Archive for December, 2013

VIDEO: Edward Snowden warns about loss of privacy in Christmas message

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Edward Snowden, the man who revealed extensive details of electronic surveillance by American, Australian and British spy agencies, warns of the dangers posed by mass surveillance in an alternative Christmas message broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK. The two-minute video is believed to have been recorded in Moscow, where Snowden has been granted temporary asylum.


Bolivia’s Indigenous Future: A Balance of Preservation, Protection and Connection

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

By Intercontinental Cry

Bolivia's President Evo Morales (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Bolivia's President Evo Morales (Photo © Rebecca Sommer)

Evo Morales, Indigenous Current President of Bolivia, very name seems to suggest his destiny of leading Bolivia in a valiant attempt at ‘moral evolution’ with all other Nation States in tow. Tasked with the difficult role of representing his Indigenous roots at the national and international levels of government and policy, Morales continues to make great strides that by all appearances bridge the dichotomy of tradition and modernity. Recent evolutions in Bolivian national policy regarding the protection and preservation of indigenous cultures continue to gain legal traction. Simultaneously, more Bolivians than ever before are poised to claim their rightful place in the interconnected web that is the information age.

Indigenous Peoples in Bolivia recently performed rituals to ‘Pachamama’, or ‘Mother Earth’ to bless the launch of Bolivia’s first telecommunications satellite. The satellite has been officially named, ‘Tupac Katar’, after the revered Amyara indigenous hero who led a resistance to Spanish colonization in the 18th century. The new satellite has been lauded with the potential to drastically reduce the cost of television and satellite services to rural communities, according to the Associated Press.

Bolivia’s indigenous communities have claimed another victory of late. A new law is being implemented, designed to instill harsh penalties on any entity found to be endangering the livelihood and preservation of Bolivia’s numerous Indigenous Peoples. Recent coverage on provides a rundown of the new legal development, outlining four categories of offenses that will elicit harsh penalties on guilty parties.

The first category of offense cited is: ‘cultural genocide’, which carries a punishment of 15-20 years in prison for those found to be in violation. Such designated crimes would include actions deemed to exhibit a plausible threat to the continued existence of any Indigenous Peoples in Bolivia.

The second category in the new legal framework is ‘cultural disruption’, which is defined as any activity found to negatively alter indigenous livelihood–a crime that’s punishable by anywhere between 6-10 years in prison.

The third category, ‘financing of cultural disruption’, with a nod to Bolivia’s overall movement towards resisting destructive forms of imperialism, can carry an even harsher penalty of 8-12 years.

The final category, ‘environmental damage’ can also carry an 8-12 year sentence, perhaps highlighting another recent evolution in national jurisprudence that gave distinctive rights to Pachamama herself.

The new legal move towards preserving indigenous culture will also give birth to a new government agency known as DISEPIO. Translated to English as “The General Directorate of Indigenous Nations and Peoples at Risk of Extinction, in Voluntary Isolation or Without Contact”, DISEPIO, according to Deputy Minister for Native Indigenous Justice, Isabel Ortega, will be in charge of developing specific plans and programs that protect Indigenous Peoples under the new regulations.

In a recent interview, Guarayo indigenous leader, Bienvenido Zacu, lamented on the challenges ahead in bridging the gap between establishing such regulations and assuring their broad and continued implementation:

In order to protect the indigenous peoples of Bolivia, we need more than just regulations. We need to raise the level of awareness and we particularly need to provide ongoing health care, instead of responding to emergencies, such as the threat of extinction.

Zacu went on to suggest that broad public awareness campaigns might also play a role in these focused efforts at preventing cultural extinction. “We’re about to become extinct. We can’t stand back and let this happen. We need to get back in touch with our roots,” he commented.

According to the most recent Bolivian census, between 15 and 36 indigenous populations are hovering on the edge of cultural extinction. This new law will seek to preserve these important lines of heritage while the new technology services will aim to supplement the overall standard of living in rural areas. The Machineri Peoples, with a count of just 38 men, women and children, is the most vulnerable of all. Others, such as the Guarasugwe and the Tapieté remain intact, though with populations that are dipping below 100. The relatively large Amyara and Quechua Peoples are stable and strong, each having populations well over a million according to the same census count. It is thought that all of the headcounts may prove to be much higher once more advanced methods of obtaining and reporting familial heritage become available.

Bolvia’s forward strides in indigenous rights at home will most likely continue to pave the way internationally as a model for, and harbinger of, a more evolved standard of indigenous jurisprudence around the world. Landmark paradigm shifts, such as Bolivia’s official declaration of ‘plurinationalism’ in 2009, continue to reinforce Bolivia’s status as a global leader in the movement to recognize indigenous sovereignty as protected by international law. In return, increased international awareness may be expanded and reflected back to Bolivia’s Indigenous Peoples from the international stage, as more and more Bolivians gain access to information technology and thus claim their rightful power to represent themselves directly to the global community.

Those interested in a deeper exploration of the issues raised above will enjoy this documentary:

Watch Video

Stolen land: Nigerian villagers want their land back from Wilmar

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

By Grain
The people of Ekong Anaku Village had a difficult decision to make. Their village in southeastern Nigeria lies in one of the countries’ few remaining tropical rainforests. Conservation groups and the federal government wanted it conserved as a reserve. The villagers were keen for the extra protection against illegal logging, but they were worried about losing access to the hunting, foods and medicines the forest provides them and to lands that future generations would need for farming.
So in 1992 they made a deal with the government. They agreed to allow the conversion of a 10,000 ha section of their traditional forest into a reserve. In exchange, the government promised to provide programmes for agroforestry and rural development and credit for small farms and businesses.

