad de Princeton y Harvard, para estudiar el impacto de la “policía comunitaria” en Europa Occidental y Norteamérica. En América Latina hizo cuatro estudios de caso: Sao Paulo y Bello Horizonte en Brasil, Bogotá (Colombia) y Villa Nueva en Guatemala. Por su parte, la abogada Cynthia Labra Díaz, de la Universidad Católica de Temuco, Chile, en el 2011, analizó: “El modelo de policía comunitaria: el caso Chileno”. Fruling concluyó que los estudios de caso son sostenibles, duraderos y gozan del apoyo internacional.

En septiembre del 2011 designaron a Carlos Filizzola como Ministro Interior del Paraguay. En su plan de acción enfatizó en la seguridad preventiva y lanzó un proyecto denominado: “Policía Comunitaria”. No deben satanizarse ni descartarse las iniciativas que representan alternativas de seguridad comunitaria. El ejemplo Uruguayo y otros casos regionales, indican que la “policía comunitaria” tiene plena vigencia en el siglo XXI. Hace unos días, la SEDENA creó el primer“Pelotón de Fuerzas Rurales”, integrado por ejidatarios del municipio de Mapastepec en Chiapas. Según las autoridades, la “policía local no cuenta con elementos y recursos suficientes para combatir diversos delitos de la región”.

En América Latina y en otras regiones del mundo, la “policía comunitaria” tiene un soporte legal y una base social que legitima su razón de ser. En el caso de México, desde junio del 2011 se modificó el artículo 1º de la Carta Magna, en el cual ordena elevar a rango constitucional el cumplimiento de los tratados internacionales y enfatiza la obligación del Estado mexicano de cumplir con los convenios y tratados de los que son parte. Uno de estos tratados es el Convenio N° 169 de la OIT y contiene diversos artículos sobre la impartición de la justicia indígena.

Sin duda el artículo 2° Constitucional es un referente obligado del derecho de los pueblos indígenas para instaurar sus propios sistemas de justicia. Para el caso específico del Estado de Guerrero, el 9 de febrero del 2011 se aprobó la “Ley de Reconocimiento, Derechos y Cultura de los Pueblos y Comunidades Indígenas del Estado de Guerrero” (Ley 701). Esta Ley contiene un apartado sobre la justicia indígena y un capítulo sobre sus sistemas normativos. Del artículo 35 al 42 hay diversos ordenamientos que dan base legal a la existencia de la “policía comunitaria”.

El artículo 37 de la Ley 701 es contundente: “El Estado de Guerrero reconoce la existencia del sistema de justicia indígena de la Costa-Montaña y al Consejo Regional de Autoridades Comunitarias (CRAC)… esta Ley confirma el reconocimiento de la Policía Comunitaria, respetando su carácter de cuerpo de seguridad pública”. La “policía comunitaria” no ha fracasado en el estado de Guerrero. Pensar en su desaparición requeriría derogar la Ley 701. Por el contrario, fortalecerla implica partir de esta base jurídica y no provocar ninguna regresión de sus derechos hasta ahora conquistados.

La legitimidad de la “policía comunitaria” deriva del respaldo que recibe de los pueblos de la región.  La “policía comunitaria” en Guerrero no tiene  estructura policiaca, sino se basa en su organización comunal. Su fortaleza se cimenta en el respaldo de sus autoridades locales. Para combatir la delincuencia, mantienen estrecha alianza con los habitantes y cuentan con el apoyo de la comunidad. Conocen su territorio a la perfección y, a su vez, son conocidos por los vecinos de los caseríos.

La confianza es la clave fundamental para realizar su trabajo. La confianza con la ciudadanía es fundamental para convertirlo en un aliado contra la delincuencia. Contar con la comunidad es tener ojos y oído por casi todos lados.  Las asambleas comunitarias son el resguardo de su legitimidad. La “policía comunitaria” es elegida por la asamblea, pero cuando se requiere, todos participan en labores de vigilancia. En situaciones de emergencia, hombres, mujeres, niños y ancianos se convierten en “policía comunitaria”. No reciben remuneración económica, es un servicio gratuito a la comunidad.

Las cualidades anteriores hacen que la “policía comunitaria” tenga autoridad moral. La corrupción y la mordida no existen. Todo ello no es valorado con romanticismo, sólo se desprende de mis recientes visitas al territorio comunitario de la CRAC.

*Marcos Matías Alonso es investigador titular del Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS).

Chiapas: Foro Popular por la Defensa de la Tierra, Territorio y Soberanía Alimentaria.

Noviembre del 2012, San Cristóbal de las casas, Chiapas.

En el marco de la semana de acciones revindicativas vinculadas al 25 de noviembre, Día Internacional contra la Violencia hacia las Mujeres, ha tenido lugar esta mañana la presentación ofical del Foro Popular por la defensa de la tierra, territorio y soberanía alimentaria, coordinado por 14 organizaciones1 de San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.
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Este evento tendrá lugar los días 22, 23 y 24 en el CIDECI- UNITERRA (San Cristóbal de las Casas), con un acto final el día 25 de noviembre que consistirá en una marcha que partirá a las 10 de la mañana desde el puente blanco hasta la Plaza de la Resistencia, posteriormente habrá un acto de intercambio de semillas, tianguis de productos orgánicos, y lectura de la declaración popular final construida colectivamente por las y los participantes del foro.
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El Foro popular por la defensa de la tierra, territorio y soberanía alimentaria tiene como objetivo proporcionar un espacio de reflexión, acción e intercambio de experiencias y casos de luchas sociales contra proyectos neoliberales destructores de la Madre tierra en diferentes regiones de Latinoamércia.
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Se contará con exposiciones de porblematicas y resistencias sociales mexicanas, al tiempo que se darán a conocer distintas iniciativas de articulación de la sociedad civil desarrolladas en Guatemala, Boliva, Ecuador, Costa Rica, etc.
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En la presentación, se destactó la importancia de que el pueblo señale y juzgue colectivamente a los actuales responsables de la destrucción de la Madre Tierra y el acaparamiento de los recursos naturales por parte del capitalismo neoliberal.
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Los y las invitamos a formar parte de este espacio abierto de reflexión colectiva y lucha creado a traves de este primer Foro popular por la defensa de la tierra, territorio y soberanía alimentaria.

Transmisión en vivo:

http://giss.tv:8001/radiopozol.mp3.m3u

Programa del Foro Popular por la defensa de la tierra, territorio y soberanía alimentaria.

