Via Campesina position on biofuels

Check also Oxfam report Another Inconvenient Truth

and previous article Food security: below and to the left

24th June 2008

The current massive wave of investment in energy production based on
cultivating and industrial processing of vegetal materials like corn,
soy, palm oil, sugar cane, canola, etc, will neither solve the
climate crisis nor the energy crisis. It will also bring disastrous
social and environmental consequences. It creates a new and very
serious threat to food production by small farmers and to the
attainment of food sovereignty for the world population.

Over the last twenty years the neoliberal policies adopted globally
have failed to answer people’s basic needs. The FAO promises at the
1996 World Food Summit and the UN Millenium Development Goals to lift
people out of poverty have not been kept. Many more people are
suffering form hunger.

It is claimed that agrofuels will help fight climate change. In
reality, the opposite is true. The new extensive monoculture
plantations for the production of agrofuels are increasing greenhouse
gases through deforestation, drainage of wetlands, and dismantling
communal lands. If we take into account the whole cycle of
production, transformation, distribution of agrofuels, they do not
produce less greenhouse gases than fossil fuels, except in some
cases. Moreover, agrofuels will never be able to replace fossil
fuels. According to the latest estimates, they will only cover the
future rise in consumption from now until 2020. There is simply not
enough land in the world to generate all the fuel necessary for an
industrial society whose needs for transport of people and goods are
continually increasing. The promise of agrofuels creates the illusion
that we can continue to consume energy at an ever growing rate. The
only answer to the threat of climate change is to reduce energy use
worldwide, and to redirect international trade towards local markets.

Meanwhile, the social and ecological impacts of agrofuel development
will be devastating. Monoculture and industrial agriculture, whether
for agrofuel or any other production, are destroying land, forests,
water and biodiversity. They drive family farmers, men and women, off
their land. It is estimated that five million farmers have been
expelled from their land to create space for monocultures in
Indonesia; five million in Brazil, four million in Colombia…
Industrial agriculture generates much less employment than
sustainable family farming; this is an agriculture without farmers.

The current expansion of agrofuel production contributes to the
massive concentration of capital by landowners, large companies and
TNCs, provoking a real counter land reform throughout the world.
Moreover it contributes to increased speculation on food products and
land prices.

Agrofuel production has already started to replace food production.
Its ongoing extension will drive even more small scale farmers and
indigenous peoples off their lands. Instead of dedicating land and
water to food production, these resources are being diverted to
produce energy in the form of diesel and ethanol. Today peasants and
small farmers, indigenous people, women and men, produce the huge
majority of the food consumed worldwide. If not prevented now,
agrofuels will occupy our lands and food will become even more scarce
and expensive.

Who would eat agrofuels?

A new alliance of some governments with automotive and chemical
companies, oil and agro-industry is promoting agrofuels with the sole
objective of making money. The fear of climate change and energy
crisis is used to develop agrofuel production in a manner that
maintains and strengthens an agro-industrial model. Knowing that
this model is, in itself, a major cause of climate change and an
intensive energy consumer, is no obstacle.

Technology and market control of the TNCs strengthen and increase
their hold over the agrarian sector. The family farmers whose food
production has been based on traditional seeds, are displaced, their
coexistence with biodiversity, their way of producing energy by human
and animal force are disrupted. Their way of life uses much less
energy per unit of food produced, and specially, fewer fossil fuels.

Agribusiness companies are aware that agrofuels produced on a large
scale are not economically viable. The race towards agrofuels is
made possible by the huge direct and indirect subsidies from
supporting governments and by speculation on the financial markets,
which is also causing food prices to rise.

The figures cited are alarming. Millions of hectares and billions of
dollars are mentioned: the government of India is contemplating
planting 14 million hectares with “jatrofa”, the Inter-American Bank
of Development says that Brazil has 120 million hectares ready for
agrofuel production and a business lobby suggests that there are 397
million hectares available in 15 African countries. This means a
level of expropriations without precedent.