Linus Orok (left) and Patrick Chi of Ekong Anaku village, Nigeria
“The government’s promises were only ever on the drawing board,” says Linus Orok, a village leader from Ekong Anaku village. “And this was only a small piece of the betrayal we encountered.”
Ten years after convincing Ekong Anaku village to hand over its forest for conservation, the governor of Cross River State gifted the same lands to a company owned by Nigeria’s president at the time, Olusegun Obasanjo.

“They never consulted us, not even the local chiefs,” says Orok.

Obasanjo’s company, Obasanjo Farms, planned to convert the 10,000 ha of forest into a large scale oil palm plantation. It lacked the capacity, however, and soon turned to outside investors.

In 2011, having acquired the lands for free and invested very little of his own money, Obasanjo turned around and sold the lands to Wilmar International, which controls 45 percent of global production of palm oil. The locals say that Obasanjo’s company was paid millions of dollars under the deal.

With the support of the Rainforest Resource Development Centre (RRDC), the Ekong Anaku villagers have been fighting to get their lands back ever since.

“The land was never Obasanjo’s to sell,” says Orok. “If you buy something stolen, then you cannot say it is yours.”

Wilmar oil palm nursery, Cross River State, Nigeria
Wilmar, however, has already established a large oil palm nursery and has cleared some lands for planting.
Patrick Chi, another resident of Ekong Anaku, says the villagers are open to developing some form of partnership with Wilmar on the existing plantation lands, but it has to be based on an understanding that the lands belong to the community.

“We want it to be our plantation,” says Chi.

Orok explains that the villagers have three basic demands: the existing plantation must be operated as a partnership; there can be no expansion beyond the areas that have already been cleared for planting; and, the government must identify and provide the village with an alternative area of land of equal size where they can farm.

“We need land now,” says Chi. “Our village is starving.”

So far, Wilmar’s kept quiet about the controversy. The RRDC brought a complaint forward to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, of which Wilmar is a member, but neither the company nor the RSPO have acted to address the specific complaints made about the illegal acquisition of the Ekong Anaku community’s traditional lands.

Even if the communities do succeed in getting some form of partnership with Wilmar, there’s no guarantee that they will benefit from it. A newly released documentary film looks into Wilmar’s operations in Uganda, where it runs a plantation and outgrower scheme in partnership with the local communities of Kalangala Island. In the film, community members describe how the little they have gained from the arrangement in no way compensates for the loss of food crops and forests and the environmental destruction caused by Wilmar’s operations.

In early December, Wilmar announced a new company policy, pledging – among other things – to “respect and recognise the long-term customary and individual rights of indigenous and local communities, and commit to ensuring legal compliance as well as international best practices in free, prior and informed consent are implemented”. The “No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation Policy” also states that no new land development will occur until research and consultation over the conversion of “high carbon stock forests” is finalised.

The company has committed itself to “resolve all complaints and conflicts through an open, transparent and consultative process.” This corner of southeastern Nigeria would be an ideal place to see if Wilmar’s statement is anything more than a public relations exercise.

Regardless, the Ekong Anaku villagers know that their claims to the lands are on solid legal ground, and if they are unable to advance their demands through dialogue with Wilmar, they say they won’t hesitate to go to court.

This past year another company, owned by Nigeria’s Dangote Group, showed up looking for lands in a separate part of their territory for a pineapple plantation.

“Workers came to do a survey in October 2013 and our chief sent them away,” says Chi. “We told Dangote we don’t need them.”

Video about the Abandoned Uranium Mines and how they affect both the Great Sioux Nation and the Navajo Nation

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

Message from Charmaine White Face

The following is a video about the Abandoned Uranium Mines and how they affect both the Great Sioux Nation and the Navajo Nation although we live a thousand miles apart.  It was done by Crystal Zevon last Spring.  Pass it on to as many people as possible.  Then the whole world will know what is happening.


25 anos depois, Chico Mendes vive mais indignado com o capitalismo verde

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

Nas celebrações para lembrar o aniversário de sua morte, sindicalista é destituído de seu conteúdo político revolucionário e transformado em pragmático “ambientalista”

Por Elder Andrade de Paula, 21.12.2013. Fonte: Repórter Brasil

“Quando te vi com essa camiseta pensei que era mais um propagandista do governo do Acre”, disse-me um dos participantes do II Congresso da Comissão  Pastoral da Terra (CPT) realizado em Goiás no ano de 2005. O comentário me deixou perplexo porque a camiseta em questão era branca e tinha estampada, em sua frente, uma imagem com o rosto de Chico Mendes, sobreposta com a chamada: “Chico Mendes Vive” e, logo a seguir, o texto escrito por ele no ano de seu assassinato “Atenção jovem do futuro, 6 de Setembro do ano de 2012, aniversário ou centenário da Revolução Socialista Mundial, que unificou todos os povos do planeta num só ideal e num só pensamento de unidade socialista que pôs fim a todos os inimigos da nova sociedade. Aqui fica somente a lembrança de um triste passado de dor, sofrimento e morte. Desculpem… Eu estava sonhando quando escrevi estes acontecimentos; que eu mesmo não verei mas tenho o prazer de ter sonhado”.

