Tag Archives: brazil

Brazil: Canadian gold mine loses license

July 1, 2014. Source: WW4 Report

http://infoamazonia.org

http://infoamazonia.org

Brazilian federal judge Claudio Henrique de Pina has revoked Toronto-based Belo Sun Mining Corp.‘s environmental license for the construction of the $750 million Volta Grande open-pit gold mine near the Xingu river in the northern state of Pará, the federal Public Ministry office in the state announced the evening of June 25. Upholding a suspension ordered last November, the judge ruled that Belo Sun had failed to address the “negative and irreversible” impact the mine would have on three indigenous groups in the area, the Paquiçamba, the Arara da Volta Grande and the Ituna/Itatá. The communities are already under threat from the construction of the nearby Belo Monte dam, which will cut water flows by 80% to 90% when it goes into operation, according to the government’s National Indigenous Foundation (FUNAI).

A Belo Sun news release said the decision only means that the company needs to complete a five-month impact study; it has already commissioned the study, which will start as soon as researchers have permission to access indigenous lands, according to the news release. The mine was expected to open in 2016 and to produce 313,100 ounces of gold each year over a 10-year lifetime; if built, it will be the largest gold mine in Brazil. Belo Sun’s shares were down nearly 10% on the Toronto Stock Exchange by noon on June 26. (Ministério Público Federal no Pará press release, June 25; Reuters, June 26; Mining.com, June 26). This is the latest in a series of reversals for gold mining projects in Latin America, most notably Barrick Gold’s mammoth Pascua Lama mine on the Argentine-Chilean border in the Andes. Continue reading

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Repressing World Cup protests — a booming business for Brazil

By Anna Feigenbaun, June 18, 2014. Source: Waging Non Violence

A tear gas canister made by Rio-based Condor Nonlethal Technologies found on the streets of Ankara, Turkey in 2013.  Photo by Suzette Grillot

A tear gas canister made by Rio-based Condor Nonlethal Technologies found on the streets of Ankara, Turkey in 2013. Photo by Suzette Grillot

 

On June 12, Brazilian police fired tear gas on a group of 50 unarmed marchers blocking a highway leading to the World Cup arena in São Paulo. On June 15 in Rio de Janeiro another 200 marchers faced floods of tear gas and stun grenades in their approach to Maracana stadium. Armed with an arsenal of less lethal weapons and employing tactics imported from U.S. SWAT teams in the early 2000s, police clad in riot gear are deploying forceful tactics, wielding batons and releasing chemical agents at close range. In Brazil, this style of protest policing is not only a common form of political control, but also a booming business. Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Political Repression, South America

Brazil: homeless win some in the World Cup

June 17, 2014. Source: WW4 Report

 

http://vid.alarabiya.net

Photo from http://vid.alarabiya.net

The governments of Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff and São Paulo mayor Fernando Haddad reached an agreement on June 9 with the Homeless Workers Movement (MTST) ending the threat that the group’s protests would disrupt the June 12 opening game of the 2014 World Cup soccer championship. Officials agreed to build some 2,000 housing units in vacant private land where about 4,000 homeless people had set up an encampment, “The People’s Cup,” near the site of the first game, São Paulo’s Arena Corinthians. The land occupation started a month earlier as a protest against the allocation of money to sports events rather than inexpensive housing. The MTST also won greater flexibility in the implementation of a federal housing program and a commitment to create a federal commission to prevent forced displacements of homeless people. In exchange the MTST in effect agreed to end its mobilizations, which were the largest of the protests that swept São Paulo in previous weeks.

“It’s worth emphasizing that this victory was the result of the mobilizations in the streets,” MTST national coordinator Guilherme Boulos said, “of an advance in the direction of popular power which benefits not just the MTST but also the whole range of the country’s housing policies.” (Los Angeles Times, June 9, from correspondent; Adital, Brazil, June 11; La Jornada, Mexico, June 11, from unidentified wire services) Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Land Grabs, Political Repression

Sport shock doctrine

By Andalusia Knoll, June 11, 2014. Source: Upside Down World

 

Photo from Upside Down World

Photo from Upside Down World

Reviewed: Brazil’s Dance With the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics and the Fight for Democracy by Dave Zirin, (Haymarket Books, May, 2014).