Día 1 Jueves 22 de noviembre

Pérdida del derecho a la soberanía alimentaria y exclusión de la vida digna

9.30 – 9.45 Presentación del evento Panorama político de la soberanía alimentaría
Mercedes Olivera
Ana Valadez

9.45 – 12.15 Presentación de casos (30 min)
1. Siembra de soya transgénica: Red contra soya transgénica
2. Mujeres de maíz y comida sana y cercana: Agro biodiversidad de la milpa
3. Caritas: Semillas y milpa maya

13.00 – 14.00 Preguntas a quienes presentan casos Jurado y publico

14.00 – 15.00 Comida Explicación para actividades artísticas

15.00 – 18.00 Presentación de experiencias (20 min.) 1. Recuperación de la milpa como ejercicio de derechos: Colectivos de mujeres del CDMCH
2. Red de mujeres Costa Rica
3. Mujeres Asaunixil – Guatemala
4. Tomate orgánico del triunfo y margaritas
5. Invernaderos tomates
6. Monocultivos y reconcentración de la tierra: Colectivo Tierra Nueva (Pastoral de la Tierra)
7. Recuperación de la milpa: Mujeres de Maíz
8. Comida Sana y cercana.

18:00 -18:15 Café

18:15 – 19.15 Comentarios para el veredicto – Elisa Canqui
-Ivonne Ramos de Acción ecológica de Ecuador
-Hugo Perales
-Ron Nigh
-Ukuxbe
Canan Lum K’inal (los guardianes de la tierra)
-Alejandra Bonilla

Día 2 Viernes 23 de noviembre

Destrucción, devastación, control y mercantilización de la tierra y el territorio

9.30 – 9.45 Pauta introductoria: panorama político Alma Padilla García, Centro de Derechos de la Mujer de Chiapas, A.C.

9.45 – 12.15 Presentación de casos
(30 min por caso)
1. Ixcan (presa Xalalá)
2. Chimalapas
3. Pueblo Yaqui en defensa del Agua
4. Barillas Guatemala (presa )
5. Defensa del territorio CEADESC Bolivia
6. Red Maya de organizaciones orgánicas, CASFA: Lucha por la defensa campesina de los manglares

13.00 – 14.00 Espacios para preguntas en plenaria Jueces y juezas y publico

14.00 – 15.00 Comida

15.00 – 17:30 Presentación de Experiencias (20 min por experiencia)

1. Minas de Chicomuselo
2. Montes Azules: los tres poblados Ranchería colosal, Salvador Allende y San Gregorio.(ARIC)
3. Lago de tzizcao
4. Consejo regional Wirarika en defensa wiricuta
5. Defensa de la tierra: Asamblea Istmo en defensa de tierra y territorio.
6. Minas: Región Caribe (skype)

17:30 -17:45 Café

17:45 -18:45 7. Derechos de la naturaleza (Petróleo, energía y carbono): Ivonne Ramos de Acción ecológica deEcuador
8. Migración
9. Guerrero, lucha contra el decreto de la reserva de la Biosfera.

18.45 – 20:00 Análisis y veredicto de los y las expertas.
Espacio para preguntas en plenaria
– Luisa Paré
-Carlos Manzo
Gloria Flores Ruiz
-Elisa Canqui,
Eckar Boege
Ivonne Ramos

Día 3 El derecho a la autodeterminación y a la consulta popular y estrategias para los problemas planteados los días anteriores.

Sábado 24 de noviembre

9:00 – 10:00 Panel Introductorio: Partiendo de las problemáticas presentadas los días anteriores, se plantea una visión integral de los problemas y pautas para trazar alternativas de solución
• Dolores González (SERAPAZ)

Exposición de trabajo grupal
Exposición sobre la expresión gráfica

10:00 – 12:30 Trabajo por grupos (5 grupos)

Preguntas generadoras:
1. ¿Cuáles son las problemáticas sobre tierra, territorio, biodiversidad, conocimiento, control del proceso productivo y mercado en nuestra región?
2. ¿Cómo nos afectan estos problemas a hombres y mujeres?
3. ¿Qué hemos hecho hombres y mujeres ante estos problemas?
4. Que acciones concretas podemos promover para que toda la población hombres y mujeres nos movilicemos ante estos problemas.
5. A que redes pertenecemos

Se realizan conclusiones en papelógrafos y se colocan en la pared

12:30 – 12:45 Café

12:45 – 14:30 Cada grupo elabora y pinta un mural en manta, que plasme las estrategias propuestas
Se forma mural colectivo Artistas dinamizan el mural

14:30 – 15:30 Comida

15:30 – 16:30 Los grupos visitan el mural Cada grupo nombra un relator para explicar el mural a quienes lo visitan

16:30 – 17:30 En plenaria se hace un resumen de las estrategias haciendo énfasis en la necesidad de que la gente tome conciencia y se movilice en torno a los problemas Xoxhil Leyva
Se exponen conclusiones.

17.30 – 19:00
Pronunciamiento final
• Discusión y aprobación en plenaria Pronunciamiento final elaborado por los y las expertas invitadas, con 3 elementos básicos:
• Juicio político a los responsables de los problemas expuestos el 1er y 2º día
• Pronunciamiento de apoyo a las luchas que se están dando.
• Exhorto para que nuestras luchas se amplíen y se construyan coordinaciones y alianzas a nivel nacional e internacional.

25 de noviembre: Día Internacional contra la violencia hacia las mujeres
10:00 Intercambio de semillas y productos en la plaza de la resistencia.

http://www.pozol.org

Migrantes centroamericanos: miles suben a la bestia.

El día 17 partió de Arriaga el tren La Bestia con mil 500 migrantes indocumentados sobre 40 vagones, rumbo a Ixtepec, Oaxaca. El recorrido de 300 kilómetros se realiza en 12 horas, en esta ocasión durante el día con temperaturas de 40 grados. Cientos de indocumentados no abordaron ese tren por precaución al ver abarrotados los vagones que cuentan con una rejilla a la que es más fácil asirse o amarrarse por la cintura para no caer si los vence el sueño. Ante el temor de sufrir una caída de seis metros de un tren en movimiento, cientos de posibles viajeros se quedaron por dos días en distintos lugares para esperar al próximo tren. Algunos esperan en la Casa del migrante “Hogar de la misericordia” que dirige el presbítero Heyman Vázquez Medina, otros más en las vías y cercanías del ferrocarril, expuestos a asaltos, y otra buena cantidad en posadas económicas, incluso pernoctan entre las tumbas y criptas del panteón municipal.

Mientras esperan a que venga de regreso el tren de Ixtepec, que se descarriló sin consecuencias graves en su última ruta, los migrantes buscan trabajo informal en Arriaga para conseguir pesos mexicanos y llamar a casa, comprar agua, comida y con suerte una linterna. Ante las altas temperaturas, otros se dan un baño en el diminuto caudal del río Lagarteros.

De Ecuador, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador y Guatemala. Hombres y mujeres, incluso embarazadas y algunos niños. Pretenden llegar al centro y norte de México y a Estados Unidos, “para encontrar trabajo”, a decir de Josefa, salvadoreña de 26 años que espera el tren en la casa hogar junto con su hijo de cuatro años.

“Los maras no dejan trabajar, quieren jalar a los niños y maridos, si no se les unen los matan, en mi colonia mataron a tres niñas por ir a la escuela en un barrio distinto al suyo, hace pocos días a un niño lo quisieron matar por lo mismo. Yo quiero que mi hijo estudie porque yo no pude. En mi tierra si la gente sale de noche, desaparece y luego aparecen muertos sin cabeza, vivimos con miedo y desesperación. Aquí en México hay gente linda, los negocios están abiertos hasta la noche. Vengo con mi esposo y suegro, si no, no me hubiera atrevido”.

