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Jul 02, 2009

Movement against mining's leader disappears

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 02, 2009 11:13 AM
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CESTA/Friends of the Earth El Salvador expresses concern about the disappearance of Gustavo Marcelo Rivera Moreno, leader of the social movement against mining in San Isidro Cabañas. His has not been seen since June 18.

Rivera Moreno, has been one of the main activists and opponents against the presence of mining companies in Cabañas. He campaigned against the harmful effect the mining operations were having on the environment and human health.

In recent years church groups, environmentalists and civil society leaders in the region have maintained strong opposition to the operations of the companies involved urging the government to take a similar position.

In El Salvador, 6% of the territory has been acquired by large organizations for the mining of gold, silver and copper. The Canadian company Pacific Rim is one of the largest players in the country.

CESTA  are calling on the authorities to launch a thorough investigation into the disappearance of Gustavo Marcelo Rivera Moreno. In addition they express there sympathies with relatives, social organizations and environmentalists that work and fight to prevent the continued destruction of the environment in the area.


take action

There will be a period of mobilization and protest starting today until next Sunday in Central Park, San Isidro, Cabañas, El Salvador.


The alternative g8 summit

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 02, 2009 10:31 AM

Ahead of next week's G8 summit in Naples, Italy, members of civil society movements are gathering in Sardinia for an alternative G8 summit.

GS8_logo-web.jpgFor a large part of the official G8 summit world leaders will be discussing climate change. Whereas they will be talking about market based solutions and the World Bank's role in bringing about a low carbon economy the alternative summit will be discussing how this transition must be managed in a way that does not harm the poor by limiting energy access or the right to develop, and adds to the empowerment of local communities to make decisions about local resources.


FoE Asia Pacific statement on Honduras

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 02, 2009 11:58 AM
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Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific stands in solidarity with the Honduran people and the Latin American nations.

foe-asia-pacific-web.jpgWe, the women and men of Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific (FoE APac), defend and uphold human dignity and the universal sanctity of human rights. We believe in a just society where sovereignty and social justice can only be attained through genuine democracy.


As a continent that has been ravaged by dictatorships and oppression, we oppose dictators and the military in their fascist attempts to suppress the sovereign rights of peoples. We continue to fight and stand together with masses of people, with communities and with movements in pushing for genuine democracy.

We cannot remain silent when our sisters and brothers across the oceans are blatantly denied their genuine democracy and are being abused for exercising their rights.

Therefore, our nations in the Asia Pacific, stand together with our sisters and brothers in Honduras and in Latin America who are opposing the fascist coup d'etat staged against the Honduran people and the government of Honduras which led to the kidnapping and exile of President-elect Manuel Zelaya.

We reject the installation of Roberto Micheletti as Honduran President and condemn the Congress, the military forces and their elitist powerful cohorts in protecting an installed leadership in Honduras which is not the popular will of the Honduran people.

We denounce the blatant abuse of power and the human rights violations committed against the right of the Honduran people to demonstrate against the perpetrators of the coup d'etat, where hundreds were beaten and seriously wounded. We oppose the repression, intimidation, persecution and silencing of our comrades and leaders of social movements.

We denounce the crack-down on freedom of speech and the closing down of broadcast media where national television stations and radio stations were taken off the air following Sunday's military-led coup d'etat. We condemn the corporate mass media in promoting Micheletti and the Honduran oligarchy in their efforts to stop popular will and peoples' democracy by justifying and supporting the coup d'etat.  

We, therefore, demand:

  1. The immediate and unconditional reinstatement of Manuel Zelaya as the President elect of Honduras;
  2. The protection and respect towards Manuel Zelaya upon his return to Honduras;
  3. That freedom of speech be respected and that the crack-down on broadcase media immediately ceases;
  4. That Honduran Armed Forces immediately cease to protect the interest of the powerful and the elite, and instead fulfil their duty to serve and protect Honduras and its people;
  5. That activists and leaders of social movements are respected and not harmed while exercising their right to freedom of speech; and
  6. That an immediate investigation be conducted on the human rights violations that have been committed against demonstrators, activists and social movements and that justice will be attained for those who fought for genuine democracy

We call on the international community to continue to be vigilant and support genuine democracy in Honduras.  Say NO TO FASCIST MILITARY RULE! NO TO DICTATORSHIP! NO TO HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!