A piece of street art, depicting a crying boy with a plate that holds a soccer ball in place of food has gone viral, exposing Brazil’s popular discontent with the World Cup. While the mural was painted after sports commentator Dave Zirin wrote his latest book Brazil’s Dance With the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics and the Fight for Democracy, the book contains an explanation of the image’s volatile history.  In Brazil’s Dance with the Devil, Zirin peels back the colorful FIFA curtain of publicity that currently blankets sporting sites across the globe to reveal the repression, deaths, displacement and corruption that paved the way to the 2014 World Cup, and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics to follow.

In this critical exposé, as in his other numerous books and articles, Zirin has the amazing ability to make sports interesting to those who have never been fans of spectator games. Brazil’s Dance with the Devil reveals a fascist history of the Olympics, a bleak history of the World Cup during military dictatorships, and the inspiring tales of thousands of people who struggled to keep the wrecking ball from demolishing their modest homes in the Rio poor marginalized hillside communities, called favelas.  Continue reading

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Filed under Political Repression, Politics, Waste

Brazil: strikes and protests greet World Cup

June 10, 2014. Source:WW4 Report

Photo from latinlink.usmediaconsulting.com

Photo from latinlink.usmediaconsulting.com

Transit workers started an open-ended strike in São Paulo on June 5, just one week before the city, Brazil’s largest, was to host the opening game of the June 12-July 13 World Cup soccer championship. According to the Subway Workers Union, the strike had paralyzed 30 of the city’s 60 subway stations as of June 6; some 20 million people live in the São Paulo metropolitan area, and the subways carry about 4.5 million riders each day. Angry riders smashed turnstiles the first day of the strike at the Itaquera station, near the Arena Corinthians, the site of the June 12 game. The next day, on June 6, police agents used nightsticks and tear gas on strikers at the central Ana Rosa station when they refused to move their picket line; at least three unionists were injured.

The strikers had rejected an 8.7% raise offered by the transit system’s management; they were also striking over safety and service issues. “It isn’t just a strike for our pay,” Camila Lisboa, a Subway Workers Union local leader, said at a meeting with leftist supporters. “We’re denouncing the corruption, the harassment of women, the constant failures. It’s the combination of these factors that makes the strike strong.” She said the strikers were using an open letter to riders to build support. Apparently no professional opinion surveys have been released on public reactions to the strike, but as of June 6 more than 77% of respondents to an online open-access poll at the R7 news website had said they backed the strikers. (CSP-Conlutas website, Brazil, June 6; La Jornada Mexico, June 6, June 7, both from unidentified wire services) Continue reading

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Sign on to STOP GE Trees in Brazil!

Please share as widely as possible!

Please sign your organization onto the letter below protesting the legalization of genetically engineered trees in Brazil. To sign on, please send your name, organization and country to the following address: info@globaljusticeecology.org  before June 15th.

Campaign to STOP GE Trees Sign On Statement to Support the call by Brazilian and Latin American groups to reject Genetically Engineered eucalyptus trees

(Sign on before 15 June!)
FuturaGene, a biotechnology firm owned by Brazilian pulp and paper company Suzano, has requested authorization from the Brazilian Biosafety Commission (CTNBio) for the commercial release of its genetically engineered eucalyptus trees in Brazil.A letter has been issued by Brazilian and Latin American organizations (including CEPEDES; Terra de Direitos and the Latin American Network against Plantations) to CTNBio to urge them to deny this approval. As the Brazilian Open Letter (attached below) explains, if approved, use of GE eucalyptus trees will aggravate the already well-known negative impacts that non-GE industrial eucalyptus tree plantations already pose to communities´ livelihoods.

We ask your organization to sign on to the statement below in support of this Brazilian letter, which will be sent to CTNBio, the Brazilian governmental institution in charge of authorizing the release of GMOs. Their letter expresses deep concern and urges the CTNBio not to authorize the commercial release of GE eucalyptus by Suzano/FuturaGene.

To sign on in support of this letter protesting the legalization of genetically engineered trees, please send us your name, organization and country to the following address: info@globaljusticeecology.org  before June 15th.