Josefa cuenta: “Salí de El Salvador hace ocho días, llegué aquí en cuatro usando combi y caminando, tardamos mucho porque el niño se cansa de caminar y lo tenemos que cargar, tengo miedo de una violación pero quiero seguir, aquí la gente regala cosas de vez en cuando para mi hijo. El otro día en el tren iban más de mil personas y viendo a los mutilados no me quise arriesgar”.

Walter, 25 años, músico: “En El Salvador los maras matan a jóvenes, los acusan de pandilleros, me perseguían. Tuve un altercado por ser homosexual, me intentaron violar. Ya viví un año en el Distrito Federal, tenía los papeles para sacar mi fm2 pero tardé, fui a Tapachula para sacar pasaporte pero los papeles caducaron, me pedían una carta de oferta de trabajo que no pude obtener y cerraron mi caso. En el df limpié casas, cuidé a una señora diabética y vendí en un tianguis. La gente al ver que soy centroamericano siempre me quería cobrar más y me miraban de manera extraña, también encontré gente buena, hice amigos. La primera vez fue duro porque es muy difícil ser homosexual y migrante. En Medias Aguas muchos quieren robarnos, nos golpean y violan, pero tenemos que viajar en el tren con los delincuentes armados. Paleros les dicen a los ladrones”.

Una hondureña de 35 años espera al tren: “Soy madre de familia, salí para mejorar con un amigo, un muchacho que me dejó botada aquí. Era un conocido pero tomaba mucho, cuando llegamos al albergue se puso a tomar y molestar, lo corrieron pero no me fui porque no puedo arriesgar mi vida por andar con él. Le pague diez mil lempiras y aquí me pedía veinticinco mil más, quería venir comiendo bien, comprando ropa y zapatos, prometió llevarme al DF.

“Tengo miedo de subirme al tren porque cuando lo corrieron y no me quise ir con él, me amenazó, es amigo de los zetas y tengo miedo de encontrármelo en el camino, dijo que avisaría a los zetas pa’ que me encuentren, pero Dios siempre le pone a uno gente buena en el camino. Quiero ir al df y de ahí a Monterrey pero no más arriba. Nunca me he subido al tren, me da miedo caerme.

Un empleado de Ferrocarril del Itsmo de Tehuantepec, empresa que transporta harina de Minsa, cemento de Cemex y granos de Conasupo cuenta que a pesar de ver cotidianamente desde hace cinco años a los cientos de indocumentados que trepan los vagones, se sigue sorprendiendo al ver los enormes grupos de personas que caminan por las vías cuando la máquina llega.

Al atardecer del jueves 19 por fin llega la locomotora de La Bestia, reúne los vagones de las empresas mencionadas y los transfiere de cuatro carriles a una línea principal. Tras el primer pitido, de inmediato abordan “los mejores” vagones quienes esperaron en las vías calientes y a la sombra de los escasos árboles. Los vagones óptimos son los que tienen escaleras completas para llegar al techo, dos pasillos con perforaciones dentadas para mejor agarre de los zapatos. Los migrantes usan cartones como colchonetas; los más precavidos llevan un lazo para amarrarse por la cintura en caso de quedar dormidos en algún momento de las doce horas a Ixtepec. Es necesario llevar la mayor cantidad posible de agua pues el metal se pone caliente. A veces el viaje es al sol; ésta vez será de noche, con ráfagas que tambalean a cualquiera al cruzar La Ventosa.

En los vagones “seguros” viajan mujeres, parejas y familias, algunas con niños muy pequeños; también los más precavidos y experimentados. Sentados en los primeros sitios, algunos festejan con una cerveza en lata, llaman a casa desde sus celulares para anunciar que están por partir.

En los vagones posteriores suben los “mecateros”, que se sirven de un lazo para ir escalando a falta de escalera. En el techo de esos vagones no hay una sola saliente para asirse. El tren va a tope; entre los indocumentados se infiltran los “halcones”, informantes de los traficantes o polleros. Su labor es investigar en qué condiciones viajan los centroamericanos, cuánto dinero traen o cuánto podrían conseguir con sus familiares vía telefónica para ser extorsionados en el camino.

Conforme pasan las horas y el trabajo de unión de los contenedores avanza, aparecen “de quién sabe dónde” grupos de 50 a 100 jóvenes en el lado opuesto, ocupando la vía. Cargan mochilas. Optimistas los más chicos, sonríen, vestidos a la última moda centroamericana, gorras con estampados brillantes y tenis. Dirigen señas y muecas a las cámaras de televisión y los fotógrafos que acudieron a registrar esta escena que desde 2005 no se había repetido. Un éxodo poco común dicen algunos. Sobre las vías, mujeres de Arriaga venden agua mineral a diez pesos, afocadores a treinta, tortas, comida casera. Unos misioneros mormones aprovechan para predicar un poco. Flashes. El tren se va.

Texto y fotografía: Moysés Zúñiga
Arriaga, Chiapas. 20 de abril

http://www.jornada.unam.mx/2012/05/12/oja-miles.html

Represión e impunidad: Aquí y allá. México-Guatemala-Catalunya.

Violencia de Estado en Guatemala, México y Catalunya.

Sábado 28 ABRIL / 19:30H

Charla sobre la situación de impunidad de las fuerzas armadas en México y Guatemala. Comparación con el camino que ha recorrido Catalunya hacía las reformas del código penal.

CSA CAN VIES
Carrer dels Jocs Florals, 42
METRO Plaça de SANTS – Barcelona

19:30 h / CHARLA
-Violencia del Estado en: Guatemala, México y Catalunya.

-Mastuerzo y los jijos del mais

-Poesía de mujeres

-Canción Latino Americana /MUNA

-Sound System DJ PEPINHO

ORGANIZAN
ADHESIVA Espai de torbada i acció
GIDHS- Grupo de investigación en ddhh y sostenibilidad

+ INFO

www.investigaccionddhh.wordpress.com
www.adhesiva.org

La Via Campesina Centroamericana. Comunicado.

Nuestra región atraviesa una profunda crisis alimentaria  y  represión campesina

 

Reunidas las organizaciones campesinas, indígenas y afrodecendientes  de Centroamérica, hoy 25 de Enero del 2012, expresamos ante la opinión pública nacional, regional e internacional, la situación crítica que vivimos las familias en el campo tales como: la represión, criminalización a nuestras luchas, destrucción de cultivos, persecución judicial, el acaparamiento de tierra y la explotación de los Bienes Naturales mediante la implementación de los mega proyectos,  como  mono cultivos, minería e hidroeléctricas  en la región.

Toda esta conflictividad genera a nuestros pueblos un déficit de la Soberanía Alimentaria esto lleva a una crisis profunda, hambruna y extrema pobreza en las comunidades campesinas teniendo mayor impacto en las mujeres, niños y ancianos.