While TNCs and investment funds increase their profits, a large part
of the world population does not have enough money to buy food.
Agrofuels are estimated to be responsible for 30% of the current food
price crisis.

When the TNCs are unable to find farmland for agrofuel production,
deforestation is forced on areas that are necessary for the
preservation of life on earth.

Thousands of farmers have no alternative but to accept to grow
agrofuels as they need an income to support themselves till the next
season. National and international agricultural policies imposed by
international financial institutions and TNCs have exacerbated the
dependence of developing countries, leading to food crisis, extreme
poverty, and hunger throughout the world. Therefore, those small
farmers are not guilty of making the wrong choice they are the
victims of the current system imposed on them.

Small farmers and agricultural workers, working in extremely harsh
conditions with damaging effects on their health, with very poor
income have no say in the way their production is used. Many are
working under contract farming with large agribusiness companies that
process, refine and sell the product. Therefore it is the companies
who decide to channel the produce to the fuel rather than to the food
market. The high food prices paid by the consumers are not reflected
in the small farmers’ income.

In response to energy crisis: small scale production and local

Small scale sustainable farming is essential to feed the world.
Sustainable family farming and food sovereignty consume up to 80 times
less energy than industrial agriculture.

Food sovereignty primarily involves the use of local resources for
food production, minimizing imports of raw materials as well as
transport. Likewise, the food produced is consumed locally so that
the end product does not travel far. It is not logical to eat, in
Europe, aspargus coming all the way from the Altiplano or fresh green
beans coming from Kenya.

Throughout the history of farming, villagers have obtained energy
from their farmland to meet their daily needs. Peasant families are
using coconut or sunflower oil, biogas, firewood, wind and water to
generate electricity for local use. Such methods are sustainable and
integrated into the food production cycle on the farmland.

It is imperative to design and adopt responsible attitudes to food
consumption and to adjust our way of eating, in the knowledge that the
industrial model of production and consumption is destructive, while
the peasant-based model of production uses responsible energy

Therefore, Via Campesina continues its struggle against the power of
large corporations and supporting political systems. The energy
crisis should not be seen as an isolated problem but as part of the
whole crisis of the current model of development where profit has
priority over people.

Instead, we support a people centered, small-scale diversified
agriculture with local markets and healthy livelihoods using less
energy and less dependent on external sources. Sustainable family
farmers fulfill the fundamental mission of agriculture: to feed

Via Campesina denounces:

+ The neoliberal model, international financial institutions and
transnational capital, directly responsible for the food and the
climate crisis.

+ The irresponsible presentation of agrofuels as an answer to the
climate and energy crisis

+ The scandal of producing agrofuels in a world ravaged by hunger.

+ The passive attitude of many institutions faced with the serious
risk posed by the advent of agrofuels which implies that rural and
urban populations can neither produce nor consume food.

+ That these same institutions are in fact placing the economic
interests of TNCs above the food and nutritional needs of the very
people they are entrusted to represent and defend.

+ The insult of continuing to promote agrofuels in spite of the
negative energy balance in their production, processing, and

+ The neoliberal model, international financial institutions and
transnational capital, directly responsible for the food and the
climate crisis.

Via Campesina demands:

The end of corporate driven, monoculture- based production of
agrofuels. As a first step, a five year international moratorium on
the production, trade and consumption of industrial agrofuels has to
be immediately declared.

An in-depth evaluation of social and environment cost of the agrofuel
boom and of profits made by TNCs in the processing and trade of the
raw materials.

The promotion and development of small scale production and local
consumption models and the rejection of consumerism

Explicit support from governments and institutions to the sustainable
peasant-based model of food production and distribution, with its
minimal use of energy, its capacity to create jobs, to respect
cultural and biological diversity and its positive effect on global
warming (fertile soils are the best way to capture CO2).

The reorientation of agricultural policies towards sustainable rural
communities and livelihoods based on food sovereignty and genuine
agrarian reform.

