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Major U.S. Labor, Human Rights, Environmental and Women’s Organizations Denounce “Legislative Coup” Against Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff
By Maria Luisa Mendonça & Jovanna García Soto
August 24th, 2016
As the Olympic Games come to a close in Rio de Janeiro, non-governmental organizations and unions in the United States are condemning the impeachment process against Brazil’s president. A public statement released today states: “We, the undersigned organizations, support democracy in Brazil and denounce the forced removal of Brazil’s elected president, Dilma Rousseff, as well as the criminalization and repression of Brazilian social movements.”
“The impeachment of Brazil’s legitimately elected president, Dilma Rousseff, is essentially a coup by a group of right-wing politicians who themselves are under investigation for massive corruption.
Efforts to lead Haiti to self-sufficiency face a slew of chronic obstacles, including political gridlock or instability, severe environmental degradation, neglected rural infrastructure, and chronic natural disasters. Now we can add peanuts to the list.
Due to provisions in the US Farm Bill, American peanut growers can forfeit their crop, (i.e. give it away) rather than repay federal loans that are used to finance production and storage costs. And after a booming growing season, the US is sitting on 16,000 metric tons of peanuts, a good portion of which the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) plans to ship to Haiti through its “Stocks for Food” program.
By Johanna Kougbeadjo
August 16th, 2016
No social and political changes can be achieved without the men and women who dedicate their lives to the improvement of their communities' living conditions. Ricot Jean-Pierre is one of them. As the program director of our partner the Platform to Advocate Alternative Development in Haiti (PAPDA), Ricot works restlessly to better the lives of Haitians and the country itself – a fight he started at a very young age.
Ricot lived his early years under the violence of the Duvalier dictatorship. Very close friends of his and family members including his father directly experienced violence and repression.
Indigenous peoples, local communities – and likely the earth itself – are breathing a sigh of relief and celebrating a major victory. After years of organizing and a series of major environmental studies, São Luiz do Tapajós mega-dam, the largest hydroelectric project planned for the Amazon, has been canceled.
According to our partner, the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB), which has organized for years in opposition to the dam project, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) canceled the licensing of the São Luiz hydroelectric dam, citing an Environmental Impact Study.
This Father’s Day we celebrate three men who courageously strive to overcome adversity and improve the lives of their families and of their communities. Carlos Marentes, Sr., Antonal Mortimer, and Alfredo Lopez are three inspiring fathers, working with Grassroots International’s Partners in Haiti, Texas, and Honduras, and are key leaders within their communities.
Defending Workers Rights
Carlos Marentes Sr. is a leader of the Border Agricultural Workers Center in El Paso, Texas and co-coordinator of Via Campesina North America.
In May I participated in the first-ever World March of Women-US Chapter Feminist Organizing School. This training engaged World March of Women-US (WMW-US) member organizations – including Grassroots International -- around issues of feminism and gender justice. For me, this was an exciting opportunity to meet in person many of the women I’d interacted with on conference calls over the past year.
The Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), a member organization of the WMW-US, hosted the training in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
When Ben Achtenberg and his wife Emily joined the Grassroots International delegation to Mexico, he brought his camera and an eye for picture-taking, along with a deep history of engagement with global movements and political activism. You can read more about Ben's observations on his blog (Caring for Survivors of Torture), starting with "Indigenous farmers are protecting a way of life and a vital resource for the future...."
The whole blog appears here, with a snippet below:
Yesterday, May 12, the Brazilian Senate voted to begin the impeachment trial of President Dilma Rousseff in what many many Brazilian are calling an institutional and neoliberal coup. Dilma has been withdrawn from office for 180 days pending the results of Supreme Court proceedings. For her part, Dilma has vowed to fight the proceedings and has called on supporters -- both of her presidency and of democracy -- to take to the streets in protest.
This Mother’s Day we celebrate three women who find the courage to overcome the great adversity they face as they work to improve the lives of their families and of their communities. Juslene, Esperanza and Samiha are three inspiring mothers who, working with Grassroots International’s partners in Haiti, Honduras and Palestine, are key leaders within their communities.
Berta Cáceres – indigenous, environmental, and human rights defender and fierce feminist who was assassinated in Honduras on March 3rd, 2016 – was, among so many other things, a mother in resistance. She inherited this from her mother, who was an inspiration to her, and she passed this down to her own daughters and son.
Berta’s mother, Austra Bertha Flores Lopez, worked as a midwife and served as mayor of their town and then governor of their state. She taught her daughter about fighting for justice from the time she was a child. During the period of intense violence of the 1980s, Austra took in and cared for refugees from El Salvador, showing her children what real solidarity looks like.