Category Archives: Latin America-Caribbean

Making Contact Radio: Saving or Selling the Planet? REDD, Climate Change and Indigenous Lands | National Radio Project

Note: This episode of Making Contact is based upon the Global Justice Ecology Project DVD “A Darker Shade of Green: REDD Alert and the Future of Forests,” produced earlier this year.

To order a copy of the DVD, which includes two bonus features, email: info@globaljusticeecology.org

To listen to the Making Contact episode, click the link below:

making contact

Saving or Selling the Planet? REDD, Climate Change and Indigenous Lands | National Radio Project.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Earth Radio, False Solutions to Climate Change, Forests, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Illegal logging, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

Should Chiapas farmers suffer for California’s carbon?

Note: Jeff Conant is the former Communications Director for Global Justice Ecology Project.  In March of 2011, he and Orin Langelle, then Co-Director of GJEP, went to Amador Hernandez in Chiapas, Mexico to investigate the threatened forced relocation of the community and its relation to REDD+ and the California-Chiapas-Acre, Brazil climate deal.

–The GJEP Team

By Jeff Conant, November 13 2012. Source: Yes! Magazine

Photo: Jeff Conant

“We are not responsible for climate change—it’s the big industries that are,” said Abelardo, a young man from the Tseltal Mayan village of Amador Hernández in the Lacandon jungle of Chiapas. “So why should we be held responsible, and even punished for it?”

Abelardo was one of dozens of villagers who had traveled to the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas to protest an international policy meeting on climate change and forest conservation. At a high-end conference center, representatives from the state of California and from states and provinces around the world were working out mechanisms intended to mitigate climate change by protecting tropical forests. The group was called the Governor’s Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF), and California’s interest was in using forest preservation in Chiapas as a carbon offset—a means for meeting climate change goals under the state’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act.

Such an agreement among subnational governments is unprecedented, and California officials view it as an important way for the world’s eighth largest economy to help the developing world. But judging from the reaction on the streets of San Cristóbal, Mexican peasants see it differently. The lush, mountainous state of Chiapas has a long history of human rights abuses, and the Mexican government has forcibly evicted indigenous families from their lands in the name of environmental protection. To indigenous peasants in the Lacandon jungle, the pending agreement has all the hallmarks of a land grab.

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Carbon Trading, Chiapas, Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, REDD

Audio: The link between Paraguay, Monsanto and deforestation of the Gran Chaco

In this week’s Earth Segment on KPFK Pacifica radio’s Sojourner Truth show, Dr. Miguel Lovera, former National Secretary for Plant Safety of Paraguay discusses the recent Paraguay coup, the link to the expansion of GMO soy plantations and the logging of the Gran Chaco forest, home to the Ayoreo indigenous people.

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with the Sojourner Truth show for Earth Segment interviews every Thursday.

To listen to or download the podcast, click here

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

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Filed under Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean

Photo Essay: Paraguay Coup Connections

What will happen to the Indigenous Peoples?

Photographs by Orin Langelle/GJEP-GFC

In the Ayoreo settlement of Campo Lorro, Chaco, Paraguay

Paraguay’s right-wing coup that ousted Fernando Lugo’s government two weeks ago hardly made North American news.  Typical.  And how many people care anyway about that small landlocked nation?

Although the photos in this essay were taken in 2009, they show a community and a people struggling for survival.

To me the coup is personal, because I traveled to Paraguay in January of 2009.  I have friends there. GJEP is the North American Focal Point for Global Forest Coalition  which has their southern hemisphere office there.  I had the opportunity to tour Asuncion, the nation’s Capitol, and see where the poor live several hundred meters from the national government buildings. I traveled on long back roads surrounded by immense GMO soybean fields controlled by agribusiness (the soy mafia) and I visited and photographed the Ayoreo indigenous community of Campo Lorro (Parrot Field) in the Chaco region.

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Filed under Climate Change, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Photo Essays by Orin Langelle, Political Repression

KPFK Audio Segment: The link between the Paraguay coup and GMO Soy

Global Justice Ecology Project teams up with KPFK Pacifica’s Sojourner Truth show for a weekly Earth Minute on Tuesdays and a weekly Earth Segment interview on Thursdays.

KPFK’s  weekly “Earth Segment” this week interviewed Dr. Miguel Lovera, Paraguay’s National Secretary for Plant Safety about the link between the recent coup in Paraguay and what has become known as the Genetically Modified Soy “mafia” in that country.

To listen to the segment, click here

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Earth Radio, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression

Earth Minute: Climate Chaos Impacts the Indigenous Tarahumara People of Mexico

Global Justice Ecology Project partners with Margaret Prescod’s Sojourner Truth show on KPFK–Pacifica Los Angeles radio show for a weekly Earth Minute on Tuesdays and a weekly 12 minute Environment Segment every Thursday.

This week’s Earth Minute discusses the impacts of the climate crisis on the Indigenous Tarahumara people of Mexico who are suffering from a food crisis brought on by both a record drought and a disastrous freeze.

To listen to this week’s earth minute click the link below and scroll to minute 57:48.