The promotion and development of responsible consumption models.

Let’s put out the fire of agrofuels and carry the flame of food


June 25, 2008 at 11:43 am Leave a comment

Gambling with lives and nature

See article below regarding the world-wide release of the photos and videos showing the existence of non-contacted indigenous groups in the border region between Brazil and Peru. Although indigenous organizations, scholars, and other national and institutional bodies already knew about these groups, the story was sold as if a new discovery was made in order to generate world wide awareness and halt logging operations in the area.

Nevertheless we should be cautious with this approach as it seems the only requisite for the States and industries to stop extractive operations in these areas is the existence of non-contacted tribes. What about other areas where we find contacted indigenous people who have chosen a life style not based on the rampant consumerism of the neoliberal world system?, what about areas which are considered sacred by the indigenous peoples who have been living there for centuries?

We must be careful with using photographs and other “proves” as the only way to stop unsustainable developments in the Amazon. Do indigenous groups must prove their indigenousness to the dominant societies? what does it mean to be ‘indigenous’ for the dominant society?. We should put more energy on proving why we should not expand the extractive frontiers to sensitive areas. We should prove there are other ways of development which do not require to gamble with the existence of non contacted indigenous groups and do not require to put a price to lives and nature.

See also related article here in English and Spanish

22/6/08 * Observer *
Secret of the ‘lost’ tribe that wasn’t

Tribal guardian admits the Amazon Indians’ existence was already known, but
he hoped the publicity would lift the threat of logging

Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor

They are the amazing pictures that were beamed around the globe: a handful
of warriors from an ‘undiscovered tribe’ in the rainforest on the
Brazilian-Peruvian border brandishing bows and arrows at the aircraft that
photographed them.

Or so the story was told and sold. But it has now emerged that, far from
being unknown, the tribe’s existence has been noted since 1910 and the
mission to photograph them was undertaken in order to prove that
‘uncontacted’ tribes still existed in an area endangered by the menace of
the logging industry.

The disclosures have been made by the man behind the pictures, José Carlos
Meirelles, 61, one of the handful of sertanistas – experts on indigenous
tribes – working for the Brazilian Indian Protection Agency, Funai, which is
dedicated to searching out remote tribes and protecting them.


June 23, 2008 at 10:52 am Leave a comment

Ecuadorian and Peruvian government hunting for indigenous land

El Gobierno de Peru y Ecuador a la caza de territorios indígenas. Versión en español más abajo tras la version en inglés

It seems that the two unlike governments of Peru and Ecuador are both hunting for indigenous lands. Garcia’s Peru is determined to its mission of deregulation demanded by the Free Trade Agreement signed with USA. Therefore, the president has just issued a Decree that give the State access to indigenous lands, which are inalienable according to 1993 constitution (see article below). Ecuador´s current leftish government, although has rule out any possibility of a free trade agreement with USA thanks to the indigenous, peasant, and social movilizations of 2006, is now moving a step backwards from ILO Convention 169 approved in 1998, by issuing the Decree 1040 which clearly curtails the right of participation of indigenous peoples in any administrative or legislative measure that may affect them (see article in resistance session here)

‘La Primera’ newspaper, 20th May 2008 –

Legislative Decree 1015 which orders abolition of the peasant community in Peru is undemocratic, given that there has been no consultation with the community members; antisocial, given that it encourages the creation of large estates, mainly foreign; and unconstitutional, since it violates Articles 88 and 89 of the Charter.
This decree, published yesterday in ‘El Peruano’, arrogantly begins by stating that its purpose is ‘implemention of the Peru-USA Agreement on the Promotion of Trade’. That is, the Free Trade Agreement.
A partial confession. The item explains what interests (or orders) are those which inspire the series on ‘The gardener’s dog syndrome’ which President Alan García has published over a period of months in ‘El Comercio’.
The first article, published on 28th October 2007, declared war on the communities. Their land, it said, ‘sold in big parcels would bring technology which would also benefit the community member’ (who would no longer be a community member, but a labourer for an estate owner, Chilean at best, or of a large mining company).
We foresaw it immediately. And we condemn the ignorance of García, who affirmed in that text that the communities were the creation of Viceroy Toledo. He is unaware that those institutions originated for the most part with the pre-Hispanic Ayllu.