Thank you,

The Campaign to STOP GE Trees
 including Biofuelwatch, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, Global Justice Ecology Project, Indigenous Environmental Network, World Rainforest Movement

Statement in Support of the “Open Letter to CTNBio”:

The Campaign to Stop GE Trees, an international coalition of 248 groups from 49 countries, founded in 2004, supports a global ban on commercial deregulation of genetically engineered trees (also known as genetically modified trees) based on serious concerns about their impacts on biodiversity and human rights. The Campaign supports the position expressed herein, in solidarity with Brazilian and Latin American groups, calling upon CTNBio to pay heed to public resistance to GE trees and reject Futuragene’s request for commercial approval of GE trees.

The Campaign is joined by the undersigned organizations from around the world that endorse the call for a global ban on the release of genetically engineered trees into the environment, as well as those scientists and organizations that are calling for a moratorium on the release of GE trees until they are proven to have no damaging social or ecological impacts. As no such proof of safety currently exists, but there is significant evidence to the contrary, the release of GE trees must be stopped.

It is, for example, well-documented that increasing the growth rates of plantation trees (as Suzano has done with their GE eucalyptus
trees) results in the rapid expansion of plantations, not the opposite. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization between the years 1990 and 2010, the average yield of wood from plantations doubled, yet the amount of land occupied by those plantations increased over 60% from 97 million to 153 million hectares.

[http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1757e/i1757e.pdf, Table 5.5, page 94]

Additionally, in 2008, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, to which Brazil is a signatory, called for the application of the Precautionary Approach regarding GE trees, and a comprehensive and transparent assessment of their long-term social and ecological risks prior to any open release into the environment. If CTN Bio approves the commercialization of the GE eucalyptus in question, this decision would directly contravene decision IX/5(1) of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

The decision IX/5 (1) of the UN CBD Conference of the Partiesfrom 2008 states <http://www.cbd.int/decision/cop/?id=11648>

The Conference of the Parties, Urges Parties to:

(r) Reaffirm the need to take a precautionary approach when addressing the issue of genetically modified trees;

(s) Authorize the release of genetically modified trees only after completion of studies in containment, including in greenhouse and confined field trials, in accordance with national legislation where existent, addressing long–term effects as well as thorough, comprehensive, science-based and transparent risk assessments to avoid possible negative environmental impacts on forest biological diversity; [1]/

(t) Also consider the potential socio-economic impacts of genetically modified trees as well as their potential impact on the livelihoods of indigenous and local communities;

(u) Acknowledge the entitlement of Parties, in accordance with their domestic legislation, to suspend the release of genetically modified trees, in particular where risk assessment so advises or where adequate capacities to undertake such assessment is not available;

(v) Further engage to develop risk-assessment criteria specifically for genetically modified trees;

(w) Note the results of the Norway – Canada Workshops on Risk Assessment for emerging applications for Living Modified Organisms (UNEP/CBD/BS/COP-MOP/4/INF/13);

(x) Welcome the decision of the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Cartagena Protocol to establish an Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Risk Assessment and Risk Management that is also mandated to address the issue of genetically modified trees;

(y) Collaborate with relevant organizations on guidance for risk assessment of genetically modified trees and guidance addressing potential negative and positive environmental and socio – economic impacts on the conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity associated with the use of genetically modified trees;

(z) Provide the available information and the scientific evidence regarding the overall effects of genetically modified trees on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity to the Executive Secretary for dissemination through the clearing-house mechanism;

[1]/ Where applicable, risks such as cross-pollination and spreading of seeds should be specifically addressed.

We therefore support the call to CTNBio and the Brazilian government made by Brazilian and Latin American groups to reject the application of Futuragene to commercially plant genetically engineered eucalyptus trees.

Signed:

The Campaign to STOP GE Trees (International)

Global Justice Ecology Project (US)

EcoNexus (Europe, UK)

Indigenous Environmental Network (North America)

Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (Canada)

Biofuelwatch (US, UK)

World Rainforest Movement

For your information

Brazilian OPEN LETTER TO BE SENT TO CTNBio

OPEN LETTER TO BE SENT TO CTNBio

To: Brazilian National Technical Biosafety Commission (CTNBio)

We, the undersigned, have been informed that FuturaGene, a biotechnology firm wholly owned by the pulp and paper company Suzano, has submitted a request for commercial planting of its yield enhanced genetically modified eucalyptus trees.

Suzano/FuturaGene, as well as other companies like Fibria (ex-Aracruz) and ArborGen, have been conducting research and field experiments on GM Trees for years.