KPFK Sojourner Truth Show Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012

Text from this week’s Earth Minute:

The Indigenous Tarahumara People, in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, are some of the latest victims of the climate crisis. Their crops have been destroyed by a combination of the worst drought in 70 years compounded by a record-breaking freeze.

The Tarahumara, known for extreme long-distance running in their mountainous homeland, have been an inspiring symbol of strength and self-reliance in Mexico.  The idea that these fierce people are now starving has mobilized a rapid relief effort in Mexico.

While some may think that the impacts of climate change are a problem of the future, more and more people are experiencing the impacts of extreme weather today–droughts, floods, out-of-season tornadoes, record warm spells and freezes, wildfires and severe storms.  And these impacts are only projected to get worse.

It is time we get serious about challenging the dependence on fossil fuels, industrial agriculture and over-consumption that are driving the climate crisis.  Systemic transformation is essential.   We cannot wait until it is too late.

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

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Filed under Climate Change, Earth Minute, Food Sovereignty, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Natural Disasters

A Tribute to “The Red Mayor of Santa Cruz”

¡Bert Muhly Presente!

by Orin Langelle, Co-director/Strategist for Global Justice Ecology Project

From left to right: Anne Petrmann, Bert Muhly, Lois Muhly and Orin Langelle. GJEP file photo Santa Cruz, CA 2008

Note: Bert Muhly passed from this Earth on December 16, 2011.  He was 88 years old. Bert was a friend, colleague and comrade to Global Justice Ecology Project since its inception and prior when both Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle worked with different organizations.  And the same can be said of his surviving wife, Lois.  Bert and Lois were married 65 years and lived in Santa Cruz, CA for the past 50.  The staff and board of GJEP send their sincere condolences to the Muhly family.-The GJEP Team

On July 19, 1979 I was in the Florida Keys when I heard the news that the Sandinista National Liberation Front (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN) overthrew the US backed Anastasio Somoza regime in Nicaragua.  ¡Viva Nicaragua Libre!  I didn’t know it at the time, but that day and revolution led me to the Nicaragua Network and subsequently to Nicaragua many times in the 1990s thru the early 2000s (even though the Sandinistas lost governance of Nicaragua by then through a counter-revolutionary “Contra” war sponsored by the US).   I doubt if I would have ever met Bert Muhly if it wasn’t for the Sandinistas.

I’m not sure when I first met Bert and Lois.  It could have been in Vermont one year when the Nicaragua Network had a National Leadership meeting on a cold and rainy weekend at Wheelock Farm.  It could have been in Washington, DC where Nicaragua Network has its national office or it could have been in Santa Cruz at another Nicaragua Network event.  Sometimes it’s easier for me to remember the circumstances instead of the exact place where an event happened.

Wherever it was, meeting Bert was an event.  Bert seemed larger than life in many ways.  And Bert liked to talk a lot.  I remember Lois nudging him several times at meetings, giving him a ‘please shut up Bert’ look.  When I started to know Bert, it was evident that he was fired with compassion and revolutionary love.

Santa Cruz Sentinel:  Muhly traveled more than two dozen times to Nicaragua, including once to deliver a donated ambulance to Santa Cruz’s sister city of Jinotepe. He was strongly opposed to the Contra movement of the 1980s, which was backed by President Ronald Reagan’s administration to battle the Sandanistas after an overthrow of the country’s dictator.

Our friendship grew over the years and both Anne Petrmann and I had the pleasure of staying at Bert and Lois’ house several times.  It was a political house.  There was no way it could not have been.  Bert had been active in local politics since he and Lois moved to Santa Cruz and for years served on it’s City Council before he became vice mayor and then mayor.  To many people in California, Bert was known as “The Red Mayor of Santa Cruz.”  Bert was proud to be known for that he once told me.  He was also proud when he showed me a photograph of him shaking hands with an elderly gentleman.  He asked me if I knew who the man was or where the photo was taken.  I didn’t.  Bert said, “The photo was taken in Cuba and the man was Che Guevara’s father.”

Many Sandinistas and supporters passed through the Muhly home over the years.  Bert and Lois organized numerous Nicaragua Network national meetings in Santa Cruz.  I never heard anyone complain when it was decided the meetings would be in Santa Cruz.  Yes, there was the business of the network to discuss, but Bert, Lois and their friends knew how to throw a fiesta during the evenings.

I even had a photo show at the Muhly’s during one of the Nica Net meetings.  The front part of the house had my traveling Corporate Globalization vs Global Justice Guerrilla Photo Exhibit [archived web page] one evening in the latter part of 2004.  On another evening during the meetings, we showed a ten-minute promo video of A Silent Forest: The Growing Threat, Genetically Engineered Trees.  That promo, narrated by Dr. David Suzuki, was shown weeks later in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Bert and Lois along with Three Americas (more later), Steve Leinau from Earth Links and Raindancer Media‘s Ed Schehl produced the award winning A Silent Forest video that is still being shown today.  Global Justice Ecology Project was the expert consultant for the video.