June 5, 2008 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

People’s Summit Linking Alternatives III Declaration

People’s Summit Linking Alternatives III Declaration (13-16 Mayo 2008 -Lima)

Environmentalists got access to Macchu Picchu for a controversial protest. As the heads of state of Europe and Latin America meet in Lima, Greenpeace asked for the end of biofuel production in the region.

Ecologistas acceden al Machu Pichu para singular protesta. En el marco del encuentro de mandatarios de Europa y América Latina [en Lima], Greenpeace pidió el cese de producción de biocombustibles en la región.
Fotografía por InfoBae. Mayo 2008.

Social, political and popular movements, workers, migrants, indigenous and campesino communities, women’s, youth and trade union movements from Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, gathered in Lima for the People’s Summit, Linking Alternatives III, declare the following :

Cooperation and integration of our peoples is created by constructing a system in which economic, political, social, cultural and environmental rights of the majority are given priority and form the very substance of governmental policies. As a result we reject the project of Association Agreements proposed by the European Union and backed by diverse Latin American and Caribbean governments which only aim to deepen and perpetuate the current system of domination which has caused so much harm to our peoples.

The European Union strategy “Global Europe : Competing in the world” pushes for the deepening of policies of competition and economic growth, the implementation of multinational companies’ agenda and the entrenchment of neoliberal policies, all of which are incompatible with the discourse of climate change, poverty reduction and social cohesion. Despite trying to hide its true nature by including themes such as international aid and political dialogue, the core of the proposal is to open up capital, goods and services markets, to protect foreign investment and to reduce the state’s capacity to promote economic and social development. This has implications for both regions :

For Latin America and the Caribbean, this strategy reproduces the framework of Free Trade Agreements which the majority of countries in the region have signed with the United States and goes further than the WTO policies that we reject. European multinationals are responsible in large part for the indiscriminate exploitation of natural resources of these countries, displacing entire countries, devastating biodiversity, exhausting water sources, and impoverishing the workforce. Latin America has been a victim for many years of looting by multinational companies. Now as democratic advances stimulate some countries to seek their own development and integration paths in order to benefit peoples, other governments who continue with free trade recipes are involved in fragmenting the region and causing national and international confrontations.

In Europe, the Lisbon Treaty, one of the biggest threats to democracy, justice, peace and ecological balance, is currently being ratified by elites without consulting the population. We reject this Treaty as we have done before. This treaty reinforces a neoliberal Europe, increases militarisation, exclusion, inequality and commoditisation, as well as hardens repressive, security policies. This is reflected in growing precarious employment, a general attack on social rights, in particular on former labour conquests. At the same time, it is accelerating the construction of a “Fortress Europe,” which implies the closing of frontiers, violation of asylum rights, and the criminalisation of migrants and social movements, creating virtual and real walls which are no different from those constructed on the frontiers of North America.

The Association Agreements which the European Union has signed with Mexico and Chile have deepened inequalities and demonstrate what will happen to those who sign similar agreements in Central America, the Community of Andean Nations and MERCOSUR whose negotiations they want to resuscitate. For the Caribbean nations, these agreements, recently signed, will increase the vulnerability and dependence of these economies, whilst also breaking down the dynamic of sub-regional integration.

At a time in Lima when governments talk of social cohesion, climate change, and poverty reduction, it is important to remember that the principal cause of inequality, social polarisation, environmental degradation as well as discrimination, is the placing of the market above people’s rights and the granting of guarantees by complicit governments to corporations that eliminate the state’s capacity to define national development projects. Multinationals have double standards, benefiting themselves from the asymmetries that Association Agreements tend to reinforce. The discourse of International Aid and Political Dialogue is merely the sweetener to hide the real interests of these corporations.