Expresamos nuestro repudio y condenamos los ataques sistemáticos que sufren nuestros hermanos y hermanas del Bajo Aguán en Honduras; así como los compañeros y compañeras del Valle del Polochic en Guatemala.

Exigimos al presidente Porfirio Lobo Sosa (Honduras) y Otto Pérez Molina (Guatemala) buscar una solución inmediata a los conflictos de tierra de las comunidades y no ser cómplices de los terratenientes y empresarios nacionales e internacionales, cuya única respuesta es la represión y el sicariato contra los campesinos y campesinas.

La Vía Campesina Centroamérica hace un llamado enérgico a los gobiernos, movimientos sociales, a los pequeños y medianos productores, trabajadores e intelectuales de Latinoamérica y el mundo, exigir políticas púbicas a favor de las y los campesinos, promover acciones que mejoren las condiciones de vida en el campo, una verdadera Reforma Agraria Integral y así enfrentar las crisis a las que nos ha impuesto el modelo neoliberal.

Exigimos el cumplimiento de los derechos de las mujeres y las juventudes, como la salud, educación, el acceso a la tierra, a la infraestructura, asistencia técnica, semillas nativas y créditos favorables para asegurar el desarrollo integral.

El Movimiento Campesino Centroamericano está convencido del rol que juegan las  mujeres y las nuevas generaciones en la estabilidad y continuidad de nuestra sociedad en su conjunto.

Las organizaciones de Centroamérica hacemos un llamado a la comunidad nacional e internacional a expresar nuestra solidaridad  con las campesinas y campesinos del Movimiento  Unificado Campesino del Aguán – MUCA en Honduras y de los pueblos originarios que habitan las riveras del Valle Polochic en Guatemala y los demás movimientos campesino que luchan en nuestra región.

Llamamos e invitamos a unificar esfuerzos, apoyar y respaldar una Campaña de Solidaridad a favor de las comunidades que luchan por el acceso a la tierra y defensa a la madre naturaleza.

Saludamos al pueblo Nicaragüense por la lucha y esfuerzo que hacen por el incremento de la producción la cual genero un crecimiento  económico del 4% contrario a la situación que viven los países arriba mencionado.

 

¡¡Reforma Agraria… Urgente  y necesaria!!

¡¡ Resistimos… y Venceremos!!

¡¡Con la mujer en la casa…  La reforma agraria se atrasa!!

¡¡Juventud Campesina… Asumiendo retos para el Cambio!!

¡¡Globalicemos la lucha… Globalicemos la esperanza!!

 

Tegucigalpa – Honduras, 25 Enero del 2012

Stop Land-Grabbing Now!

Nyeleni, November 19, 2011

We, women and men peasants, pastoralists, indigenous peoples and their allies, who gathered together in Nyeleni from 17-19 November 2011, are determined to defend food sovereignty, the commons and the rights of small scale food providers to natural resources. We supported the Kolongo Appeal from peasant organizations in Mali, who have taken the lead in organising local resistance to the take-over of peasants’ lands in Africa. We came to Nyeleni in response to the Dakar Appeal, which calls for a global alliance against land-grabbing.

In the past three days, peasants, pastoralists and indigenous peoples have come together from across the world for the first time to share with each other their experiences and struggles against land-grabbing. In Mali, the Government has committed to give away 800 thousand hectares of land to business investors. These are lands of communities that have belonged to them for generations, even centuries, while the Malian State has only existed since the 1960-s. This situation is mirrored in many other countries where customary rights are not recognised. Taking away the lands of communities is a violation of both their customary and historical rights.

Secure access to and control over land and natural resources are inextricably linked to the enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and several regional and international human rights conventions, such as the rights to an adequate standard of living, housing, food, health, culture, property and participation. We note with grave concern that states are not meeting their obligations in this regard and putting the interests of business interests above the rights of peoples.

Land-grabbing is a global phenomenon led by local, national and transnational elites and investors, and governments with the aim of controlling the world’s most precious resources. The global financial, food and climate crises have triggered a rush among investors and wealthy governments to acquire and capture land and natural resources, since these are the only “safe havens” left that guarantee secure financial returns. Pension and other investment funds have become powerful actors in land-grabbing, while wars continue to be waged to seize control over natural wealth. The World Bank and regional development banks are facilitating land grabs by promoting corporate-friendly policies and laws, facilitating capital and guarantees for corporate investors, and fostering an extractive, destructive economic development model. The World Bank, IFAD, FAO and UNCTAD have proposed seven principles that legitimise farmland grabbing by corporate and state investors. Led by some of the world’s largest transnational corporations, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) aims to transform smallhold agriculture into industrial agriculture and integrate smallhold farmers to global value chains, greatly increasing their vulnerability to land-loss.

Land-grabbing goes beyond traditional North-South imperialist structures; transnational corporations can be based in the United States, Europe, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea, among others. It is also a crisis in both rural and urban areas. Land is being grabbed in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe for industrial agriculture, mining, infrastructure projects, dams, tourism, conservation parks, industry, urban expansion and military purposes. Indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities are being expelled from their territories by armed forces, increasing their vulnerability and in some cases even leading to slavery. Market based, false solutions to climate change are creating more ways to alienate local communities from their lands and natural resources.

Despite the fact that women produce most of the world’s food, and are responsible for family and community well being, existing patriarchal structures continue to dispossess women from the lands that they cultivate and their rights to resources. Since most peasant women do not have secure, legally recognised land rights, they are particularly vulnerable to evictions.

The fight against land-grabbing is a fight against capitalism, neoliberalism and a destructive economic model. Through testimonies from our sisters and brothers in Burkina Faso, Columbia, Guatemala, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda, we learned how land-grabbing threatens small scale, family based farming, nature, the environment and food sovereignty. Land grabbing displaces and dislocates communities, destroys local economies and the social-cultural fabric, and jeopardizes the identities of communities, be they farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, workers, dalits or indigenous peoples. Those who stand up for their rights are beaten, jailed and killed. There is no way to mitigate the impacts of this economic model and the power structures that promote it. Our lands are not for sale or lease.

But we are not defeated. Through organisation, mobilisation and community cohesiveness, we have been able to stop land-grabbing in many places. Furthermore, our societies are recognising that small-scale, family based agriculture and food production is the most socially, economically and environmentally sustainable model of using resources.

Recalling the Dakar Appeal, we reiterate our commitment to resist land-grabbing by all means possible, to support all those who fight land-grabs, and to put pressure on national governments and international institutions to fulfill their obligations to defend and uphold the rights of peoples. Specifically, we commit to:

Organise rural and urban communities against land-grabs in every form.

Strengthen the capacities of our communities and movements to reclaim and defend our rights, lands and resources.

Win and secure the rights of women in our communities to land and natural resources.

Create public awareness about how land grabbing is creating crises for all society.

