By José Adán Silva, May 15 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Logging is one of the main threats in the southern area of the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve. Photo: José Garth Medina/IPS
Mayangna indigenous communities in northern Nicaragua are caught up in a life-and-death battle to defend their ancestral territory in the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve from the destruction wrought by invading settlers and illegal logging.
The president of the Mayangna indigenous nation, Aricio Genaro, told Tierramérica that their struggle to protect this reserve, which is still the largest forested area in Central America, was stepped up in 2010, due to the increased numbers of farmers from eastern and central Nicaragua moving in.
In addition to the destruction of natural resources, this invasion has turned violent and poses a serious threat to the biosphere reserve’s indigenous population, estimated at roughly 30,000. Since 2009, 13 indigenous people have been killed while defending their territory, said Genaro.
The latest victim of this violent confrontation was Elías Charly Taylor, who died from gunshot wounds he received in the community of Sulún on Apr. 24, when returning from a protest demonstration against the destruction of the forest. Continue reading
Filed under Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration
May 22, 2013. Source: Global Forest Coalition
Photo: The New York Times
On the occasion of International Day for Biodiversity and the start of UN talks on a possible sustainable development goal (SDG) on agriculture , a coalition of environmental NGOs has published a briefing paper to raise awareness of the negative impacts of rapidly expanding industrial livestock farming and large-scale cattle ranching on the world’s forests and biodiversity. Industrial animal agriculture cuts across multiple sectors, affecting land use, water, food security, public health, and climate change. But too often these intersections are overlooked.
The paper,  launched today by Brighter Green  and the Global Forest Coalition , highlights the reality that large-scale cattle ranching and production of feed and fodder for the industrial livestock industry are by far the main causes of forest loss in Latin America, and play significant roles in biodiversity loss in other continents. The global livestock sector is also one of the main contributors to global warming, responsible for no less than 18% of world-wide greenhouse gas emissions.
The paper also features short case studies of how communities from Chad to Indonesia to Argentina are feeling the effects of industrial livestock production on forests, livelihoods, and their land. Continue reading
May 20, 2013
The Guatemala Solidarity Project strongly condemns the arrest of our good friend Alberto Choc Xe, a community leader from the indigenous q’eqchi’ village Saquimo Setana. Choc was arrested on Thursday, May 16.
We call on immediate solidarity from the international community. We know that other arrested leaders of Saquimo Setana have faced beatings, hunger, false bribes and other forms of abuse and tricks used to pressure them to admit to crimes they didn’t commit and to implicate other local and national leaders in these crimes.
For background on the conflict in Saquimo Setana please refer to our earlier videos, two of which can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXoFw87lw0Y (an overview of the conflict at Saquimo) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FN1pbixFMkc (which focuses on the case of another political prisoner from Saquimo).
We fear for Alberto’s immediate safety and we believe that the small action of calling the Guatemalan Consulate in Chicago can help protect Alberto in the coming hours and days. Please call them at 312-540-0781 or 312-540-0808 to voice your extreme concern for the safety of Alberto Choc Xe of Saquimo Setana, arrested on May 16 in Canguanic, part of Coban, Alta Verapaz, and currently being held in Coban. Please ask for the immediate release of Alberto, as well as of Pablo Sacrab, another leader from Saquimo who has been in prison since 2010.
Please also consider making a contribution to the GSP. All contributions go to our partners in Guatemala. Because of a budget shortfall we are not currently able to provide financial assistance to arrested Saquimo leaders. In the past we have been able to help purchase medical supplies, food and other important support. Contributions can be made tax deductible through our fiscal sponsor UPAVIM by writing a check to the “UPAVIM Community Development Foundation” and sending to UPAVIM, c/o Greg Norman, 713 W. Garfield, Temple, TX, 76501. Or donate on paypal at http://upavim.pursuantgroup.net/english/donate.htm (Click on “Make a Donation,” then write GSP in the description space)
By Leonor Hurtado, May 15, 2013. Source: Food First
On May 10th, the Guatemalan Court of Justice convicted the ex-dictator General Ríos Montt to 80 years in prison for the massacres of indigenous people during the 1980s . Many Guatemalans hope that the judicial process against the criminals of the country’s “dirty war” will continue .
But while the Guatemalan people celebrate the conviction, the processes of genocide initiated 30 years ago by Ríos Montt’s massacres still continue by other means.
In the last decade, the expansion of oil palm plantations and sugarcane production for ethanol in Northern Guatemala has displaced hundreds of Maya-Q´eqchi´ peasant families, increasing poverty, hunger, unemployment and landlessness in the region, confirms Alberto Alfonso-Fradejas in the new Food First report, “Sons and Daughters of the Earth: Indigenous Communities and Land Grabs in Guatemala” . There is a tremendous contradiction here: at the same time that the ex-General Ríos Montt is convicted for genocide, the state allows the oligarchy, allied with extractive industries, to displace entire populations without taking into account the human cost, and in many cases, resulting in the murder and imprisonment of rural people who resist the assault. The genocide against the indigenous peasant population in Guatemala no longer has the face of a military dictatorship supported by the United States…. Now it is the corporations, the oligarchy and the World Bank who push peasants off their lands. Continue reading
By Emilio Godoy, May 13 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Sea turtles are among the larger animal species whose reproduction was hurt by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Credit: Mauricio Ramos/IPS
MEXICO CITY – A group of Mexican citizens are preparing the first civil lawsuit in the Mexican courts against British oil company BP for the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The plaintiffs are bringing the class action lawsuit under a 2011 reform of the Mexican constitution that allows a large number of people with a common interest in a matter to sue as a group.
The civil lawsuit encompasses “damages to people living in the area or who own residential and commercial property along the coast, and people indirectly affected” by the spill, lawyer Óscar Preciado, with the law firm Rincón Mayorga Román Illanes Soto y Compañía, told IPS.
“Without a doubt, this will set an important precedent. Class action lawsuits have been brought, but in questions relating to consumer, rather than environmental, rights,” said the lawyer, whose firm is representing the plaintiffs. Continue reading
Note: “When General Ríos Montt seized power in March 1982, President Ronald Reagan’s administration cultivated him as a reliable Central American ally in its battle against Nicaragua’s Sandinista government and Salvadoran guerrillas. ” Another US-backed dictator brought to justice. Here’s to you, President Reagan.
-The GJEP Team
By Elisabeth Malkin, May 10, 2013. Source: NY Times
Photo: Moises Castillo/Associated Press
A Guatemalan court on Friday found Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt, the former dictator who ruled Guatemala during one of the bloodiest periods of its long civil war, guilty of genocide and crimes against humanity.
Judge Yasmín Barrios sentenced General Ríos Montt, 86, to 80 years in prison. His co-defendant, José Mauricio Rodríguez Sánchez, who served as the director of intelligence under the general, was acquitted of the same two charges.
“We are completely convinced of the intent to destroy the Ixil ethnic group,” Judge Barrios said as she read the hourlong summary of the ruling by the three-judge panel. Over five weeks, the tribunal heard more than 100 witnesses, including psychologists, military experts and Maya Ixil Indian survivors who told how General Ríos Montt’s soldiers had killed their families and wiped out their villages.
Note: Bolivia hosted the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in 2010. The Cochabamba Agreement included the adoption of the Rights of Mother Earth. So much for that…
-The GJEP Team
May 13, 2013. Source: Latin American Herald Tribune
Bolivian President Evo Morales inaugurated his country’s first natural gas liquids separation plant, saying it marks the start of a new era.
He presided over the start-up of the plant in the eastern town of Rio Grande, Santa Cruz province, in a ceremony also attended by Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, Hydrocarbons Minister Juan Jose Sosa and the president of state energy company YPFB, Carlos Villegas.
“Today we can say that after having taken our fatherland back, now we’re building a new fatherland through industrialization,” Morales said, urging the workers at the new facility to act with “great commitment.”
The Bolivian government obtained a loan from the central bank to fund the cost of the $181.3-million plant, built by Argentine company Astra Evangelista, Villegas said.
May 8, 2013. Source: Indigenous Environmental Network
Indigenous Peoples and allies from Chiapas and the Amazon protest California REDD in Sacramento in front of the capital building, after a California Air Resources Board hearing where they testified on the adverse impacts that the possible inclusion of REDD was already having on communities. October 18, 2012. Photo: Jeff Conant/Friends of the Earth-US
From Africa to the Amazon, from Chiapas to Siberia, global civil society is raising an international outcry to resoundingly reject California’s proposed forest offset scam called REDD, which would let climate criminals like Chevron and Shell off the hook, cause human rights abuses and worsen global warming. May 7, 2013, was the last day for public comments on the draft California REDD Offset Working Group recommendations regarding linking California’s cap-and-trade program with a program to supposedly reduce deforestation in Chiapas and Acre, Brazil.
California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, is posed to include REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation), a false solution to climate change, whereby California polluters could use the forests of Chiapas, Mexico and the Brazilian Amazon as sponges for their pollution instead of reducing greenhouse emissions at home. California REDD is considered a model for the world and if launched will probably be replicated both nationally and internationally.
“The global movement against REDD has been born!” cried Susannah, a delighted volunteer with the No REDD Group Initiative as she tallied letters from all over the world to California Governor Jerry Brown and the California Air Resources Board demanding that REDD be immediately stopped in its tracks. “The world is uniting against California REDD because it may unlock an avalanche of REDD-type projects around the world.” Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project has been tracking the California-Acre-Chiapas REDD deal since it was unveiled at the UN climate negotiations in Cancun, Mexico in 2010. In 2011, GJEP’s Co-Director/Strategist Orin Langelle and Communications Director Jeff Conant travelled to Chiapas, Mexico to the Village of Amador Hernandez, an Indigenous village in the Lacandon Jungle of Chiapas threatened with relocation due to the REDD project. Langelle took hundreds of photos in the community and the region which were assembled into a poignant photo essay. And GJEP’s work in Chiapas broke the story of and documented the emerging impacts of REDD. In 2012, GJEP released a short documentary from the trip, A Darker Shade of Green: REDD Alert and the Future of Forests, highlighting the California REDD deal.
-The GJEP Team
May 7, 2013. Source: Global Justice Ecology Project
We appreciate the opportunity to submit comments on the REDD Offsets Working Group “Recommendations to Conserve Tropical Rainforests, Protect Local Communities and Reduce State-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions” for the state of California. California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, AB32, and the goals of reducing emissions from deforestation of remaining tropical rainforests are important and admirable efforts. However, in order to achieve the goals of AB32 and reducing deforestation we believe that allowing jurisdictional REDD offset credits to meet California’s emissions reduction targets will not be effective. REDD credits threaten to diminish the results of AB32 in California and the efforts of partner jurisdictions, including Chiapas and Acre, to protect their forests. Using subnational REDD initiatives, financed through offsets, to meet the targets of AB32 will be inefficient, ineffective, and create unintended consequences. Continue reading
Filed under Carbon Trading, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
Note: Brad Will: ¡Presente!
-The GJEP Team
May 7, 2013. Source: Friends of Brad Will
President Obama has returned from Mexico having doubled down on the same policies that have created suffering for reporters and civilians in Mexico, ignoring the pleas of Friends of Brad Will (friendsofbradwill.org), Brad Will’s family, and Reporters without Borders (en.rsf.org).
The family of slain reporter Brad Will have issued a statement that, “Freedom of the press and a strong independent system of justice are policy pillars that the new Mexican administration must pursue in order for a new Mexico to emerge.” Christophe Deloire, the General Director of the press freedom organization Reporters Without Borders wrote an op-ed which states, “Mexico has become the western hemisphere’s most dangerous country for journalists, with 86 killed and 17 missing. They include Brad Will, a U.S. cameraman working for the Indymedia agency, who was gunned down in Oaxaca on October 27, 2006. Justice has not been properly rendered in any of these cases.”
Upon Obama’s return, Nick Cooper, Border States Congressional Liaison with Friends of Brad WIll said, “The war on drugs in Mexico has created suffering not only for journalists, but also for all members of civil society, while enriching narco-traffickers and corrupt government agencies. U.S. aid for these programs is not only a waste of money, but, as the GAO has noted, it seems intent to fail as it repeats a failed prohibitionist model and lacks any benchmarks for “success” in the implementing legislation.”