In the face of the food crisis which is affecting many countries, we denounce the hypocrisy and policies of multilateral institutions (WTO, IMF, WB, IBD, EIB) who try to hide the real causes : the redirection of countries’ production towards exports, the loss of the State’s role in food regulation, the conversion of foods into a source of financial speculation, all of which are results of “free trade” policies. It is therefore unacceptable to propose more liberalisation and deregulation as a solution to the crisis. The massive production of agrofuels is also worsening the difficult living conditions for millions of people. We reject again this false solution to the energy and climate crisis.

Confronting this situation, the organisations which make up Linking Alternatives, reiterate that it is possible to create a different integration based on the free determination of peoples, respect for the environment, respect for human rights, and for the democratic processes led by some governments who are moving away from neoliberalism and looking for equal relations between peoples of the world. This will involve the strengthening of cooperation in all areas between peoples, the re-strengthening of solidarity, the end of all forms of discrimination, and the end of policies that violate a country’s sovereignty. As we have shown in the 2nd Permanent People’s Tribunal, we are asking for justice and reparations for the offences, harm and damage done by European companies, and the redefinition of relations with these companies in which they take responsibility for their social and environmental liabilities.

We salute the actions of nationalisation of strategic companies and natural resources for national development, resources which belong to the people not multinationals, such as for example the nationalisation of the Bolivian telecommunications company, ETI/ENTEL. We call on governments who promote progressive policies to join in with the process of transformation that we are pushing. We reject the defiant interventions of the US and the European Union against the sovereignty of the peoples. The European Union must take responsibility for the historic debt with the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean, in particular with indigenous peoples. We call attention to the dramatic situation in Haiti, result of decades of plunder, worsened by the current military occupation. Similarly we denounce the acquiescent European Union policies towards the Colombian government.

The only solution for the Latin American, Caribbean, and European peoples is to unite together in defence of wellbeing and strengthen resistance and mobilisation against neoliberal policies. We can inspire ourselves with the involvement of women, indigenous and campesino and other social forces, who via their massive presence in the Social Summit, have given an example of the combativeness and the elaboration of alternatives in search of progress based on harmony with nature, human rights and the elimination of all forms of discrimination.

We call on governments to respond effectively to the demands of peoples to construct another type of relationship between regions, based on overcoming a market model. We call on the population not to continue being tricked by authoritarian governments which try to criminalise just civil protest. We call on all peoples of Latin America, Caribbean and Europe to join the ever-growing number of organisations who are looking for a better world for everyone, and to be take on the challenges which today face humanity.

We ask all social and popular movements from both continents to start preparing for the next People’s Social Summit, Linking Alternatives IV, which will take place in Spain in 2010.

Versión en español

Declaración de la Cumbre de los Pueblos Enlazando Alternativas 3 (13-16 Mayo 2008 -Lima)

Las organizaciones sociales, políticas y populares, de trabajadores y trabajadoras, de migrantes, las comunidades indígenas y campesinas, el movimiento de mujeres, de jóvenes y sindical de América Latina, el Caribe y Europa, reunidos en Lima durante la Cumbre de los Pueblos, Enlazando Alternativas III, declaramos :

La cooperación y la integración de nuestros pueblos pasan en primer lugar por la construcción de un sistema en el cual los derechos económicos, políticos, sociales, culturales y ambientales de las mayorías sean prioridad y razón de ser de las políticas gubernamentales. Por lo mismo, rechazamos el proyecto de Acuerdos de Asociación propuesto por la Unión Europea y avalado por diversos gobiernos latinoamericanos y caribeños que solo buscan profundizar y perpetuar el actual sistema de dominación que tanto daño a hecho a nuestros pueblos.

