By Dory Dinoto with Saulo Araujo
July 1st, 2009
The US-Peru Free Trade Agreement (FTA), created in 2005 by the Bush and Garcia administrations, came into effect on February 1st, 2009. Since this time, several protests have been held within the country by indigenous groups, peasants and their supporters. At the heart of the protests are several laws, which have been enacted, and since revoked, by the Garcia administration under the FTA.
Social movement leaders in Honduras, including members of Grassroots International's partner, La Via Campesina, fear for their lives, as tens of thousands have gathered to protest Sunday's coup d'etat against President Jose Manuel "Mel" Zelaya Rosales.
Please call on the Honduran Embassy to demand that the congress and military respect and guarantee the human rights of all Hondurans and reinstate the democratically elected president, Mel Zelaya.
By Nikhil Aziz
June 25th, 2009
Grassroots International's friends at the Global Development & Environment Institute (GDAE) at Tufts University announced their award of the Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought to Bina Agarwal of Delhi University, India. Agarwal is an early pioneer of research and advocacy on gender and land rights, which many of Grassroots' partners have been fighting for in the field.
Salena Tramel, Grassroots International Program Coordinator for the Middle East and Haiti, recently visited with all of Grassroots' partners in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel. This was not her first time in the region, having lived and worked in the West Bank just two years ago. Her previous experience in the region provides a vantage point from which to consider the current political, economic and social reality in the region.
Saulo and I traveled with our partner Rafael Alegria of the Via Campesina and COCOCH (Honduran Coordinating Council of Campesino Organizations), about an hour northeast of Honduras' capital Tegucigalpa, near the town of Comayagua, to meet Analina Claros, one of the leaders of the Nueve Noviembre (November 9th) settlement, and her neighbors. This is what she shared with us over a wonderful homecooked stew of chicken and vegetables and freshly made corn tortillas, all grown and raised in their settlement:
"The cascading series of events now known as the world food crisis started in Mexico as the 'tortilla war' in January 2007. It then flared up in Italy as the 'spaghetti strike' nine months later. Later it became an unstoppable avalanche ... La Vía Campesina believes that this crisis is the result of decades of destructive policies: pressure from international institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to decrease investment in small-scale food production through structural adjustment programs; increasing the power of transnational corporations; financial speculation; and more recently, governments' support for the frantic escalation in the production of agro-fuels."
Many social movements from across the Americas were in Trinidad for the 4th People’s Summit to articulate their demands for moving the hemisphere towards economic (including trade) and climate justice, food sovereignty, human rights, and an end to militarization. They represented movements of women, peasants, indigenous peoples, labor and those struggling for environmental justice.
Representatives of two of Grassroots International’s Brazilian partners were in the San Francisco Bay Area April 22 - 29 to meet with U.S. allies and help educate the U.S. public about the damaging impacts of agrofuel production in Brazil. Altacir Bunde is an economist and leader of the Popular Peasant Movement (MCP) and coordinator of the Creole Seeds Project in Goiás, Brazil. Altacir has been a leading voice in the movement to protect agro biodiversity and defend against the expansion of large scale single crop plantations in the Central Plateau of Brazil.
Sunday marked Land Day in Palestine and around the world. Land Day is an annual commemoration of the events of March 30, 1976, when the Israeli army and police killed six unarmed Palestinian protesters and injured 96 others during a peaceful protest in the Galilee. More than 300 people were also arrested in the demonstration opposing the Israeli authorities' seizure of 5,500 acres as "closed military zones."