Build alliances across different sectors, constituencies, regions, and mobilise our societies to stop land-grabbing

Strengthen our movements to achieve and promote food sovereignty and genuine agrarian reform

In order to meet the above commitments, we will develop the following actions:

  • Report back to our communities the deliberations and commitments of this Conference.
  • Institutionalise April 17 as the day of global mobilisation against land-grabbing; also identify additional appropriate dates that can be used for such mobilisations to defend land and the commons.
  • Develop our political arguments to expose and discredit the economic model that spurs land-grabbing, and the various actors and initiatives that promote and legitimise it.
  • Build our own databases about land-grabbing by documenting cases, and gathering the needed information and evidence about processes, actors, impacts, etc.
  • Ensure that communities have the information they need about laws, rights, companies, contracts, etc., so that they can resist more effectively the business investors and governments who try to take their lands and natural resources.
  • Set up early warning systems to alert communities to risks and threats.
  • Establish a Peoples’ Observatory on land-grabbing to facilitate and centralise data gathering, communications, planning actions, advocacy, research and analysis, etc.
  • Strengthen our communities through political and technical training, and restore our pride in being food producers and providers.
  • Secure land and resource rights for women by conscientising our communities and movements, targeted re-distribution of land for women, and other actions make laws and policies responsive to the particular needs of women.
  • Build strong organisational networks and alliances at various levels–local, regional and international–building on the Dakar Appeal and with small-scale food producers/providers at the centre of these alliances.
  • Build alliances with members of pension schemes in order to prevent pension fund managers from investing in projects that result in land grabbing.

Make our leaders abide by the rules set by our communities and compel them to be accountable to us, and our communities and organisations.

  • Develop our own systems of legal aid and liaise with legal and human rights experts.
  • Condemn all forms of violence and criminalisation of our struggles and our mobilizations in defense of our rights.
  • Work for the immediate release of all those jailed as a result of their struggles for their lands and territories, and urgently develop campaigns of solidarity with all those facing conflicts.
  • Build strategic alliances with press and media, so that they report accurately our messages and realities; counter the prejudices spread by the mainstream media about the land struggles in Zimbabwe.
  • Develop and use local media to organise members of our and other communities, and share with them information about land-grabbing.
  • Take our messages and demands to parliaments, governments and international institutions.
  • Identify and target local, national and international spaces for actions, mobilizations and building broad-based societal resistance to land-grabbing.
  • Plan actions that target corporations, (including financial corporations), the World Bank and other multilateral development banks that benefit from, drive and promote land and natural resource grabs.
  • Expand and strengthen our actions to achieve and promote food sovereignty and agrarian reform.
  • Support peoples’ enclosures of their resources through land occupations, occupations of the offices of corporate investors, protests and other actions to reclaim their commons.
  • Demands that our governments fulfill their human rights obligations, immediately stop land and natural resource transfers to business investors, cancel contracts already made, and protect rural and urban communities from ongoing and future land-grabs.

We call all organizations committed to these principles and actions to join our Global Alliance against Land-Grabbing, which we solemnly launch today here in Nyeleni.

Globalise the struggle! Globalise hope!

Maya Food Threatened: Statement vs. GMO Corn In Belize.

It comes as no surprise to us that today the Maya of southern Belize are faced with yet another threat to their existence and way of life. The government of Belize is poised to approve testing of GMO corn seeds developed by Monsanto in our country. For the Maya, GMO corn reminds us of what happened after the arrival of Europeans, who promised us progress and salvation, but whose mere presence introduced diseases that decimated our people and enabled them to overcome us by force, settle on our lands and harvest our untold wealth.

The Maya people refer to ourselves as the people of the corn. Corn has been our staple food and a unique resource that grounds our existence, since the Maya people and our ancestors created it through millennia of selective breeding of the tiny teosinte grain. We have planted the corn, season after season, within the rainforest of southern Belize. In the past, we have been criticized for our slash and burn system of agriculture, when in fact, our rotational system of farming corn and intercropping is one of the only sustainable forms of agriculture in the climate and terrain conditions of southern Belize, and is based on a system of respect and value for Mother Nature; so we forgive the critics.

Now, companies like Monstanto have taken corn, the intellectual property of millennia of Central America’s indigenous people freely shared with the world, and inserted into it genes from other organisms, and tell us that their new, genetically modified corn is superior and good for us. Despite being blamed by newcomers for deforestation and the imminent demise of the rainforest for over a century, the Maya of Toledo continue to live in the most forested region of Belize. The number of schemes that have been foisted upon us by agricultural “experts” over the decades is legion; they have failed and caused our people hardship while our traditional methods continue to sustain us. We have reason to be skeptical of claims by people from other parts of the world that they know better than us about farming in our forests, that they have a better way, that following their science will make life better for us. GMO corn is another such scheme. We are told that to resist GMO crops is to be backward, against progress, against science. They do not tell us that many countries have banned or severely restricted GMO foods. They do not allow them to be grown; they do not allow them to be imported into their countries. These countries include some Caribbean countries, the European Union, Brazil, Peru, Paraguay, Japan, Egypt, the Phillipines, and China – some of the fastest growing economies in the world. In 2007, France withdrew authorization to plant Monsanto GMO corn there after initially allowing it. Resistance to GMO crops is not backward, it is forward thinking.

We are told that GMO seeds are resistant to pests, and so they will provide us with better harvests. In the United States, the same GMO corn strain that Monsanto wants to introduce in Belize was widely adopted by farmers in Iowa and Illinois. It is supposed to resist corn beetles (rootworm). Just this summer, many of those farmers suffered massive losses as fields of corn toppled over from rootworm invasions. The GMO seeds are not only losing effectiveness, but have contributed to the evolution of a pesticide-resistant “superbug”. In Maya traditional farming, pests are kept low naturally, without pesticides, by burning the field when clearing, by planting combinations of crops, and by moving our milpas periodically.

We are told that GMO seeds are more reliable and will provide better harvests. They do not tell us that in South Africa – one of the first countries to adopt GMO corn –the Monsanto GMO corn failed massively in South Africa in 2009 – in 82,000 hectares, the plants grew beautifully, but the cobs were seedless because of “underfertilization processes” in Monsantos’ laboratory”. Those farmers got some compensation, but for Maya farmers, compensation for crop failure later isn’t enough; our families face starvation if the corn harvest doesn’t come in. They do not tell us that in India, farmers who adopted Monsanto GMO cotton on promises of better yields and lower pesticide costs got 35% less crop, and it cost them more to produce. An estimated 125,000 farmers committed suicide due to the crop failure.

We are told that GMO corn is more efficient, and cheaper. They do not tell us that in order to survive, GMO crops need chemical fertilizers and pesticides. As pests gain resistance, more and more chemicals will be required to sustain Monsanto corn. They do not tell us that we will have to buy more and more chemicals, and pay for seeds every year. As Maya, we plant seeds that we save from our previous harvest; they are a gift from the Earth that cost us only our labour. Introducing GMO corn steals that birthright from us.