La estrategia de la Unión Europea “Europa Global : Competir en el mundo”, supone la profundización de las políticas de competitividad y crecimiento económico que buscan implementar la agenda de sus transnacionales y profundizar las políticas neoliberales, incompatibles con el discurso sobre el cambio climático, la reducción de la pobreza y la cohesión social. A pesar de que se pretende velar su naturaleza incorporando temas de cooperación y diálogo político, la esencia de la propuesta es abrir los mercados de capitales, bienes y servicios, proteger la inversión extranjera y reducir la capacidad del Estado de promover el desarrollo económico y social. Esto tiene implicaciones en ambas regiones :

Para América Latina y el Caribe, esta estrategia reproduce el esquema de los Tratados de Libre Comercio que han suscrito la mayoría de países de la región con Estados Unidos y van más allá de las políticas de la OMC que rechazamos. Los recursos naturales de estos países están siendo explotados indiscriminadamente, desplazando a comunidades enteras, devastando la biodiversidad, agotando las fuentes hídricas, y pauperizando a la mano de obra, y en ello tienen mucha responsabilidad las multinacionales europeas. América Latina ha sido víctima secular del saqueo de las transnacionales y, ahora, cuando avances democráticos estimulan la búsqueda de caminos propios de desarrollo en diversos países y de formas de integración al servicio de los pueblos, varios gobiernos que siguen las recetas del libre comercio estimulan la fragmentación de la región, los enfrentamientos nacionales y las contradicciones entre ellos.

En Europa una de las grandes amenazas para la democracia, la justicia, la paz y el equilibrio ecológico, es el Tratado de Lisboa, que está siendo ratificado por las élites sin consultar a la población y que rechazamos como ya lo hicimos en el pasado. Este tratado refuerza una Europa neoliberal, aumenta la militarización, la exclusión, las desigualdades y la mercantilización, así como endurece las políticas securitarias-represivas. Ello se refleja en un aumento de la precariedad, un ataque generalizado a todos los derechos sociales, en particular a las conquistas laborales. Al mismo tiempo, se acelera la construcción de la “Europa Fortaleza”, lo que implica cerrar las fronteras, violando el derecho de asilo y criminalizando los migrantes y los movimientos sociales, creando muros virtuales o reales, que no se diferencian con los que construyen en la frontera al Norte de América.

Los Acuerdos de Asociación que ha firmado la Unión Europea con México y Chile han profundizado las desigualdades y muestran el camino que seguirán quienes firmen estos Acuerdos en Centro América, la Comunidad Andina de Naciones y el MERCOSUR cuyas negociaciones se quiere resucitar. Para los países del Caribe, estos Acuerdos, recientemente firmados, aumentarán la vulnerabilidad y dependencia de sus economías, al mismo tiempo que fracturan la dinámica de integración subregional.

En el momento en que en Lima los gobiernos hablan de cohesión social, cambio climático y reducción de la pobreza, conviene recordar que la principal causa de desigualdad, polarización social, degradación ambiental y discriminaciones, es la primacía del mercado por sobre los derechos de las personas y el otorgamiento de todas las garantías a las corporaciones que eliminan la capacidad estatal de definir proyectos nacionales de desarrollo con la complicidad de los gobiernos. Las transnacionales actúan bajo un doble rasero apoyándose en las asimetrías que los Acuerdos de Asociación tienden a reforzar. En consecuencia, el discurso sobre Cooperación y Diálogo Político es la carnada que esconde el anzuelo de los intereses de esas corporaciones.

Frente a la crisis alimentaria que afecta a decenas de países, denunciamos la hipocresía y las políticas de las instituciones multilaterales (OMC, FMI, BM, BID, BEI) que pretenden esconder sus verdaderas causas : direccionamiento de la producción de los países a la exportación, pérdida del papel del Estado en la regulación alimentaria y conversión de los alimentos en fuente de especulación financiera, todo ello como resultado de las políticas de “libre comercio”. Por lo mismo, es inadmisible que se proponga, como salida a la crisis, más liberalización y desprotección. La producción masiva de agrocombustibles agrava las ya difíciles condiciones de vida de millones de habitantes. Rechazamos una vez más esta pretendida salida a la crisis energética y climática.