Minha perplexidade deveu-se ao fato de não estar estampado na dita camiseta nenhuma logomarca identificando o governo do Acre. Ademais, existia outro detalhe fundamental: não havia e não há no vocabulário e nas ações do governo do Acre absolutamente nada que tenha proximidade com esse sonho de Chico Mendes. Ao contrário, o Chico Mendes evocado pelo governo acriano foi destituído de seu conteúdo político revolucionário e transformado em um pragmático “ambientalista”, em consonância com todo o complexo de organizações da sociedade civil articulado em torno da ideologia do desenvolvimento sustentável. Às vezes, também o transformam em vidente, quando usam seu nome para justificar as perversas políticas voltadas para o aprofundamento da mercantilização da natureza. Dizem, dentre outras barbaridades, que Chico Mendes seria a favor do manejo florestal madeireiro, dos famigerados Pagamentos por Serviços Ambientais – PSA, quando sabemos que essas proposições emergiram após o seu assassinato.

Enfim, o fato que relatamos ilustra com muito vigor o monumental poder da imagem e a sofisticação crescente com que tal poder é manipulado. O Governo do Acre tem usado de forma primorosa esse recurso, logrando “colar” com maestria a imagem de Chico Mendes ao seu projeto político, afirmando que estaria realizando os “seus ideais” – como mostra Maria de Jesus Morais no seu artigo “Usos e abusos da imagem de Chico Mendes na legitimação da “economia verde”, no Do$$iê Acre: O Acre que os mercadores da natureza escondem, documento apresentado em 2012 durante a Cúpula dos Povos, no Rio de Janeiro.

Imagem e poder

Nesse sentido, a manipulação da imagem de Chico Mendes atua como um antídoto contra a memória de Francisco Alves Mendes Filho. Enquanto a memória revela obstinado desejo de transformação de uma realidade marcada pela exploração, injustiça e destruição, a imagem manipulada volta-se para o ocultamento dessa realidade. Mais do que isso, os novos mapas com ilustrações do “Zoneamento Econômico Ecológico”, que não passam de adaptações jurídicas e institucionais inebriadas com o vocabulário subjacente à ideologia do desenvolvimento sustentável, são usados para apresentar o Acre como “modelo de economia verde” a ser replicado em outras regiões do mundo.

Essa separação e/ou adaptação entre imagem e seus significados tem sido usada também em “Nuestra América” desde os primórdios da colonização europeia, como lembra Serge Gruzinski em seu livro “A guerra das imagens – de Cristóvão Colombo a ‘Blade Runner’ (1492-2019)”. De acordo com ele, desde que Colombo desembarcou no novo mundo a imagem foi utilizada para fins de dominação. Sem demora, diz o referido autor, os recém-chegados se perguntaram sobre a natureza das imagens que possuíam os indígenas. “Prontamente, a imagem constituiu um instrumento de referência, e logo de aculturação e de domínio, quando a igreja resolveu cristianizar os índios desde a Flórida até a terra do fogo. A colonização europeia aprisionou o continente em uma armadilha de imagens que não deixou de ampliar-se, desenvolver-se e modificar-se ao ritmo dos estilos, das políticas, das reações e oposições encontrados”, escreve Gruzinski.

É precisamente nesta perspectiva analítica que interpretamos a intencionalidade dessa separação entre “Chico e Francisco”. Isto é, apropriar-se de uma imagem e destituí-la de seu sentido original para transformá-la em poderoso instrumento de legitimação do poder. Obviamente, ela necessita manter alguns nexos com uma memória “devidamente adaptada” aos fins políticos de cada momento, conforme explicitado anteriormente.

No decorrer das celebrações dos “vinte anos sem Chico Mendes”, em 2008, mostramos os usos e abusos da imagem desse líder sindical no artigo “Movimentos sociais na Amazônia brasileira: vinte anos sem Chico Mendes”. Destacamos, entre outros pontos, que as proposições do Movimento Sindical no “tempo de Chico Mendes” foram apropriadas e transmutadas na sua negação. Portanto, não estava em curso uma suposta continuidade e, sim, uma ruptura com esse legado. Agora, faremos um exercício oposto: realçar os traços de continuidade no “estilo de desenvolvimento” em curso no Acre.


Em uma de suas últimas entrevistas , registrada no livro “O Testamento do Homem da Floresta Chico Mendes por ele mesmo”, de Cândido Grzibowski, ele disse o seguinte:

Não dá pra se entender que o governo seja ecológico, que defenda a ecologia, que seja contra o desmatamento, e que ao mesmo tempo esse mesmo governo mande a polícia armada para proteger o desmatamento.

“Em princípio teve alguns momentos que houve um avanço considerável do governo na questão ecológica, no Conselho Nacional dos Seringueiros, na luta dos seringueiros. Mas, em seguida, nós começamos a desconfiar e começamos a descobrir que o governo do Estado estava fazendo um discurso ecológico para justificar a aprovação de seus projetos nos bancos internacionais ou junto às organizações internacionais.  (…) Não dá pra se entender que o governo seja ecológico, que defenda a ecologia, que seja contra o desmatamento, e que ao mesmo tempo esse mesmo governo mande a polícia armada para proteger o desmatamento (…) Até o momento, a justiça sempre está do lado do maior. Um dos problemas, um dos pontos mais fracos com que nos defrontamos é a própria justiça. Muitas vezes recorremos ao apoio da justiça e a justiça, inclusive este ano foi claro, ficou do lado dos latifundiários (…)”

É justamente aí, no governo do PMDB de Flaviano Melo (1987-90), que podem ser encontrados os traços que teriam continuidade e que caracterizam o “fazer” do governo acriano desde 1999. Ao analisarmos atualmente os inúmeros conflitos pela posse da terra e aqueles relativos à expansão da exploração madeireira e pecuária no estado, vemos com clareza a reiteração daquele cenário político descrito por Chico Mendes em 1988. A diferença fundamental é que, hoje, o “ovo da serpente” eclodiu e o Estado está mais subordinado aos ditames dos financiamentos externos e à lógica do capitalismo verde (interpretado como resultante das modificações operadas no capitalismo no sentido de promover um movimento simultâneo de adaptação à nova divisão internacional do trabalho, ao reordenamento de natureza geopolítica, às reconfigurações nas relações Estado-Mercado e à assimilação do ambientalismo no processo de acumulação global que o presidem).

Os resultados de tudo isso apareceram bem sintetizados no já citado Do$$iê Acre. No referido documento destacam-se entre outros: 1) a elevada concentração da propriedade fundiária e da renda; a permanência dos conflitos pela posse da terra e o surgimento de outra ordem de conflitos relacionados com o processo de aprofundamento da mercantilização da natureza; interdição das demarcações de Terras Indígenas; 2) expansão das atividades produtivas consideradas mais predatórias como a pecuária extensiva de corte e exploração madeireira; 3) autoritarismo político e cooptação das representações dos trabalhadores, como o sindicalismo rural, com honrosa exceção do Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais (STTR) de Xapuri.

Sendo assim, o que prevaleceu não foi o legado de Chico Mendes mas, sim, o de seus inimigos. A continuidade passível de constatação é aquela relacionada com o prolongamento da espoliação sob a batuta de um poder oligárquico que necessita ser ocultado para mostrar a imagem de um “Acre moderno”. Os “usos e abusos” da imagem de Chico Mendes (como diz  Maria de Jesus Morais) são fundamentais neste sentido. Neste ano de 2013, o slogan usado pelo governo acriano para “comemorar” os 25 anos de assassinato de Chico Mendes foi: “25 anos, Chico Mendes vive mais” (texto e imagens sobre o assunto chegaram a ser publicados na página da Agência de Notícias do Governo do Acre, (mas o link não está mais disponível).

Por esta razão, ao invés de usar a dita expressão parece mais apropriado dizer que Chico Mendes vive mais indignado com o capitalismo verde.

* Elder Andrade de Paula é professor associado do  Centro de Filosofia e Ciências Humanas da Universidade Federal do Acre.

Crítica ao mercado de carbono

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Crítica ao mercado de carbono assegura que mecanismo de compensação é antiético

Filósofo pela Universidade de Viena, Michael Schmidlehner questiona legislação criada pelo Governo do Acre para garantir pagamento por serviços ambientais e usa o argumento da ‘justiça climática’ para fulminar a dinâmica da compensação por emissão de gases de efeito estufa Amazônia


(fonte: jornal A Gazeta)

Os pagamentos por serviços ambientais estão longe da unanimidade. Há fortes argumentos que questionam a implantação de políticas públicas cuja retórica se fundamenta na lógica “fazer com que as comunidades ganhem dinheiro com a floresta em pé”.

Professores universitários de diversas partes do mundo, dirigentes de pequenas ONGs, líderes rurais, pesquisadores têm relativizado a eficácia do mercado de carbono como mecanismo de minimização do efeito estufa, responsável pelo aquecimento global, e criticam duramente o instrumento REDD (Redução de Emissões por Desmatamento e Degradação Florestal).

Sobre essas questões, o Acre tem sido apontado, sem exagero, como uma espécie de “modelo” da implantação desses mecanismos como política pública, inclusive com amparo legal, como é o caso do Sistema Estadual de Incentivo a Serviços Ambientais (Sisa), gestado no governo de Binho Marques, finalizado na atual administração de Tião Viana e aprovado na Assembleia Legislativa ano passado.

Aliás, esse é o primeiro argumento utilizado pelos críticos para aniquilar a proposta dos pagamentos por serviços ambientais. Essas legislações semelhantes ao Sisa são classificadas como “subnacionais”. Elas, de acordo com os críticos, não são formuladas por um mecanismo centralizado no Governo Federal e por ele fiscalizado e monitorado.

“O artigo 225 da Constituição brasileira diz que o meio ambiente é um bem público”, adverte o filósofo e professor universitário Michael Schmidlehner. “Isso é um valor e não está certo transformar isso em mercadoria”. O professor lembra que o ex-governador do Estado da Califórnia, Arnold Schwarzenegger liderou a formação de uma rede de gestores públicos chamada de Goverment Task Force que usou a retórica da defesa e preservação ambiental para, de fato, blindar interesses comerciais de grandes indústrias por meio de iniciativas subnacionais semelhantes ao Sisa.

“A própria ONU condenou por unanimidade essas iniciativas subnacionais”, lembra o pesquisador. A Organização das Nações Unidas entendeu que esse tipo de ação pública deve ser necessariamente protagonizada pelos governos centrais e não pelas federações.

Compensações como mascaramento

O filósofo Michael Schmidlehner defendeu ano passado uma tese de mestrado sobre biodiversidade na Universidade de Viena, na Áustria. O estudo parte da análise do discurso oficial do Governo do Acre até a implantação das políticas públicas.

Para o pesquisador, a essência da defesa do Governo do Acre se baseia na seguinte lógica econômica: atribui-se um valor monetário aos recursos e o ser humano vai preservá-los porque vai valorizá-los. A “repartição de benefícios” seria, nesse cenário, um “estímulo para a preservação”. Um argumento que Schmidlehner rebate com a seguinte pergunta: “Será que é da natureza humana sempre optar pelo crescimento econômico?”, indaga. “Eu imagino que não. Seria muito triste se fosse só isso”.

No entanto, o pesquisador é honesto em reconhecer que não encontrou um caminho para a solução do problema. “Eu tenho que dizer que também não tenho as soluções para combater a miséria, distribuir renda. Não tenho. Mas, no meu ver, o que está acontecendo é muito preocupante porque está se dizendo que teria soluções. E eu acho que eles estão fundamentalmente equivocados”.

Schmidlehner utiliza uma metáfora simples para dizer que todos, inclusive, estão em busca de um novo caminho. “Eu acho que é muito pior você dizer para alguém perdido que você tem um mapa, que você sabe que é falso, do que dizer que não sabe o caminho”, compara. “É isso que eu acho que está acontecendo: acho que está sendo replicado um mapa errado, falso, que aponta para soluções que, ao contrário, são um beco sem saída ou programas que tendem a piorar”.


Schmidlehner pontua um problema sistêmico na dinâmica da compensação por emissões de gases de efeito estufa. Ele cita vários casos, mas destaca um que ocorre no estado da Califórnia, oeste dos Estados Unidos.

“Há comunidades de baixa renda que vivem em Los Angeles próximos de fábricas [que emitem grandes quantidades de gases poluentes] e as pessoas têm taxas de câncer elevadas, taxas de aborto espontâneos elevados e as crianças brincam no meio da fumaça”, pontua.

Ele informa que essas comunidades já exigiram que essas empresas diminuam as emissões. “Já mandamos cartas para lá exigindo: ‘Não façam isso. A compensação não resolve o problema climático e é eticamente questionável’, disse em carta. “Ora, como vender crédito de carbono daqui para lá vai resolver o problema da vida dessas pessoas? Tem que reduzir ao invés de compensar. Essa ideia da compensação é anti-ética e ela não resolve o problema”.


O filósofo questiona o instrumento de REDD ou de REDD+. “Há um grande equívoco, por exemplo, quando se fala dos projetos REDD”, sentencia. “A partir do momento que eles são financiados através do mercado, o seu efeito de redução de emissões é aniquilado porque ele permite as mesmas emissões em outro lugar. E pior: essas emissões reduzidas são emissões altamente virtuais”.

A defesa oficial dos governos baseada na lógica do “ou usa com método ou se devasta” efetiva uma troca ruim para as comunidades. “O argumento comum é o seguinte: ‘se não fazemos nada, as áreas florestais vão ser desmatadas’, mas omite-se o fato de que aquele que compra, o carbono que ele emite já vai para os ares realmente”, afirma. “Troca-se algo virtual por algo muito real. Além disso, não há garantia de que as florestas onde há aplicação de conceito REDD estejam imunes às catástrofes, incêndios… são previsões”.

Territorialidade ameaçada

O mecanismo REDD dificulta o uso emancipador da territorialidade por parte das populações tradicionais da floresta. Dito de outra forma: o uso da terra não é mais autodeterminado pelos povos que nela vivem. Ou, no mínimo, isso sofre bastante com a entrada em cena do mecanismo REDD, defende o pesquisador.

“As pessoas vão ter que seguir regras implementadas de fora”, analisa. “São outras regras que vão se estabelecer sobre esse território. O exercício de territorialidade, de ter a autonomia da tua terra, de fazer as coisas como a tua comunidade entende passa a ser ameaçado”.

Para Schmidlehner, a pergunta é relativamente simples. “Como se mantém o conhecimento tradicional? O conhecimento tradicional não é museu. Se você regulamenta o conhecimento tradicional você já perde a essência dele. Porque ele é criado e se cria na prática, na oralidade e na ação. É na interação com as formas de vida da floresta que se gera o conhecimento. É algo vivo”.

Para o filósofo, a retórica oficial acaba expondo uma contradição. “Então, chega até ser uma ironia dizer que com os serviços ambientais se valoriza a cultura e os conhecimentos tradicionais ecossistêmicos, como está no Sisa”.

REDD promove fuga de desmatamento

Quando uma empresa madeireira atua em determinada região, há impacto ambiental evidente, com ou sem manejo. Se essa região passa a ser utilizada pela ação de governo com implantação do instrumento de REDD, a madeireira não deixará de existir. Ela apenas migrará para outra área, ampliando o rastro de desmate, argumenta o pesquisador.

“Existem interesses de grandes empresas, grandes bancos, de usar o Acre como vitrine para isso. Então, por isso, é tão importante a verdade sobre os projetos REDD”, diz. “Nos relatórios feitos por muitas ONGs, há omissão de muitos problemas. Um deles trata da permanência do carbono, que não é garantido. Outro problema é do ‘vazamento’ ou ‘fuga’. Você praticamente exporta a destruição.

Motivos para impedir implantação do mecanismo REDD, segundo pesquisador

1.    Restrições e proibições às comunidades (falta de soberania sobre próprio território);

2.    Ameaça à soberania e segurança alimentar;

3.    REDD não evita destruição da mata (não preserva floresta);

4.    Comunidades são acusadas de desmatar, mas empresas poluidoras, não;

5.    Proposta REDD é imposta às comunidades. Não nasceu nas comunidades

6.    Fragmentação de lideranças nas comunidades;

7.    REDD não socializa resolução de problemas comuns às comunidades

Ecuador ordered the dissolution of Fundación Pachamama

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

On December 4, 2013 the Ministry of Environment of Ecuador ordered the dissolution of Fundación Pachamama, a founding member of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.  Fundación Pachamama  – an advocate for human, indigenous, and nature’s rights – played a central role in establishing Rights of Nature in Ecuador’s Constitution.  In violation of the rule of law and the Constitution, police closed the offices of Fundación Pachamama  without affording the foundation an opportunity to respond to the trumped up allegations that it is ”interfering in public policy” and “endangering the internal security and peace.”

This dissolution is a violation of the legitimate right of Fundación Pachamama as a member of civil society to disagree with the government’s decisions, such as the decision to turn over Amazonian indigenous people’s land to oil companies in direct violation of their constitutional rights and the rights of nature. The national government of Ecuador has repeatedly sought to interfere with the important work of civil society organizations advocating for the protection of the natural environment and peoples of Ecuador. We believe that this attempt to silence Fundación Pachamama is part of a concerted attack by the current government of Ecuador on all Ecuadorians who are working for the realisation of the vision of living well in harmony with Nature which is enshrined in the Constitution of Ecuador.

We stand in support of Fundación Pachamama and freedom of speech in Ecuador. We demand that the Ministry of Environment immediately revoke its order dissolving the foundation and  call upon people and organizations around the world to join us in condemning this repressive act and in intensifying our efforts to advance human, nature and collective rights.

DECLARATION: The World Trade Organization (WTO) and Indigenous Peoples: Resisting Globalization, Asserting Self-Determination

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

The World Trade Organization (WTO) and Indigenous Peoples:
Resisting Globalization, Asserting Self-Determination

We, the Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth gathered here in Bali, Indonesia on 2-6 December 2013, organizing our own workshop and various events parallel to the World Trade Organization Ninth Ministerial Meeting (WTO MC9), hereby agreed to resist neoliberal globalization and assert our right to Self-Determination.

As Indigenous Peoples of the land and the waters, we have a close relationship to Mother Earth and nature. This relationship tells us that life on Mother Earth is in danger and coming to a time of great transformation. We are accepting the responsibility as the guardians of the earth, which has been designated by our respective Original Instructions woven into our cosmovisions, cultures, languages, and ways of life. We are telling the trade ministers of the world governments that we must all work together to create a new paradigm in global trade instruments and economic systems that fully recognizes the vital life-giving cycles, well-being and territorial integrity of Mother Earth.
We reaffirm our responsibilities to protect and defend our lands, water, territories, natural resources, culture and traditional knowledge, all of which are vital to the survival of all of humanity and for future generations. We will persevere in our struggle in reclaiming our inherent rights as Indigenous Peoples and for the well-being of Mother Earth. Until the right to self-determination of Indigenous Peoples and universal laws that recognize Mother Earth as a living being are observed and respected, genuine sustainable development will not be achieved.

We share a common history of colonization and globalization. For centuries, we experienced the colonisation of our lands, territories, air, ice, oceans and waters, mountains and forests. Colonialism institutionalized the oppression and exploitation of Indigenous Peoples up to the current era of globalization, exacerbated by the neoliberal impositions of multilateral trade agreements implemented over six decades through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), replaced by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1995. In its 9th Ministerial Conference, we believe that the WTO will only push for greater neoliberal policies on globalization, liberalization, privatization, deregulation, and denationalization that will consequently intensify the violation of our inherent rights as Indigenous Peoples and the multiple crises that humanity confronts today.

Thus, with our common problems, aspirations and struggles, we resolved to strengthen our unity as Indigenous Peoples and link our struggles with various democratic sectors and organizations worldwide until our right to self-determination and liberation is achieved.

The World Trade Organization and Violation of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

The WTO is the primary instrument of neoliberal globalization to further economic globalization especially in international trade. It aims to build a unitary system of trade relations of countries around the world governed by various agreements. WTO’s catchphrases of “borderless world”, “leveling the playing field” and “free market democracies”, involves the removal of restrictions or so-called trade barriers that hinder greater corporate profit. While the WTO binds the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to implement the neoliberal policies on trade of goods and services, the few capitalist countries on the other hand, protect their economies from these “free market” policies.

Several WTO Ministerials, such as the Doha Development Round in 2001, collapsed due to continuing disagreements over subsidies on agricultural products, market access, and special safeguard mechanisms, and massive Peoples’ protests. In its 9th Ministerial Conference, the WTO will make decisions on any of the multilateral trade related agreements such as the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA), Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), Trade Related Investment Measures (TRIMS), and General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), and forge new multilateral agreements. The proposed agreement for the MC9 called the Bali Package will push for greater liberalization in agriculture, acceleration of LDCs in the WTO, and expedite trade facilitation through restructuring of GATT articles on imports-exports and trade costs. The Bali Package, along with post-Bali issues on International Technology Agreement (ITA) and Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), are labeled by developed countries as the solution to the stalled Doha Round to pursue intensified trade liberalization.

Indigenous Peoples, especially future generations, will be extremely affected by these decisions and agreements. For over 6 six decades now, since colonization, neoliberal policies have intensified the sufferings of the Indigenous Peoples. Our lands, territories and natural resources have been exploited by unsustainable development projects, such as mono-cultural chemically intensive plantations, extractive industries such as mining, oil drilling, hydro projects and other environmentally destructive “renewable” energy projects. Trade and investment liberalization have resulted in development aggression and plunder of our territories. We have been displaced from our Indigenous lands and territories. Our Indigenous knowledge, values and spirituality have been bastardized. And our rights to self-determination, to our own governance and own self-determined development have been violated. While defending our inherent and collective rights, we continue to suffer from militarization and State terrorism, including extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearance, assassination, arbitrary arrests, imprisonment, criminalization of community resistance, harassment and vilification as “terrorists.” All of this has happened for the sake of globalization, and is bound to worsen as the WTO imposes more agreements and policies.

Our experiences show that the removal of tariffs and quantitative restrictions on import goods has led to the influx of foreign products in domestic markets. The AoA has unleashed agricultural liberalisation and imposed the importation of agricultural crops even if locally produced. It has forced many developing countries to favor transnational agricultural companies like Monsanto and compelled impoverished Indigenous Peoples to use high yielding varieties (HYV) seeds without being informed of the negative effects. The AoA pushes for commercial agricultural production, replacing traditional plant varieties with genetically altered species marketed by agriculture companies, and chemical-laden foods. The AoA eliminates the ability of Indigenous Peoples to produce culturally appropriate and sufficient food. Such trading system is detrimental to Indigenous Peoples’ food security, health and sustainability. It forces dependency to the capitalist market and weakens Indigenous Peoples’ ability to self-determined development and food sovereignty. The WTO demands reduction of subsidies on price support, while capitalist countries refuse to apply this in their own economies. This has damaged livelihoods resulting in bankruptcy of farmers including Indigenous Peoples, as they are unable to compete with subsidized and cheaper imports from abroad. States worsen this situation by failing to protect Indigenous Peoples’ sources of livelihood and food, land and resources.

Through our harmonious relations with nature as part of our spirituality, culture and beliefs, we maintain knowledge and practice of Indigenous medicines from medicinal plants and animals. We, however, are denied rights and control over our Indigenous medicines when these are taken over by big corporations as their intellectual property rights under WTO. Big pharmaceutical corporations race for patents to gain exclusive control for the production, marketing, distribution and sales of products derived from indigenous knowledge and practice. We are also alarmed that the WTO allows the patenting of life forms including extraction of genetic information under its TRIPS. These capitalist monsters treat Indigenous Peoples as valuable and vulnerable targets for medical research and experiments.

Trade agreements on services have further marginalized and impoverished us, with very limited access to basic social and health services, a situation worsened by government neglect and discrimination. Our right to quality and affordable education and health is further violated by GATS which allows foreign corporations to own and operate educational and health institutions leading to profit-oriented and corporate owned services that are available only to the few who have the means to pay. Education is designed to meet the needs and interests of the multinational corporations and the advanced capitalist countries above the social values and needs of Indigenous communities and national development of poor countries. As a result, the youth and the next generations’ futures are bleak and the survival of our Indigenous knowledge is in peril.

Globalisation has even destroyed our biological and cultural diversity, ecosystems, values and traditional knowledge that constitute our existence as humans and as Indigenous Peoples. It is the culprit of the climate crisis, which exacerbates the historical, political, and economic marginalisation of Indigenous Peoples. It puts Indigenous Peoples in a very vulnerable situation, notwithstanding the fact that Indigenous Peoples have contributed the least to the climate crisis.

The dominant world capitalist system under which the WTO and similar trade agreements operate is the culprit to the multiple crises that humanity confronts today. The neoliberal policies of globalization, liberalization, deregulation, privatization and denationalization are the root causes of the protracted economic, financial, political, and climatic crises that have put Indigenous Peoples in more oppressive and exploitative conditions and the planet on the brink of destruction. The WTO MC9 in its Bali Package is hell-bent on pushing and imposing more new deals that would intensify our misery ten-fold, as it demands the acceleration of neoliberal globalization for more profit to the few ruling elite of the advanced capitalist countries and their transnational corporations above the interest of Indigenous Peoples, humanity and Mother Earth. Clearly, the WTO advances the neoliberal globalization framework and violates all the rights of Peoples, including Indigenous Peoples and Nations, to self-determination, life and liberty. The WTO is an instrument that serves the primary interest of the multinational corporations and the few advanced capitalist countries to the detriment of Indigenous Peoples worldwide, humanity, Mother Earth and all life.

Ways Forward

We will persevere in our struggle to gain self-determination and autonomy. Until our right to self-determination is respected, genuine sustainable development will not be achieved.

We are united to oppose and reject the commodification, privatisation and plunder of nature, which includes the green economy, false- or market-based solutions including biodiversity and conservations offsets that put profit above humanity and the planet. We are in solidarity to resist neoliberal globalization. We are united to fight for our rights to self-determination and assert the future we want. We declare to Junk WTO, oppose new deals, and push for an alternative trade agenda appropriate to Indigenous Peoples.

We push for an alternative trade system appropriate for us. We do not just reject trade per se, but push for trade systems that respect and recognise our traditional economies and governance. We envision systems that promote solidarity, mutual cooperation and respect, based on the needs and development of our communities and empowerment of our people. We demand systems that underpin our inherent right to self-determination and our permanent sovereignty over our traditional lands, territories and resources, forests, water, and everything that sustains life for the future generations. We demand systems that reject, and call for the abolition of, all colonial, unequal, and neocolonial trade agreements such as the WTO and other similar trade agreements.

We will continue to strengthen our ranks and further develop and mobilize the capacities of the young generations and women in advancing our struggles against neoliberal globalization and its instruments like the WTO until its removal. We will link our struggles not only with Indigenous Peoples worldwide, but also with other Peoples’ movements, democratic and marginalized sectors and civil society organisations (CSOs) that have common goals and aspirations with that of Indigenous Peoples. We join the worldwide movement to Junk WTO and reject Neoliberal Globalization.

We commit to consolidate our efforts to engage the WTO and other multilateral, regional and bilateral trade syndicates/agreements, and we strongly oppose agreements forged without our knowledge, participation, and consent. In our engagement to these trade agreements, we shall bring to the forefront as main points of assertion our inherent right to self-determination, self-determined and sustainable development, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the Alta Outcome Document and other declarations on our collective rights as Indigenous Peoples.

We shall strive to achieve gains that go beyond the mechanisms and opportunities in the UN, and of the benevolence of States and governments. Like in other international fora, processes and mechanisms, we shall create our own spaces asserting our rights to lands, territories, and self-determination.

We must take collective control of our natural resources based on the principles of people’s participation, gender equality, environmental and social justice, self-reliant and sustainable management systems and mindful of the needs of the whole of humanity while maintaining a deep respect, responsibility and recognition of the natural laws of Mother Earth and all creatures within. We must regain sovereignty over our lands and resources from multinational corporations and capitalist countries. We focus on building sustainable communities based on indigenous knowledge and peoples’ development, not on capitalist development. We must strive to promote and assert our sustainable ways of life, social and cultural values for the common good and the whole of society, collective interest over individual, service over profit, respect and care for nature and Mother Earth, including our viable solutions as opposed to false solutions to climate change.

While we continue to unite as Indigenous Peoples worldwide, we also uphold the spirit of international solidarity with other sectors, organizations, activists and genuine advocates of our issues. This solidarity advances our global campaign for Indigenous Peoples’ rights to self-determination and liberation. Junk WTO! No New Deals!

Our Immediate Demands

As we conclude our workshop and events parallel to the WTO MC9, we state the following demands to the World Trade Organisation, the States and Corporations:

We demand for focus on new economies based on the principles of living in harmony with nature and governed by the absolute limits and boundaries of ecological sustainability, the carrying capacities of Mother Earth, and in recognition of the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.

We demand for a stop to the capitalism of nature. All economic frameworks and trade regimes that privatise and financialise the functions of nature through green economy initiatives must be halted. Mother Earth is the source of life which needs to be protected, not a resource to be exploited and commodified as a natural capital. We call for the halt of all policies controlling the reproductive capacity of Mother Earth through market-based mechanisms that allow for the quantification and commodification of the natural processes of Mother Earth being branded as ecosystem services.

We demand for the respect of Indigenous Peoples’ collective rights, such as but not limited to their traditional lands, territories, resources, free prior informed consent (FPIC), self-determination, culture and identity, and traditional management systems as enshrined in the UNDRIP and other international standards in negotiations and agreements. All trade agreements on investments, programs and projects affecting our lands, territories, communities, culture and identity without our FPIC must be immediately revoked and cancelled.

We demand for the repeal of all trade agreements affecting us without our meaningful, full and effective participation and FPIC. Likewise, we demand for Indigenous Peoples’ full and active participation in decision-making processes and discourses on trade and other matters affecting us at all levels. Our right to FPIC is fundamental, and thus we continue to assert that this must be respected. Nothing About Us, Without Us!

We demand for the full recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ inherent and inalienable right to self-determination and permanent sovereignty over our lands, territories, resources, air, ice, oceans, waters, mountains and forests.

We demand an end to the militarization of our communities, for States and corporations to be held accountable on human rights violations, and ensured justice to the victims and their families and communities who have experienced such atrocities.

Likewise, States should provide concrete support, such as appropriate technologies and funds, to help us develop for ourselves our own self-determined and sustainable development models ad methods.

Stop the theft and patenting of our traditional seeds, medicines, traditional knowledge, and our identity. Stop the commodification of our sacred culture for megatourism projects and other big businesses.

Stop the criminalization of community resistance and end the culture of impunity. Pull out State armed forces in Indigenous territories, and uphold the responsibility to provide basic social services to Indigenous communities.

Affirmed this 3rd day of December 2013, in Bali, Indonesia.


Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL)
Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network (APIYN)
Alyansi Masyarakat Adat Nusantara (AMAN)
Barisan Pemuda Adat Nusantara (BPAN)
Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA)
Land is Life
Committee for the Protection of Natural Resources-Manipur
Center for Research and Advocacy-Manipur
Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)
International Organisation for Self-Determination and Equality (IOSDE)
Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas (KAMP)
BAI National Network of Indigenous Women in the Philippines
Cordillera Women’s Education Action Research Center

videos from OYBM’s recent 48 Hour Film Making Challenge

Sunday, December 1st, 2013

Here are the videos from OYBM’s recent 48 Hour Film Making Challenge.
Four films were produced with the theme “Hunger” and the requirements of including:
– The line: “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.”
– Drawing of a spiral.
– Close-up of a hand clap.
– Either a flashback or split screen.

Please vote by either thumbs up or commenting (both are great!). Views will also be counted.

Please share your favorite video as well!
Films are going to be awarded for the following categories: “Best Overall,” “Most Creative,” & “Audience Choice.”


Watch the videos here:

Not eligible for competition but made during the workshop: – Indigenous Youth Empowerment!