By Carlo Calabró
On May 26, 27 and 28 of this year 2005, in La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras, representatives of civil, popular and indigenous organizations from Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico and Honduras met, accompanied by the presence of civilian observers. peacekeepers.
Forum for Mesoamerican Exchange of Resistances in Defense of Our Rights, Resources and Peoples
On May 26, 27 and 28 of this year 2005, in La Esperanza, Intibucá, Honduras, the Mesoamerican Exchange of Resistance in Defense of our Rights, Resources and Peoples was held.
Representatives of civil and popular and indigenous organizations from Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico and Honduras met there, accompanied by the presence of international civil peace observers.
For the peoples and popular organizations of Mesoamerica these last few months have been more than difficult.
In Honduras, in the first days of March 2005, the President of the National Congress, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, together with his allies, ratified the Free Trade Agreement with the United States by surprise. This is precisely after having assured the different popular organizations in mobilization for a few weeks that he would have consulted them before the final approval of the international agreement.
One more deception of the powerful towards the peoples.
The ratification of this treaty, as we well know in Mexico after ten years of suffering its impositions, entails, among other things, a real impoverishment of the population, the death of the countryside as a development option, the sale of resources at low prices. natural and long-term loss of the country's sovereignty itself, in addition to the worsening of serious phenomena already known in the state such as migration to the north and the facilitation of the entry of the maquiladora industries that are already dominant in the Honduran economy.
At the same time, the State is pressing for the implementation of neoliberal projects financed directly by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank (WB) such as the Puebla Panama Plan, the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor and the PATH (Land Administration Project from Honduras).
The PATH and its legal framework, the Property Law, known as the law for the reduction of poverty through the regularization of Property, is a serious threat to the indigenous and black peoples of Honduras since its article 100 allows the dissolution of the community property titles that is part of the worldview of these peoples.
This project responds to a strategy at the Mesoamerican level where agrarian reform laws are being multiplied that follow a neoliberal atomistic vision and that are the spearhead to perpetrate constant assaults on the natural resources found in territories of ancestral property of indigenous peoples. like water, earth, wood and minerals.
In Guatemala, after the approval of the Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Central America and the Dominican Republic, which has caused a balance of 2 deaths and 16 arrests among the protesters in full violation of the most fundamental Human Rights, the attitude of the Berger government it has continued to be repressive and in direct confrontation with indigenous and peasant organizations that try to counteract the tragic consequences of neoliberal economic policy.
An example of this can be found in the small department of San Marcos, bordering on its northern border with the State of Chiapas in Mexico.
As of July 31, 2003, the Ministry of Energy and Mines had approved, throughout the country, 247 mining exploitation licenses and 255 mining exploration licenses, as well as 21 applications for mining recognition. From 2000 to 2004, 95% of the mining concessions were approved. This is mainly due to the entry into force of decree 48-97 mining law.
In the department of San Marcos there is one exploitation concession and five mining exploration concessions, entrusted to the Canadian transnational company Glamis Gold through its subsidiary Entre Mares, projects that affect the municipalities of Concepción Tutuapa, Ixchiguan, San Marcos, San Miguel Ixtahuacán, San Pedro Sacatepéquec, Sibinal, Sipacapa, Tacaná, Tajumulco Comitancillo, Tejutla and San José Ojetenam.
It should be noted that all these licenses were granted in violation of the rulings of the Political Constitution of the State of Guatemala and the Peace Agreement, especially the Agreement on Identity and Rights of Indigenous Peoples. At the same time, there were no consultations with the affected communities, as established in art. 15 of ILO Convention No. 169, ratified by Guatemala on June 5, 1996.
To achieve the extraction of minerals such as gold and silver, elements such as cyanide, lead and zinc have to be used and the repercussions on people, the earth and aquifers are highly toxic, thus causing damage to health and the environment. and, again, violating the basic human rights whose respect makes a state, a civil country.