Ante esta situación, las organizaciones que hacemos parte de Enlazando Alternativas, reiteramos que es posible una integración distinta basada en la libre determinación de los pueblos, el respeto al medio ambiente, a los derechos humanos y a los procesos democráticos emprendido por aquellos gobiernos que se alejan del neoliberalismo y buscan para sus pueblos relaciones de igualdad con todos los países del mundo. Esto supone el fortalecimiento de la cooperación en todos los ámbitos entre los pueblos, el reforzamiento de la solidaridad, el fin de toda forma de discriminaciones y la superación de prácticas violatorias de la soberanía de los países. Como ha mostrado la II Sesión del Tribunal Permanente de los Pueblos, exigimos justicia y la reparación de los agravios, daños y perjuicios, provocados por las empresas europeas, y el replanteamiento de las relaciones con estas empresas, de tal forma que asuman los pasivos sociales y ambientales en que incurren.

Saludamos las acciones de nacionalización de empresas estratégicas para el desarrollo nacional y los recursos naturales, que pertenecen a los pueblos, no a las transnacionales, como por ejemplo la de la empresa boliviana de telecomunicaciones ETI/ENTEL. Llamamos a los gobiernos que promuevan políticas progresistas a sumarse al proceso de transformación que impulsamos. Rechazamos las desafiantes intervenciones de EE.UU. y la Unión Europea contra la soberanía de los pueblos. La Unión Europea debe asumir su deuda histórica con los pueblos de América Latina y el Caribe, en particular con los pueblos originarios. Llamamos la atención sobre la dramática situación de Haití, resultado de décadas de expoliación, agravada por la actual ocupación militar. Así mismo denunciamos la política complaciente de la Unión Europea con el gobierno de Colombia.

La única salida de los pueblos latinoamericanos, caribeños y europeos es unirse en torno a la defensa de su bienestar y fortalecer la resistencia y movilización contra las políticas neoliberales. Ella debe nutrirse de los aportes de mujeres, pueblos originarios, campesinos y demás fuerza sociales que, con su presencia masiva en la Cumbre Social, han dado ejemplo de combatividad y de elaboración de alternativas en búsqueda de un progreso sustentado en la armonía con la naturaleza, los derechos humanos y la eliminación de todas las formas de discriminación.

Exigimos a los gobiernos atender efectivamente las demandas de los pueblos por construir otro tipo de relaciones entre las regiones, basadas en la superación del modelo de mercado. Hacemos un llamado a la población a no dejarse engañar más por gobiernos autoritarios que pretenden criminalizar la justa protesta civil. Instamos a los habitantes de América Latina, el Caribe y Europa a sumarse a la fuerza cada vez mayor de organizaciones que buscan un mundo mejor para todos, y así estar a la altura de los desafíos que hoy enfrenta la humanidad.

Invitamos a todas las organizaciones sociales y populares de ambos Continentes a preparar desde ahora la próxima Cumbre Social de los Pueblos, Enlazando Alternativas IV, que tendrá cita en el Estado Español en el año 2010.

June 3, 2008 at 2:48 pm Leave a comment

Food security: below and to the left

Food security:  below and to the left. Translated from Spanish by Martin Allen

Seguridad alimentaria: desde abajo y a la izquierda. Versión en español al final de la versión en inglés. Artículo enviado por Fabricio Guamán.

Aquaculture in Thailandia, Acuicultura en Tailandia

Raúl Zibechi, La Jornada, Friday, May 23rd , 2008

The current food crisis is one of the biggest challenges faced by the world’s poor, since it puts to the test their social and political movements as much as their means of survival.  As has been written in recent weeks, fierce speculation in commodities is palpable evidence of the decadence of capitalism, which can now survive only on the basis of ‘accumulation by dispossession’.  If neoliberalism is the war to appropriate natural resources or common property, the present speculation in food can be understood as a war against life (of the poor), a bio-political war of dominion over bodies.

