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By Saulo Araujo
March 14th, 2012
“Anytime a new wall is built, hundreds of acres of forest and fertile land for food production is flooded. Anytime a new wall is built, a river dies. The death of the rivers is the end of our livelihood” - José Josivaldo, Movement of People Affected by Dams, National Coordination body member
The hugely profitable business of building dams has taken the Amazon region by storm. One hundred-forty new dams will be built in the Amazon in the next years. The lion’s share will be in Brazil, spurred on by its booming economy, but the Amazonian regions of Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Suriname, French Guyana and Guyana are also targeted by the industry.
From all corners of the world, small farmers, indigenous peoples and human rights activists have been percolating solutions upward to advance their rights to land, water and food. With 2011 behind us, Grassroots International celebrates some of the victories and inroads that took place last year, all with funding from Grassroots International and our supporters. Below are just some of the highlights.
By Saulo Araujo
December 22nd, 2011
According to a local proverb, bad news arrive arrives fast. So it was with the announcement that Brazilian president Dilma Rouseff will end the popular and effective One Million Cisterns Program in the country’s semi-arid regions.
The United Nations declared November 29 to be the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People some 63 years ago.
Away from the televised and broken streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti hosts some scenic worlds. Down south, there are remnants of cloud forests that fade into blue skies, and in the north cacti twist out of rust desert soil. The eye takes in lime green rice fields in the central valleys that give way to steep rings of mountains. Most of the people who live there are counting on humble rural livelihoods. They find an enormous source of dignity in their peasant identities. Little by little, their work breathes life back into a country that they vow to make self-sustaining once more.
The La Parota mega-dam being constructed in Guerrero, Mexico will displace over 5,000 families and have an indirect impact on an additional 15,000 lives. That is unless the Assembly of Environmentally Impacted Communities (ANAA) has a say in the matter.
Along with the Council of Communal Land Owners and Communities Against Construction of La Parota Dam (CECOP) and, another Grassroots grantee, the Mexican Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAPDER), ANAA has advocated that the state and federal government withdraw its plans to build the dam.
Below is an article from Grassroots International’s ally, the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, outlining actions planned for the commemoration of the 63rd anniversary of the Nakba on May 15, 2011. Al-Nakba, which means “the catastrophe” in Arabic, commemorates the day in 1948 on which Palestinians either fled or were forced to leave their homes, villages and towns as war broke out between the newly declared State of Israel and neighboring Arab countries in the wake of Israel’s declaration of statehood on May 14, 1948.
This blog is part of a series of blogs that Grassroots’ Latin America Program Coordinator, Saulo Araújo will be posting during his site visit to Central America. Through the “Field Notes” blogs, Saulo will share contextual analysis and information from partners and allies.
At the rate the Separation Wall is being built, soon Palestinian Land Day (March 30) will need only a few hours. The Wall and the Israeli mandated buffer zones jut into the Palestinian territories by as much as 300 feet, gobbling up fertile agricultural land and precious water reserves, and make cool profits for companies like Elbit Systems Ltd. contracted to build the massive structure.
Because we believe in the human rights to land, water and food as fundamental rights, and because Elbit reaps massive profits from land grabs like the building of the Separation Wall, Grassroots International is asking TIAA-CREF to fully divest from Elbit Systems, Ltd.