In El Salvador the owners change but the damage remains.
The mining project in San Francisco El Dorado will be executed, with a 6-year concession, by the Canadian company Pacific Rim.
The beneficiaries of the extractions will be a few foreign businessmen since, as in the case of Guatemala, the agreements between the transnational and the government foresee that 1% of the total amount of the profit will go to the state and the remaining 99% will go for the pockets of the company.
In this context, the Mesoamerican meeting for the exchange of resistance took place.
The peoples, waking up, have felt the need to meet across borders and share their different resistance struggles.
The various problems were analyzed and the conclusion was reached that a single boss, neoliberal capitalism, is ruling this region, which is why a resounding rejection was expressed of free trade agreements and mega-projects financed by international financial institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and, in the region, the Inter-American Development Bank and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration.
At the same time, alternatives were also raised and joint actions were agreed:
· The construction of an alternative and community development goes through the indigenous worldview where respect and the correlation between men, women and the environment leads to communities being the protagonists of their own progress.
· The defense of Creole seeds, the incentive of organic agriculture and collective work, together with the formation of more cooperatives that facilitate the sale of traditional products through alternative trade channels, are the path identified to eradicate poverty and achieve food sovereignty.
· The development of an autonomous and popular education, together with the recovery of the wisdom of the elderly and the different forms of traditional crafts.
The creation of autonomous and community health houses, the training of health aides at the level of each community, sexual education with a particular focus on gender, the conservation of traditional plants and the implementation of natural medicine, are the way to rescue the traditional culture of the peoples and, through it, avoid the cultural genocide that the neoliberal policy is carrying out against the indigenous and black peoples of Mesoamerica.
The peoples are already united, the steps are being taken, barefoot and slow, but firm towards the construction of a world where all worlds fit.
Declaration of Hope
The representatives of the peasant, indigenous and black peoples of Meso America, gathered on the occasion of the development of the forum "Mesoamerican Exchange of Resistance in defense of our rights, resources and peoples" issued the following declaration:
1. We reject in the most energetic way the scam suffered by the Honduran people, especially the Garífuna people, with the sale of the Bahía de Tela, through the International Cooperation Agencies and the financing of the International Financial Institutions (IDB, WB, IMF, etc.)
2. We sympathize with the struggle of the Salvadoran people against the company -Pacific Rim- for the construction of the El Dorado mine, which threatens the lives of the communities of the Cabaña department.
3. Once again we express our opposition and repudiation of the FTA, the PPP and its nefarious projects such as the CBM instruments of death against the Mesoamerican peoples and natural resources.
4. We will continue to deepen the campaign “Yes to life, no to IFIs”.
5. We reject the actions of dispossession of the land masked in individual titling programs, or the implementation of laws and programs that legalize the usurpations of the ancestral territories of the peoples. Such as the Program for Land Administration in Honduras (PATH), PROCEDE in Chiapas and the other land projects funded by the EU and the US.
In particular we sympathize with the community of Sambo Creek, Atlántida, Honduras, which is threatened with being dispossessed of their ancestral lands.
6. We demand the immediate freedom of political prisoners, imprisoned for their active membership in social organizations in Mesoamerica.
7. We demand the clarification of the murders of social leaders and the punishment of the guilty.
8. We reject the summit of Central American presidents who seek to impose neoliberal policies and free trade agreements in our region.
9. We support the struggles of the peoples of the world for the construction of a more just and humane society.
10. We recognize the usefulness of popular exchange spaces that strengthen articulation, exchange and brotherhood, committing ourselves to continue.
"BECAUSE A JUST AND DIGNIFIED MESOAMERICA IS POSSIBLE"
La Esperanza, Intibucá May 28, 2005
ADES, CIEPAC, COMPA, COPINH, MST, OFRANEH, National and International Civil Society.
* Carlo Calabró
NEWSLETTER “CHIAPAS AL DÍA” No. 466