Although the most serious and reliable analyses are accurate on the causes of the rise in food prices, they have not arrived at a time to propose solutions.    These will not come from above.  A recent article by Aníbal Quijano (‘Decolonialism of power:  the alternative horizon’) states that ‘Colonial/modern capitalism does not yet produce, nor will produce, more employment other than ‘casual’ and ‘flexible’, nor more public services, nor more civil liberties’.  The alternatives will not come, therefore, either from States or international institutions and organizations, whose actions, often spectacular and well-publicized, scarcely patch over a few situations but never tackle the underlying causes.

For this it would be necessary, in the first place, to stop considering foodstuffs as commodities, that is, as a medium of exchange at the service of the accumulation of capital. But there are no institutions capable of doing so, given that they necessarily come up against the multinationals and the governments that support them, including even the so-called ‘progressive’ governments of the Southern Cone of South America. The food security which the peoples demand is apparent in some practices of those below, such as the Landless of Brazil and the Neo-Zapatistas of Chiapas, in line with the experience of millions of peasants and indigenous people who still cultivate their diverse and heterogeneous plots.  By doing so they resist the advance of monoculture and militarism, two aspects of the same process.


June 2, 2008 at 9:55 am 1 comment

Water: The next threat for Amazonian Indigenous Peoples

Mira este articulo relacionado en Español aquí,

“Los indios amazónicos protestan contra la construcción de presas”

23/5/08 * Independent *
Amazon Indians lead battle against power giant’s plan to flood rainforest

By Patrick Cunningham in Altamira, Brazil Friday, 23 May 2008

The Amazonian city of Altamira played host to one of the more uneven
contests in recent Brazilian history this week, as a colourful alliance of
indigenous leaders gathered to take on the might of the state power
corporation and stop the construction of an immense hydroelectric dam on a
tributary of the Amazon.

At stake are plans to flood large areas of rainforest to make way for the
huge Belo Monte hydroelectric dam on the Xingu river. The government is
pushing the project as a sustainable energy solution, but critics complain
the environmental and social costs are too high.

For people living beside the river, the dam will bring an end to their way
of life. Thousands of homes will be submerged and changes in the local
ecology will wipe out the livelihoods of many more, killing their main food
sources and destroying their raw materials.

For the 10,000 tribal indians of the Xingu, whose lives have changed little
since the arrival of Europeans five centuries ago, this will be a
devastating blow.

“This is the second time we are fighting this battle,” says Chief Bocaire, a
young leader of the Kayapo, one of more than 600 Indians from 35 ethnic
groups who gathered in record numbers in Altamira. The Indians had travelled
hundreds of miles to get there in an area with hardly any roads. The roads
that do exist are mostly dirt tracks, impassable in bad weather and
difficult and dangerous at the best of times. For most it has been an
odyssey of several weeks, travelling in small boats to reach the roads.

May 25, 2008 at 8:00 pm Leave a comment

European Banks Financing Damaging Agrofuels in Latin America

Friends of the Earth International


May 19, 2008

NEW REPORT: European Banks Financing Damaging Agrofuels in Latin America

/Friends of the Earth International urges banks to stop fuelling harmful
agrofuel boom /

BRUSSELS (Belgium) / MONTEVIDEO (Uruguay), 19 May 2008 – Many major
European banks are funding the rapid expansion of agrofuel production in
Latin America, leading to large scale deforestation, increasing human
right abuses and threatening food sovereignty, according to a new report
released today. [1]

The report – released by Friends of the Earth Europe amid global worries
about the increasing impacts of rising food prices – calls for an end to
investments by European banks in harmful agrofuel projects. [2]

Agrofuels have been blamed as a major factor driving up food prices.
According to the UN and the World Bank, 100 million more people are
currently facing severe hunger due to higher prices for basic foods. [3]

May 25, 2008 at 7:18 pm Leave a comment

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