We are told that if Maya farmers do not want GMO corn, we do not have to use it, but that we should not deny commercial farmers in other parts of the country that right. But once they are being grown in the country, there will be nothing to prevent them from contaminating our local corn, whether we want their Frankenstein genes or not. And once our crops are contaminated, whether we like it or not, Monsanto could be able to make us pay. In Canada, a farmer whose crops were contaminated by GMO plants and who then used seeds from those plants the next year was held to have violated Monsanto’s patent on the plant. He had to destroy the seeds, which also meant destroying the unique variety of the crop he had developed over decades of farming. We are told that BELIPO has the power to deny patent protection to Monsanto, which would protect farmers from this kind of control and dependency to some extent – although Monsanto could still enforce dependency by selling only sterile seeds. But the government hasn’t committed to this action – and another thing that they don’t tell us is that Monsanto has been accused and even convicted of bribing government officials in other countries, including Indonesia and Canada, to allow policies that benefit them. Monsanto cannot be trusted, and a government that allows its devastating products into our country cannot be trusted.

Through our long struggle to defend our lives and our lands, corn has fed us, sustained us, and given us strength. We have always been cash poor but we have food, and can build our homes for shelter without having to buy from hardware stores. So we are not surprised now that our corn itself is under attack. This threatens our independent, self sustained lifestyle and livelihood. We make no apology to state for the record that the introduction of GMO corn is an assault on the food security and independence of the Maya people, to weaken our strength and resistance.

Governments and commercial interests have invaded our forests, appropriated our lands and continue to illegally extract the rich resources that we have long protected us as a people. They stole our culture to sell it for tourism for their own benefit. They challenge our identity and our nationality by spreading the myth that we are recent migrants from Guatemala and not indigenous to Belize. None of this has discouraged the Maya from standing strong and defending the land and her children. On the contrary, we have gained more strength and enjoyed consistent success in the hearts of the Belizean people, the courts, and the international community. Now the government has a new tactic: they seek to starve us, by introducing laboratory-made corn to destroy our Native corn, throw us into dependence on agribusiness corporations and eventually, as farmers sink under the expense of GMO crops, dispossess us of our lands.

Remember, People in Toledo do not grow their corn to sell they grow it to feed their family and animals. If there is some left, then they bring it to the local market in town to sell. People do not make enough money to keep on buying these seeds and all that comes with it. The result is that people not be able to maintain their farms, and be forced to the towns and cities and cayes in search of jobs.

The push for GMO corn in Belize is about corporate greed, not the needs of Belizeans. Let us defend our corn and the integrity of our natural ecosystems . For over 500 years we have managed to survive; we are a resilient people. We do not need, and we will not accept your corn!

http://indigenouspeoplesissues.com

Analysis: Hidden Hegemony: Canadian Mining In Latin America.

Canada’s mining industry is the largest in the world, and in 2004 its world market share accounted for 60 percent of all mining companies. In fact, the entire Latin American region is second only to Canada in terms of the breadth of its mining exploration and development activity.[i] In what some call the “halo effect,” Canadian industries have been perceived as the more conscientious alternative to their U.S. equivalents. Since Canadian industries are understood to have socially responsible practices, especially in contrast to those of American companies, they are typically welcomed abroad.[ii] Nonetheless, recent accusations that the Canadian mining company Pacific Rim played a role in the death squad killings of anti-mining activists in El Salvador has brought this reputation into question, while further investigation into the Canadian government’s regulation reveals that the government has mandated no true restrictions on its industry’s mining practices abroad. Left to its own accord, the Canadian mining industry has no problem destroying landscapes, uprooting communities, and even resorting to violence to promote its interests; for this reason, only government regulation can affect true change. A recent move by the Peruvian government to protect citizens near the city of Puno demonstrates that Latin American governments may finally be willing and able to regulate Canadian mining companies operating within their nations.

The Evolution of Canadian Mining in Latin America

In the period from 1990 to 2001, mineral investment in Latin America increased by 400 percent, and by 2005, the region was receiving 23 percent of total worldwide exploration investments. The Canadian mining industry’s share of the Latin American market is the largest of any country, at 34 percent in 2004.[iii] However, even with a substantial flow of Canadian investment in the mining sectors of these countries, living standards have not tangibly improved for those in proximity of the mines, despite the image portrayed by the mining industry.

For a large part of the 20th century, the majority of the mineral wealth in Latin America was government property. Beginning in the 1980′s, the regional shift to neo-liberalism also saw the transfer of state property to transnational corporations. [iv] The immediate entry of the Canadian mining industry into the Latin American market corresponds with this neo-liberal shift. The Canadian government used various means to facilitate and promote the Canadian mining industry’s entry into the region including funds from the World Bank, IMF and incentives provided by Canadian foreign policy initiatives themselves. Since the 1980s, structural adjustment programs implemented in Latin America have opened the region’s markets to incentivize investment from the world’s wealthiest nations. Canada has been a particularly vocal advocate of these measures, hoping to expand its economic interests in Latin America. [v]

Canada also promotes its economic reach in Latin America through Free Trade Agreements. In addition to its leadership role in NAFTA, Canada has established Free Trade Agreements or Foreign Investment Protection Agreements with many Latin American states, and has been a principal proponent of the Free Trade Area of the Americas.[vi] Canada’s Free Trade Agreement with Peru allowed the country to become Canada’s third-largest trading partner in Latin America by 2007.[vii] This increase is largely attributed to the rising price of mineral resources, especially since, “Gold and other precious metals constituted more than 53 percent of Peruvian exports to Canada in 2007.”[viii]

The Canadian government’s most controversial means of promoting its mining interests in Latin America is through foreign aid. Under the pretext of foreign aid, the Canadian International Development Agency or CIDA awarded Peru with a CAD 9.6 million, USD 6.2 million[ix] investment to the Mineral Resource Reform Project in a move meant to promote Canadian mining interests in the nation.[x]

One Canadian Mining Company’s Response to Resistance

Canadian mining companies often resort to extreme measures to promote their interests. The Canadian government has failed to regulate its mining industry abroad, but accusations that Pacific Rim, a mining company based in Vancouver, played a role in the deaths of anti-mining reporters in El Salvador demonstrates the extent of destruction that mining can reach in the region when left unchecked. In a July 12, 2011 statement, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont condemned the killings of anti-mining activists in El Salvador following the June 14, 2011 discovery of Juan Francisco Duran Ayala’s body; he was last seen posting flyers critical of gold mining in the region. His death is the most recent of numerous violent attacks against anti-mining activists in the country’s Cabañas region. [xi] In 2010, three anti-mining activists in the region were gunned down, after receiving numerous death threats citing their activism regarding the El Dorado mine in El Salvador. As a result, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights demanded that the Salvadoran government protect the rights of journalists and the media. [xii]

One radio station in El Salvador, Radio Victoria, reports receiving death threats as well as threats on family members unless they curb their anti-mining expression.[xiii] Reporters without Borders described the station’s critical role, saying, “For nearly a decade, Radio Victoria has been the mouthpiece of local communities and environmental activists opposed to the mining operations of Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining Corp. The station has played a key role in providing the local population with information about the dangers that the mining poses to their health and even their survival.”[xiv] Given Radio Victoria’s strong anti-mining stance, one reporter said, “We don’t trust the men who are protecting us. The mining company has connections with the local authorities. I don’t trust the local police.”[xv] The Prosecutor General’s Office is in charge of this investigation, but despite the national and international attention surrounding the events, no report was issued as of June 2011.[xvi] The failure to produce any real answers surrounding these threats and murders suggests that Pacific Rim’s influence may reach beyond local death squads to the Salvadoran government.