Suzano/FuturaGene´s interest has been to increase the productivity of their tree plantations. They argue that their new GM tree will result in a 20% increase in productivity and by doing so will increase “competitiveness and environmental and socio-economic gains through higher productivity using less land and therefore overall lower chemical inputs and lowered carbon release, as well as making land available for food production or conservation and enhancing the income of outgrowers.” (1) These myths do not stand up to real facts and are addressed below.

GM TREES WILL ADD TO THE PROBLEMS CAUSED BY INDUSTRIAL TREE PLANTATIONS, NOT REDUCE THEM

The use of faster growing GM trees in industrial plantations will exacerbate the already well-known negative social and environmental impacts caused by industrial tree plantations while introducing yet further impacts and knock-on effects due to the additional risks inherent to genetic engineering.

Industrial tree plantation companies have long promised that gains in productivity would lead to less land use. This is a myth. In Brazil, for example, where the productivity of monoculture tree plantations per hectare increased from 27 m3/ha/year in the 1980s to 44 m3/ha/year currently, the area covered by plantations has increased from about 4 million hectares at the end of the 1980s to more than 7.2 million hectares today. Historically, there is thus no evidence that in Brazil, increases in productivity led to less land being occupied by industrial tree plantations. A newly formed association, Indústria Brasileira de Árvores (Ibá), representing the Brazilian industrial tree plantation industry states that they intend to double the area of industrial tree plantations to 14 million hectares by 2020.

SUZANO SEEKS TO EXPLOIT NEW MARKETS FOR PLANTATION TREES

Suzano recently opened a new pulp mill in the state of Maranhão with an 1.5 million tons/year capacity. Huge areas of land covered with tree monocultures will be needed to fulfill Suzano’s wood demand for pulp, as well as for an added demand, in particular its plans to explore new uses of its wood with a project in the same state to produce and export wood pellets for energy production, to cofire with coal in the UK. The use of biomass for industrial scale energy production remains highly controversial, and its negative social, environmental and climate impacts have been documented widely. Both the pulp and wood pellet projects aim solely at profiting from new market opportunities, which is the mission of Suzano.

BRAZILIAN PEOPLE AND ENVIRONMENT WOULD PAY THE COSTS

While profits from this expansion accrue to Suzano shareholders, the social, ecological and economic costs as well as increased risk to regional food sovereignty and health will be borne by the Brazilian public, and local communities surrounded by plantations in particular.
Many and serious conflicts over access to land already exist, and living conditions of communities surrounded by Suzano’s operations have deteriorated to the point that communities are now struggling to guarantee their food sovereignty and are increasingly at risk of losing their territories (2) .

GM CROPS LEAD TO INCREASED APPLICATIONS OF AGROTOXINS

Further, there is no plausible reason to expect that the use of “chemical inputs”, including agrotoxins, will decrease as a result of planting GM trees. On the contrary, it will increase with the increasing occupation of land which is planned to take place and the intensification of growing cycles and the ensuing nutrient depletion of soil and land. Brazil, sadly, is already the world’s leading consumer of agrotoxins, causing injury to hundreds if not thousands of victims per year, putting further strain on already insufficient public health provision. Industrial tree monocultures, lacking biodiversity, and promoted at very large scale, will augment the application of agrotoxins by huge amounts. The argument used by the GM technology lobby that the introduction of GM crops—such as soy and maize—results in less use of pesticides and fertilizers has already been proven to be false. In countries including Brazil, Argentina, and the United States – front-runners in GM soy & maize production—research has shown not a decrease, but rather an alarming increase in the use of agrotoxins (3).

DAMAGING SOIL AND WATER SUPPLIES

Genetically modifying trees to make them grow faster, while planting them on a continuously expanding portion of the land in ever larger industrial tree plantations, will only lead to further depletion of soil nutrients and fresh water. This is especially true for eucalyptus trees, already notorious for their voracious water consumption, which has been shown to result in the overall drying out of surrounding soils, springs and waterways. Communities living around non-GM tree plantations within and outside of Brazil have already widely reported water shortage and soil depletion. The introduction of faster growing GM Trees will only further aggravate this situation.

