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By Krystal Kilhart
August 16th, 2016
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.
Since its implementation in 1994 the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has had a devastating impact on our partners and the people of Mexico. The trade agreement has resulted in the destruction of rural livelihoods and the environment, a decrease in jobs and wages, more economic and social inequalities and an increase in human rights violations.
NAFTA was promoted on the premise of creating more economic opportunity yet 52.2% of Mexican people live in poverty, approximately the same level as when NAFTA went into effect, and Mexico’s gross domestic product per capita has grown at an insignificant rate of 0.89 percent per year, much slower than almost every other Latin American country.
By Sara Mersha
February 2nd, 2016
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a potentially disastrous “trade” deal, fundamentally undermines economic and social equality, environmental protection, and human rights. With Congress poised to vote on the Obama-touted deal, it’s time to expose the false promises of the TPP.
The final TPP text was finally released in November after seven years of secretive negotiations, during which 500 official U.S. trade advisors representing corporate interests had special access and Congress, the public and press were shut out.
The fate of the Garifuna people of Honduras hangs in the balance as they face a Honduran state that is all too eager to accommodate the neoliberal agenda of U.S. and Canadian investors. The current economic development strategy of the Honduran government, in the aftermath of the 2009 coup against the democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya, has not only benefited the political and economic elite in Honduras, but it has also encouraged the usurpation of some of the territories of indigenous peoples of this Central American nation. The often-violent expropriation of indigenous land threatens the Garifuna’s subsistence.
The US Treasury Department will now be responsible for restructuring Guatemala’s tax collection agency (the Superintendency of Tax Administration, or SAT). That announcment came last week from the US Ambassador and Guatemala’s President and follows weeks of public outrage and political fallout after a customs bribery ring was exposed in a UN-backed investigation.
People who are concerned about climate disruption and hunger are talking more and more about agroecology, that is, using ecological, economic, cultural, and gender justice principles to inform agricultural practices and systems. And those people are joining Grassroots International and our global partners in advocating for a shift toward agroecology to create a more sustainable future.
In the United States we’ve spent months zeroing in on the reality of police brutality against Black people. We’ve been grateful to see and take part in a growing movement that addresses structural racism—pointing out that Black people are disproportionately more likely to die at the hands of police, face institutional racism, and breathe more polluted air.
In the Black nation of Haiti, too, there has been a systematic dismissal of the value of Black lives and US policy has been deeply implicated in interventions that slaughter the interests of Haiti’s people in favor of a narrow elite.
On this International Migrants Day (December 18), Grassroots International pays tribute to the courage and dedication of many of our partners and allies, internationally and in the U.S., who are working at the intersection of migrant justice and resource rights. One of these partners is Carlos Marentes, Sr., director of Centro De Los Trabajadores Agrícolas Fronterizos (the Border Agricultural Workers Center) in El Paso, Texas. A close Grassroots International partner and co-coordinator of Via Campesina North America.
What could be more routine than saving seeds from one season to the next? After all, that is how we grow crops on our farms and in our gardens. Yet from Guatemala to Ghana, from Mozambique to Malaysia, this basic practice is being turned into a criminal offence, so that half a dozen large multinational corporations can turn seeds into private property and make money from them.
But people are fighting back and in several countries popular mobilisations are already forcing governments to put seed privatisation plans on hold.
We are writing to update you on crucial developments in advancing agroecology at the international level while strengthening opposition to the intentionally misleading “Climate Smart Agriculture” model being promoted by the World Bank, FAO, and newly launched corporate-dominated Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture.
As recognition of the legitimacy of agroecology grows, large-scale agribusiness is driving a concerted, pre-emptive effort to counter it. It is called Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA). But do not be fooled by this title. The model incentivizes destructive industrial agricultural practices by tying it to carbon market offsets based on unreliable and non-permanent emissions reduction protocols.