The Negative Effects of Canadian Mining Around the World

Canadian industries operating abroad have always benefitted from positive perceptions of the nation’s practices resulting from the aforementioned “halo effect.”[xvii] However, in truth, Canadian mining often has drastic consequences for local environments and communities; thus, recent activities, in reality, stand to dampen this image. Across the globe, Canadian mining companies destroy landscapes, contaminate the environment, and disturb the lives of locals. Meanwhile, the Canadian government does little, if anything, to hold these companies accountable for their exploits. In effect, environmental groups recognize that Canadian mining firms are “just as bad as the most ruthless of American companies.”[xviii]

To illustrate, one Canadian gold mining company, Goldcorp, maintains mines in the following Latin America nations: Mexico, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. Goldcorp represents just one of the many Canadian mining companies in Latin America, yet its mines have been associated with numerous infractions, including the destruction of archaeological sites, acid mine drainage, water resource depletion in drought-prone areas, polluting water resources with copper and iron, high levels of arsenic and lead in local inhabitants, mercury poisoning, pipeline bursts, and disregarding the pleas of locals.[xix]

The Effects of Mining on the Environment

Depletion of water resources and contamination are the principal negative ramifications of mining, in addition to physical destruction. Mining companies often forcibly monopolize water resources, as many mining techniques require large amounts of water. As a result, local communities are left with a profound shortage or impaired quality of water. For example, Goldcorp’s Marlin mine in Guatemala uses approximately 2,175,984,000 liters per year compared to the 153,300 used by an average North American citizen or the average 13,505 liters used by an African citizen.[xx] The problem is exacerbated in areas that receive as little as 150 mm of rainfall per year such as northwest Argentina, where the joint venture Alumbrera mine operated by Goldcorp, Xstrata and Northern Orion depletes the already precarious water supply, leaving locals in desperation.[xxi]

Water pollution has a more detrimental and long-lasting effect on the environment than water depletion. Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), the most common form of mining contamination, occurs when sulfides housed in the rock are exposed to air during excavation, forming sulfuric acid. This acid runs off into nearby streams and lakes, polluting the surrounding watershed. The acid dissolves other heavy metals it encounters such as copper, lead, arsenic, zinc, selenium and mercury, which further pollute the surface and ground water of the region.[xxii] AMD can continue for thousands of years after the mine is closed, as illustrated by a 2,000-year-old mine in Great Britain that continues to produce AMD today. Goldcorp mines have been associated with AMD in four Latin American countries: Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and Argentina.[xxiii]

Cyanide, used to extract gold and silver from the surrounding rock, makes large-scale processing possible, but when released into the environment, it can have serious consequences. On average, 70 tons of waste is created in the processing of 1 ounce of gold. At Goldcorp’s San Martín mine in Honduras, an average of .78 ounces of gold is extracted from every ton of ore, and an enormous amount of rock must be moved. When chemically treated rock and ore, known as ‘mine tailings,’ spill during transport, the water supply can become contaminated with cyanide.[xxiv] Though mining companies report that cyanide is broken down by sunlight and transformed into a nontoxic form, it frequently harms, or even kills, aquatic life.[xxv] At the La Coipa mine in Chile, a former Goldcorp holding, mercury as well as cyanide was discovered in groundwater as a result of mine seepage. Blood samples taken from the local community population near Goldcorp’s San Martín mine in Honduras registered high levels of mercury, lead and arsenic.[xxvi]

False Hope and Canadian Bill C-300

The Canadian mining industry’s operations in Latin America have unquestionably harmed the surrounding environments and communities and influenced the policies of the host nations.[xxvii] Despite this, the Canadian government refuses to enforce any type of human rights regulations outside of Canadian territory; instead, the government supports the mining industry both financially and politically regardless of its practices. Several enlightened segments of the Canadian government took a stand against the government’s policy with respect to foreign mining practices, but to no avail. The parliamentary Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs and International Trade issued a report calling for reforms regarding mining in foreign countries. However, the government responded stating that no precedent for prosecuting or regulating practices outside of the Canadian territory currently exists. The government established a round-table to address the issue, viewed by many critics as an ineffective stalling tactic. [xxviii]

Canadian Bill C-300, also known as the Responsible Mining Bill, provided a glimmer of hope for increased accountability of Canadian mining industry practices in the developing world. The bill would have ensured compliance with the stringent international environmental practices the Canadian government claims to uphold, as well as reaffirmed Canada’s commitment to human rights. Additionally, the bill would have outlined environmental standards for the Canadian extractive industry, provisions for grievances to be brought before the ministers of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and public reporting of any dismissed complaint in the Canada Gazette.[xxix] According to Bill C-300, any government funding for Canadian extractive companies abroad would be contingent upon compliance with the aforementioned standards and would require confirmation by the local Canadian embassy. C-300 was the legal apparatus to ensure acceptable practices by Canadian mining firms abroad. Although C-300 passed on the second reading in 2009, the bill ultimately failed to pass the final vote in the House of Commons on October 27, 2010.[xxx] This was an unfortunate victory for the Canadian mining industry, and was yet another sign that the current Conservative government does not support human rights and environmental health, at least not when Canada’s extractive industry could see its profit margin adversely affected in any way.

However, the government holds that it does in fact support human rights in developing nations through the controversial IMF and World Bank structural adjustments plans.[xxxi] In spite of Canada’s rather flattering reputation for high moral standards, at least in comparison to the U.S., Canada’s support for human rights appears quite dubious at times. Ottawa refused to sign the United Nations’ Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that requires consent from indigenous groups before any projects can commence on their land. Canada, along with Australia, called for revision, which significantly slowed the process and ultimately blocked its passage. [xxxii] The failure of this declaration was a certain victory for the Canadian mining industry in Latin America, which conducts its business almost exclusively on inhabited territory.

Nearly all new mine locations are located either on inhabited lands or close to established communities. Given the almost certain environmental degradation and pollution associated with mines, as well as the possible disruption in game and foul patterns, local communities tend to oppose mining. Though permission is technically required from indigenous communities before exploration or mining can begin on their lands, this is often a mere formality that does not even remotely protect the interests of the community. Because of this, mining is a persistent source of conflict in the region, pitting local and indigenous communities against large Canadian mining companies.[xxxiii]

Responses to Canadian Mining

Latin American resistance appears inevitable given the contradiction between the government’s policies and the citizens’ sentiments. Many Latin American citizens express little confidence in the private sector’s management of mineral extraction industries.[xxxiv] Local communities typically bear the brunt of mining cost, while profits are carted off to foreign headquarters of the mining company, leaving only a fractional percentage of profits within the capital or other major cities of the host nation. Since neither the Canadian government nor the respective national governments protect the rights of local community members, these communities are forced to stand up for themselves through protests and blockades.