In solidarity, the women and men of Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific, stand united with our sisters and brothers in Honduras.

Friends of the Earth Australia, BELA – FoE Bangladesh, WALHI – FoE Indonesia, FoE Japan, SAM – FoE Malaysia, ProPublic – FoE Nepal, PENGON – FoE Palestine, CELCOR – FoE Papua New Guinea, LRC/KsK – FoE Philippines, KFEM – FoE South Korea, CEJ – FoE Sri Lanka and HABURAS – FoE Timor Leste

GSott8 opens!

by PhilLee — last modified Jul 02, 2009 03:00 PM

Ahead of the G8 summit in L’Aquila, Italy, the alternative G8 summit is taking place in Sardinia. Nnimmo Bassey Chair of Friends of the Earth International is there.

It is the 1st of July and we were on our way to the Southern tip of Italy. Getting to Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy, was a fascinating experience. From the aircraft seat, the runway below was clearly in sight but the pilot went a circuitous path before finally touching them smoothly. As we came in, you could see the entire breadth of the Sardinia Island, its rugged mountains and some of its population centres. On this flight were four of us heading for the GSott8: Luca of CRBM, Zakir Kibria of Praxa  Bangla, Bangladesh, Nicholas Hildyard of the Corner House and yours truly.

The welcome party was warm and soon we were on our way to Iglesias…town name and not a bunch of churches, if you get what I mean. The ride ended in a restaurant at the city centre where we did not only dine and wine but began to talk about the events of the next days. By midnight a bunch of us were on our way to Casa di Nonna, a Bed & Breakfast at Villamassargia…,which I thought was a massage home! But it was not…


2nd July broke with a bright sunlight hitting my tightly shut eyes from long before 6 AM. A quick breakfast and we were on our way to a trip to the mines at Monteponi….  Soon helmeted, we entered the belly of the earth though tunnels dug by men from 1882 and from which zinc, copper and lead were mined until 8 years ago. The mines and related infrastructure now serves as the Faculty of Mineralogy of the University of Cagliari where studies are focussed on the mining and other engineering studies.


The mine is as interesting as it is instructive.  Most of its equipment and spare parts were manufactured on the location and once installed were expected to stay in the belly of the earth “for ever.” The mine starts from 150m above sea level and goes down 200m below sea level and required a massive water pumping works to keep the water out of the tunnels and allow the extraction of the vital minerals.

Why was the mine closed? This is the point that is so instructive: the entire operations were so expensive that it did not make economic sense to invest so much resource on it. In other words, it was cheaper to import the zinc, lead and copper that this mine offered than to keep tunneling here. On account of this, and although there is still copper, zinc and lead underground, the mines are shut dues to economic exigencies. On result of this is that the huge labour force that was once employed in the mines were suddenly thrown into the labour market and the towns that grew around the mines are now a shadow of the ebullient selves they must have been in the hey days of hard helmets, picks and hammers.


Lesson learned: just because you have a resource does not mean that you must extract it. Thinking about crude oil: if the true cost of oil were paid, everyone would have left the resource in the soil! But because the crude is extracted from communities of the voiceless, the environmental costs, human rights abuses and the works are conveniently ignored and the world remains stuck on model of civilization that has dragged humanity into a blind corner.

Leave the oil in the soil, the coal in the hole and the tar sand in the land! The day ended with an opening event at the centre of Carbonia, a carbon town or a city built to service coal mines that have also been shut. Leaders of the municipal authorities who also welcomed all to the G8 Underground attended the opening event. This was followed by denunciations of the G8 and a condemnation of the subversion of the democratic systems of Honduras.

3rd July and the G8 Underground is set to focus on oil, gas and mining. We just concluded two interview panels...the first featured Ivonne Yanez of Accion Ecologica, Ecuador  while the second had me on the hot seat and I was interviewed by Nick of the Corner House ... More to come…