Earth Minute: Paraguay coup endangers Gran Chaco forest

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show every Tuesday for an Earth Minute and every Thursday for an Earth Segment interview with front line activists from around the world.

This week’s Earth minute focuses on the coup in Paraguay and its impacts on the great forest of the Gran Chaco ecosystem, including the Ayoreo People, some of whom represent the last uncontacted tribes in the Americas.

To listen to or download the show, click on the link below:

Earth Minute 3 July 2012

To view Orin Langelle’s photo essay of the Ayoreo in the Gran Chaco, click here

The text from this week’s Earth Minute is below:

Two weeks ago in Paraguay, elected left-wing President Fernando Lugo was ousted through a “Parliamentary coup.”

The UK Guardian likened the upheaval to the removal of President Manuel Zelaya from Honduras. “A progressive but imperfect leftwing leader ousted by rightwing forces determined to halt policies that threaten their business interests.

As always, the underlying politics revolve around land.  In this case, Paraguay’s Gran Chaco–a vast expanse of grasslands, forests and cactus that borders Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia. Home to some of the last uncontacted tribes in the Americas, the great forest of the Gran Chaco is being rapidly eaten away by the expansion of beef cattle ranches–with ten percent of the forest lost in the last 5 years.

These forests are home to the indigenous Ayoreo people, who, after decades of oppression, have been trying to recover both their culture and land rights.  Now, like Indigenous Peoples worldwide, the Ayoreo and their lands are threatened by the insatiable appetites of the global market.

For the Earth Minute and the Sojourner Truth show, this is Anne Petermann from Global Justice Ecology Project.

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