Changing Times– One Latin American Country Turns Feisty and Stands up to Mining

Despite the efforts of Canadian mining companies to go to unacceptable lengths to ensure their interests seemingly at any cost, recent action taken by the Peruvian government may demonstrate a change in policy with regard to the Andean nation’s support of Canadian mining companies. In 2007, the Peruvian government granted a concession to the Canadian company Bear Creek Mining for rights to land near Puno, on the shore of Lake Titicaca. In early May of this year, protests broke out in the Puno region, demanding a halt to mining exploration and a revocation of the concession. Originally, protesters were relatively peaceful, blocking the Bolivian border crossing and other highways. However, in late May the protests turned violent, and participants began torching government buildings and threatening to interfere with the June 5 presidential election. The García government responded by putting a hold on all new concessions for twelve months, but this was not enough for the protesters; they later blockaded more roads and spread unrest throughout the entire Puno region, threatening other industries there as well. The government decided to revoke Bear Creek’s concession, despite outrage expressed on behalf of the company. Unfortunately, this decision was not made until the police fired on a group of protesters headed toward the Juliaca airport.[xxxv]

This decision by the Peruvian government symbolized a decisive victory for local interests and demonstrated a shift in government policy. Until recently, Peruvian government policy mechanically supported economic interests over those of its citizens. This policy shift was likely invigorated as a result of the June 5 presidential election, in which the left-leaning populist Ollanta Humala was elected. In the Puno department, Humala, a champion of rights and economic prosperity for all Peruvians, won the election decisively with 78 percent of the vote, the largest margin of all 26 of Peru’s departments.[xxxvi]

Conclusion

Canada, a country with a supposed commitment to environmental health and human rights, has the largest extractive industry presence in Latin America. Nevertheless, the Canadian government refuses to take any action when its extractive industry’s practices fail to guarantee an accord with the country’s broader allegiances to ethical practices abroad. Unchecked mining in Latin America has grievous repercussions for the environment and the populations in surrounding areas. However, given the large political and economic influence that the Canadian extractive industry wields, even at times resorting to violence, Latin American governments often neglect the best interests of their citizens and environment when they act to join forces with foreign multinationals against their own citizens. Fortunately, this trend seems to be changing, as seen with the Peruvian government’s revocation of Bear Creek Mining’s concession amidst the uproar from local communities. Sadly, this movement turned violent before the government reacted in the name of its own citizens. For this reason, it is imperative that Ottawa hold its industries accountable to some approximation of environmental and human rights standards, both at home and abroad.

References for this article can be found here.

About the author:

COHA

COHA, or Council on Hemispheric Affairs, was founded in 1975, the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA), a nonprofit, tax-exempt independent research and information organization, was established to promote the common interests of the hemisphere, raise the visibility of regional affairs and increase the importance of the inter-American relationship, as well as encourage the formulation of rational and constructive U.S. policies towards Latin America.

[1][i.] Gordon, Todd and Webber, Jeffery R. ‘Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian mining companies in Latin              America’, Third World Quarterly, 29:1, 70

[1][ii.] Derek Abma, “Our halo is wearing thin amid business scandals,” Vancouver Sun, July 1, 2011, accessed July   5, 2011, http://www.vancouversun.com/story_print.html?id=5034584&sponsor=.

[1][iii.] Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber, ‘Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian mining companies in Latin             America’, Third World Quarterly, 29:1, 72

[1][iv.] Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber, ‘Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian mining companies in Latin            America’, Third World Quarterly, 29:1, 67-8

[1][v.] Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber, ‘Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian mining companies in Latin             America’, Third World Quarterly, 29:1, 66

[1][vi.] Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber, ‘Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian mining companies in Latin            America’, Third World Quarterly, 29:1,

[1][vii.] Stephen J. Randall, “Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America: Trade, Investment and Political Challenges,” Canadian International Council, accessed July 7, 2011, http://www.opencanada.org/wp-            content/uploads/2011/05/Canada-the-Caribbean-and-Latin-America_-Trade-Investment-and-      Political-Challenges-Stephen-J.-Randall.pdf.

[1][viii.] Ibid.

[1][ix.] “Historical Exchange Rates,” Accessed July 8, 2011, Oanda.com, http://www.oanda.com/currency/historical-   rates/.

[1][x.] Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber, ‘Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian mining companies in Latin              America’, Third World Quarterly, 29:1, 69

[1][xi.] “Statement Of Senator Patrick Leahy On Violence Against Antimining Activists In El             Salvador,”             Accessed July 21, 2011, The Office of Senator Patrick Healy,               http://leahy.senate.gov/press/press_releases/release/?id=e29a4642-bd56-46e1-  bda8-                94799fff9e53

[1][xii.]Edgardo Ayala. ” Radio Station under Threat in Mining Region,” Accessed July, 21, 2011, Inter Press Service,                 http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=56111

[1][xiii.] Ibid.

[1][xiv.] Ibid.

[1][xv.] Ibid.

[1][xvi.] Ibid.

[1][xvii.] Derek Abma, “Our halo is wearing thin amid business scandals,” Vancouver Sun, July 1, 2011, accessed July               5, 2011, http://www.vancouversun.com/story_print.html?id=5034584&sponsor=.

[1][xviii.] Ibid.

[1][xix.] “Investing in Conflict, Public Money, Private Gain: Goldcorp in the Americas,” Rights Action, Accessed June               22, 2011, http://www.rightsaction.org/Reports/research.pdf.

[1][xx.] Ibid.

[1][xi.] Ibid.

[1][xii.] Ibid.

[1][xiii.] Ibid.

[1][xiv.] Ibid.

[1][xv.] Ibid.

[1][xvi.] Ibid.

[1][xvii.] Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber, ‘Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian mining companies in Latin          America’, Third World Quarterly, 29:1, 64

[1][xviii.] Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber, ‘Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian mining companies in Latin         America’, Third World Quarterly, 29:1, 69

[1][xxix.] Joan Russow, “Canada Day 2011: 100 Reasons to Not Celebrate,” Pacific Free Press, July   1, 2011,   Accessed July 7, 2011, http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1-/9099-100-reasons-to-not-       celebrate-canada-day.html.

[1][xxx.] Ibid.

[1][xxxi.] Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber, ‘Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian mining companies in Latin          America’, Third World Quarterly, 29:1, 70

[1][xxxii.] Ibid.

[1][xxxiii.] Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber, ‘Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian mining companies in Latin        America’, Third World Quarterly, 29:1, 68

[1][xxxiv.] Todd Gordon and Jeffery R. Webber, ‘Imperialism and Resistance: Canadian mining companies in Latin       America’, Third World Quarterly, 29:1, 72

[1][xxxv.] Lucien Chauvin, ” Peru’s Airport Siege: A Bad Omen for the New President,” Time, June   27, 2011,                Accessed July 7, 2011, http://www.time.com/time/world/article          /0,8599,2079964,00.html#ixzz1RWaxRMv0.

[1][xxxvi] Ibid.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/hidden-hegemony-canadian-mining-in-latin-america-analysis-28072011/


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