UNEXPECTED NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF GM CROPS COULD BE EVEN WORSE IN GM TREES

Serious uncertainties exist with respect to the potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of genetically engineered trees. Unexpected effects have already been reported for GM food crops, including for example the proliferation of herbicide resistant weeds, the emergence of secondary pests decimating crops, altered fertility such as higher rates of outcrossing, as well as increased allergenicity. Given the long and often complex life-cycle of trees and their interaction with biodiversity, predicting the outcomes and impacts of GM trees is practically impossible. While eucalyptus is non-native to Brazil, it is widely planted, and contamination of non-GM eucalyptus trees by GM eucalyptus is another serious risk, although FuturaGene, paradoxically, welcomes it (4). Will it alter invasiveness, attract new pests, weaken or deter predators? Such questions have neither been asked nor are there data to provide answers. The catalog of risks is high.

Based on the history of industrial tree plantations and the introduction of GM crops in general, we object to and deny industry’s claim that society as a whole would benefit from the commercial release and planting of GM trees. Existing evidence points squarely into the opposite direction. The only benefit we see from this new high-risk technology with unknown future impact (and possible associated incalculable cost) is that of increased profits to Suzano’s shareholders.

WE URGE NOT TO AUTHORIZE THE COMMERCIAL RELEASE OF GM TREES

For the aforementioned reasons, scientists, lawyers and organizations around the world are calling for a global moratorium on the commercial release of genetically modified trees, due to their unknown but potentially severe social and ecological impacts and incalculable economic risks, which would overwhelmingly accrue to the public.

Therefore, the undersigned organizations and people wish to express their deep concern and urge the CTNBio not to authorize the commercial release of yield enhanced GE eucalyptus by Suzano/FuturaGene or by any other company that also has, or will present in future, a request for such a release.

Signatures follow

Notes

1- See FuturaGene web site at http://www.futuragene.com

2 -
http://wrm.org.uy/pt/livros-e-relatorios/plantacoes-de-eucalipto-para-energia-o-caso-da-suzano-no-baixo-parnaiba-maranhao-brasil/

3 – See
http://www.gmwatch.org/files/GMsoy_Sust_Respons_SUMMARY_SPA_v1.pdf

4 – See
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/nov/15/gm-trees-bred-world-energy


http://www.wrm.org.uy

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Genetic Engineering, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Will Julian Assange be moving to a squatters’ settlement in Brazil?

By Ben Dangl, May 22, 2014. Source: VICE

Members of the Landless Workers' Movement (MST) take part in a march along the streets of São Paulo, Brazil, on May 8, 2014. Photo: Reginaldo Castro/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) take part in a march along the streets of São Paulo, Brazil, on May 8, 2014. Photo: Reginaldo Castro/AFP/Getty Images

On May 14, João Paulo Rodrigues, a leader of Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), met with Julian Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The two men discussed ways in which Latin American social movements might help Wikileaks. Following their two-hour discussion, the leader told Assange, “If you need asylum in Brazil, we offer our land settlements.” Assange responded with a hug.

The day after the meeting with Rodrigues, Wikileaks tweeted, “Brazil’s MST offers asylum to Julian #Assange in autonomous region.”

Now, as everyone knows, Julian Assange took refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London (Ecuador has granted Assange asylum) after Sweden called for his arrest following serious sexual assault charges, which Assange claims are a ruse designed to pave the way for his extradition to the US. If Assange leaves the embassy he will be arrested; the embassy is patrolled 24 hours a day by police. It’s not clear if, or how, he’ll ever leave.

If the escape-to-Ecuador plans fall through—and with Assange in Washington’s cross hairs, it’s likely they will (Assange himself believes if Sweden gets a hold of him he will be extradited to the US to face espionage charges)—what would asylum on an MST settlement mean for the Wikileaks head honcho? Would he become a farmer? Would he have an internet connection? What, exactly, is an MST “autonomous region”? Continue reading

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Gunmen in Brazil caught on video shooting at Indigenous Guarani

By Rick Kearns, April 18, 2014. Source: Indian Country Today Media Network

Photo: Aty Guasu/Survival International

Photo: Aty Guasu/Survival International

Hired gunmen firing at Guarani in Brazil were filmed recently by the indigenous people who are continuing their struggle to regain stolen territory.

According to Survival International (SI), which posted the video on their website, gunmen have been terrorizing the Guarani of Pyelito Kue since they returned to their ancestral land last month, years after the government had officially recognized their right to move back, forcing the rancher on that land to move out.

On Monday, April 7 they filmed two armed men shooting at them “in broad daylight.”


Continue reading

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Filed under Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, War