Genetically engineered trees and crops were some of the latest egregious schemes that Bert wanted to stop. Bert was always concerned about the Earth we live on and what ‘development’ means.

Santa Cruz Sentinel: The former UC Santa Cruz and San Jose State University professor was remembered…as a passionate and diligent activist who, as part of the vanguard of California environmentalists in the 1960s, contributed to legislation that created the powerful Coastal Commission that now governs development along 1,100 miles of the state’s shoreline.

Muhly was an instructor in the environmental studies program at UC Santa Cruz and later the graduate planning program at San Jose State University, for a total of 19 years. He retired from San Jose State as professor emeritus in 1989 but maintained an active voice in local land use issues.

Bert was the co-founder of Three Americas which had its roots in the Santa Cruz Coalition for Nicaragua.  Bert told me that he and others, while Nicaragua and its peoples would always be in their hearts, felt that it was time to look at all of the Americas, as the problems of globalization, militarism, Indigenous Peoples’ struggles and all of the ills of Capitalism continue to worsen and impact peoples and the environment throughout the Hemisphere.

The accomplishments of Three Americas are too numerous to go into detail, but they include work with coffee cooperatives in Guatemala, land rights issues with the Rama Indigenous Peoples in Nicaragua, and many more projects.

I know those who met and worked with Bert are honored to have been in his presence.  I know I am.  The last time I saw Bert was in February of last year.  Anne Petermann and I had lunch with Bert and Lois at their home.  Bert was as committed and determined as ever to the struggle.  He bombarded us with a long list of projects that needed to be done and ideas to fulfill to make the world a better place for all–now it’s up to us to carry on.

Earth Links:  Bert Muhly’s Legacy

As an original member of the Santa Cruz Coalition for Nicaragua, and then founding board member of Three Americas, Inc., Bert Muhly personified the spirit of people-to-people exchanges, which reach across great distances to bind together those who would protect our environment and our most vulnerable citizens. This work is a wonderful example of what a few committed individuals can accomplish, even against long odds, when they work together.

¡Bert Muhly Presente!

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Filed under Corporate Globalization, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Latin America-Caribbean

Amador Hernández Thanks GJEP for Medical Support

Back in November, GJEP received a request from the community of Amador Hernández, Chiapas, to help them collect funds to bring a shipment of supplies from Mexico City. The request came in the wake of our work uncovering the Mexican authorities’ withdrawal of government medical services to the community (documented in this video).
Even with our extremely scarce resources, we were able to mobilize our members and supporters to quickly raise the bulk of the money the community requested. This kind of direct funding support falls outside of the immediate mission of the organization, but well within our values and commitment as participants in social struggle — and so we are pleased and humbled to share the brief letter of appreciation we’ve just received from the community authorities in Amador Hernández.
The letter ends with a phrase in Tzotzil — Te Nix Ya Llil sba Te me Yax Chamotik ta Lucha. For more context, and another look at where that phrase fits in, see Jeff Conant and Orin Langelle’s article in Z magazine, Turning the Lacandon Jungle Over the Carbon Market.
– the GJEP team
Ejido Amador Hernández
01 de Diciembre de 2011
Dear compañeros at GJEP:

By this means we want to extend our most sincere gratitude for the efforts you have made in raising $ 620 to make it possible to transport medicine and medical equipment to our community.

Even though we are still waiting for the funds that were raised, we express that we value immensely the effort, energy and time you have put into working for the benefit of our community. We are very pleased by the support you have given us to strengthen our health and our process of struggle.

Courage and strength in your work and struggle, we appreciate what you do and we will continue just as ready to fight from our territories and we hope to keep walking together.

Francisco Hernández Maldonado
Comisariado Ejidal
Juan Lorenzo Lorenzo
Agente Auxiliar

 Te Nix Ya Llil sba Te me Yax Chamotik ta Lucha 

(Anyway we are going to die in the struggle)
Ejido Amador Hernández
01 de Diciembre del 2011
Estimados compañeros del GJEP:
     Por este medio queremos hacerles llegar nuestros más sinceros agradecimientos por el esfuerzo que han hecho en recaudar 620 dolares para hacer posible transportar medicinas y equipos médicos a nuestra comunidad.
     Aunque quedamos a la espera de los fondos recaudados queremos expresarles que valoramos inmensamente el esfuerzo, la energía y el tiempo que han empleado en trabajar para el beneficio de nuestra comunidad. Estamos muy contentos por el apoyo que nos han brindado para ir fortaleciendo nuestra salud y nuestro proceso de lucha.
     Ánimo y fuerza en su trabaja y lucha, apreciamos lo que hacen y nosotros de igual manera seguiremos en pie de lucha desde nuestros territorios y ojala sigamos caminando juntos.
ATTE.
Francisco Hernádez Maldonado
Comisariado Ejidal
Juan Lorenzo Lorenzo
Agente Auxiliar
Te Nix Ya Llil sba Te me Yax Chamotik ta Lucha
(De todos modos nos moriremos en la lucha)

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Chiapas, Climate Justice, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean