In Colombia, thousands of indigenous people are staging a week long march. Marchers plan to march through 70 miles of Colombia’s countryside. They say they want to change economic policies that are impoverishing their nations. And they reject the presence of US corporations on their lands. Manuel Rueda joined the march as it passed through Colombia’s Cauca Province.
In the Cauca region, a twelve-thousand strong Indigenous and Popular Minga (or Assembly) was held in opposition to the militarization of Indigenous, Afro-Colombian and peasant communities/territories. The Assembly also declared it’s firm opposition to the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Canada, U.S. and the European Union.
On October 13, 12,000 indigenous Colombians marched onto the Pan-American highway in Cauca, and refused to lift their blockade until their demands for land, liberty, and life were met by the state. The resulting clashes between protesters and police killed at least two indigenous Colombians, and wounded at least 70 more. This week the indigenous rights groups will march to Cali, the third-largest city in Colombia, to press their demands.
We do not accept Free Trade Agreements like the ones negotiated behind closed doors with the United States, Canada, the European Union, the European Association of Free Trade, or any other deal that looks to displace us of our rights, our culture, our knowledge and our territory. We want treaties between peoples, for the people, not treaties of the patrons against the people and against Mother Earth.
Peru’s Congress on Sept. 20 signed a law repealing two presidential decrees that lowered the requirements for the sale of indigenous lands a month after large mobilizations by indigenous Amazon groups in demand that the laws be knocked down.
The Budapest Treaty on the International Recognition of the Deposit of Microorganisms for the purposes of patent procedure is not in line with the norms and ethical principles of Costa Rica. Civil society, the scientific community and the different congregations should have had a more broad discussion on this Treaty including its ethical, environmental, social, economic and legal implications. Unfortunately, this did not happen and the decision to vote the US-DR-CAFTA, with its obligation for Costa Rica to accede to the Budapest Treaty, at referendum was not taken with a generalized prior informed consent.
Costa Rica could miss its Oct. 1 deadline to pass law reforms needed to enter the Free Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA) because of a legal snag in the final bill on intellectual property: Nobody thought to ask the country’s indigenous people.
Costa Rica’s highest court on Thursday overturned an intellectual property law demanded by the US prior to the enactment of the Central American Free Trade Agreement. The Constitutional Court ruled that lawmakers improperly passed the bill — which included provisions on biodiversity — without consulting Indian groups.
On August 22nd, the Peruvian Congress repealed two legislative decrees at the root of the indigenous demonstrations that paralyzed various roads and energy installations from August 9th through 20th. The indigenous movement of the Amazon, home to 65 different indigenous nations, declared victory.
Indigenous groups in Peru ended more than a week of militant protests Aug. 20 at key energy sites after lawmakers agreed to overturn a new land law issued by President Alan García, which sought to ease corporate access to communal territories. García had issued the law by decree earlier under special powers Congress granted him to bring Peruvian law into compliance with a new free-trade deal with the US. A congressional commission voted to revoke the law Aug. 19, and floor vote is expected later this week.
Since Aug. 9, indigenous demonstrators have been demanding the repeal of two decree laws that promote private investment in their territory, and the reestablishment of a clause from the 1979 constitution — which was replaced by the new constitution in 1993 — which stated that communally owned land in indigenous territory could not be sold or embargoed. The decree laws were approved by the executive branch under special powers granted by the legislature for the implementation of the free trade agreement signed with the United States.
Chevron is being accused of promoting geopolitical blackmail in its efforts to stave off a lawsuit accusing it of contaminating the Ecuadorian rain forest. Nearly 30,000 Amazon residents are seeking $12 billion from Chevron for dumping billions of gallons of toxic oil waste. According to Newsweek, the oil giant is urging the Bush administration to yank special trade preferences for Ecuador if the country’s government doesn’t force the Amazon residents to drop the case.
This may include setting up a regional office to focus on issues of traditional knowledge and intellectual property rights.
New street protests were called for Thursday in some Amazon regions, in response to decrees issued by President Alan García, making it easier for private investors to enter the territories of native communities. The decrees were set in motion thanks to the powers granted by the legislative branch to the executive under the free trade agreement (FTA) signed with the United States. Political analysts say the government has exceeded its legal powers.
Many Canadians may never know the difficulties of people resisting the military imposition of an economic model that is ultimately intended for the entire planet, or for ’our Mother Earth’ as the indigenous peoples in Cauca call it. Many Canadians may not know the extent to which they are kept in the dark through the entrenched telling and retelling of the "Canada the good" mythology. It’s time to wake up, eh?
Ngai Tahu Seafood, the lucrative fisheries arm of one of the largest Maori tribes, says the Government’s controversial free-trade pact with China is a good deal and will earn the iwi millions of dollars.
Hundreds of Costa Rican indigenous people began a protest against the Free Trade Agreement between Central America, the Dominican Republic and the United States. They accused the FTA of imposing the use of patented seeds that prevent traditional crops and warned that the use of transgenic seeds from the United States would affect ancestral crops closely linked to the people’s view of the world and spirituality.
Con un recurso de amparo ante la Sala Constitucional, los pueblos indígenas reclaman nuevamente su derecho a ser consultados debidamente sobre el Convenio de la Unión para la Protección de Obtenciones Vegetales (UPOV 91).
Some 1,700 indigenous people participated in a July 23-27 caravan to Bogota from Santander de Quilichao in the southwestern Colombian department of Cauca to demand peace, to call for popular unity and to oppose a "free trade" agreement (TLC, from its initials in Spanish) that the government of President Alvaro Uribe has signed with the US.
The fight for land and territory and opposition to neoliberalism and free trade treaties (FTAs) with the United States are the main issues at the Indigenous People’s Summit currently meeting in Iximché, Guatemala.