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International Communiqué, Sunday September 24th, 2011 | Serious Concerns Regarding the Amazon Road Campaign / U .S. Influence & REDD

The following communiqué was issued to an International Climate Justice list on Sunday, September 24th, 2011. Where no authorization by contributors has been approved, names and list identities have been removed. Where contributors have authorized their views be made public, names are identified. -admin

From: Cory Morningstar
Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2011 10:34 AM
To: (removed)@lists.riseup.net
Cc: (removed)
Subject: FW: Serious Concerns Regarding the Amazon Road Campaign / U.S. Influence & REDD
Importance: High

I would like to open this discussion up to the (removed) list. More to come.

From: Cory Morningstar
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2011 8:45 AM
To: ‘(removed) Organizer List’
Subject: Serious Concerns Regarding the Amazon Road Campaign / U.S. Influence & REDD
Importance: High

I have become seriously cautious of this campaign. I became alarmed when I read about the WikiLeaks cable (in the article below) on September 18, 2011. The cables show that USAID is being used as a tool to manipulate discontented indigenous communities to create divisions. We all know that industrialization can only succeed when traditional communities are successfully destroyed. It is no secret of the attempts by the U.S. to overthrow Latin America presidents who refuse to become puppets for the Imperialist states. It is no secret of the propaganda they use to create negative public perception of leaders who use their resources to further their own people rather than to further U.S. Imperialism.

The bad feeling in my stomach really hit home with the Avaaz campaign. I found it strange that this group would lend its voice to this particular campaign. Especially when ecological disastrous international events like the Olympics (recently in Vancouver, Canada) destroy massive amounts of land on Indigenous territories – which the corporate greens do not seem to care less about. The Avaaz NGO (Soros funding) has never even endorsed the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba.

Avaaz is a member of The Climate Group.

The Climate Group is pushing REDD: http://www.theclimategroup.org/_assets/files/Reducing-Emissions-from-Deforestation.pdf

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund also acts as an incubator for in-house projects that later evolve into free-standing institutions – a case in point being ‘The Climate Group’, launched in London in 2004. The Climate Group coalition includes more than 50 of the world’s largest corporations and sub-national governments, including big polluters such as energy giants BP and Duke Energy, as well as several partner organizations, one being that of the big NGO Avaaz. The Climate Group are advocates unproven carbon capture and storage technology (CCS), nuclear power and biomass as crucial technologies for a low-carbon economy. The Climate Group works closely with other business lobby groups, including the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), which works consistently to sabotage climate action. The Climate Group also works on other initiatives, one being that of the ‘Voluntary Carbon Standard’, a new global standard for voluntary offset projects. One marketing strategist company labeled the Climate Group’s campaign ‘Together’ as “the best inoculation against greenwash”. The Climate Group has operations in Australia, China, Europe, India, and North America. It was a partner to the ‘Copenhagen Climate Council’.

http://www.theclimategroup.org/about-us/our-partners/

The Morales government has accused CIDOB of receiving funding from the U.S. To this accurate claim – a legitimate concern to put it mildly, the organizers simply respond they do so “despite any clear proof that the USA is behind the march”. (underline added) This statement is not reassuring.

[US interference: As the uprising against neoliberalism grew in strength, overthrowing a neoliberal president in 2003, US imperialism sought to use money to increase divisions within the indigenous movements. In late 2005, investigative journalist Reed Lindsay published an article in NACLA that used declassified US documents to expose how US government-funded agency USAID was used to this effect. USAID was already planning by 2002 to “help build moderate, pro-democracy political parties that can serve as a counterweight to the radical MAS or its successors”. The downfall in 2003 of president Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada triggered a step-up in this subversive activity. A particular target was CIDOB. The group was in a crisis after Fabricano was accused of profiting from illegal logging and he accepted the post of vice-minister of Indigenous Affairs under Sanchez de Lozada. Through USAID funding to the Brecha Foundation, an NGO established by CIDOB leaders, the US hoped to further mould the organisation to its own ends. Referring to comments made by Brecha director Victor Hugo Vela, Lindsay notes that during this time, “CIDOB leaders allied with Fabricano have condemned the cultivation of coca, helped the business elite in the department of Santa Cruz to push for region autonomy and opposed a proposal to require petroleum companies to consult with indigenous communities before drilling on their lands”. The CSUTCB (divided between followers of Morales and radical Aymara leader Felipe Quispe), CSCB, FNMCB-BS and organisations such as the neighbourhood councils of El Alto (Fejuve), and to a less extent worker and miner organisations, were at the forefront of constant street battles and insurrections. CIDOB, however, took an approach marked by negotiation and moderation. It was not until July 2005 that CIDOB renewed its leadership, in turn breaking relations with Brecha. CIDOB was not the only target for infiltration. With close to $200,000 in US government funds, the Land and Liberty Movement (MTL) was set up in 2004 by Walter Reynaga. As well as splitting the Movement of Landless Peasant’s (MST), one wing of which operated out of his La Paz office, Lindsay said Reynaga, like Vega, tried to win control of the “MAS-aligned” CONAMAQ.]

Are we playing into the hands of the U.S. government???

Questions:

1) Do any of the 20 groups (or is it really 10?) opposing the highway (which at least 44-54 Indigenous groups DO support) support REDD? (according this article: The answer is yes: http://boliviarising.blogspot.com/2011/09/bolivia-amazon-protest-development.html)

2) Are any of the groups opposing the highway receiving funding from the U.S. government? It appears they clearly are. The organizers have acknowledged this to e true

3) Is the League for the Defence of the Environment involved in this campaign? (set up with U.S. gov’t funds and supported by USAID)

4) Is the League for the Defence of the Environment FUNDING any of the groups opposed?

5) Is the League for the Defence of the Environment involved in this in any way?

If we are to be fighting for climate justice, surely we can all agree that Bolivia’s sovereignty be respected/defended. In this article (http://expertscolumn.com/content/evo-morales-offers-consultation-controversial-path-amazon) it is reported that Morales is attempting to resolve this issue with the people. It also states that the marchers represent 10 communities.

Bolivia: US worked to divide social movements, WikiLeaks shows

Sunday, September 18, 2011

By Federico Fuentes

WikiLeaks’ release of cables from the United States embassy in La Paz has shed light on its attempts to create divisions in the social and indigenous movements that make up the support base of the country’s first indigenous-led government.

The cables prove the embassy sought to use the US government aid agency, USAID, to promote US interests.

A March 6, 2006, cable titled “Dissent in Evo’s ranks” reports on a meeting only months after Morales’ inauguration as president in December 2005 with “a social sectors leader” from the altiplano (highlands) region in the west.

The social leader was said to have links with the radical federation of neighbourhood councils in El Alto (Fejuve), the coca growers union in Los Yungas and a peasant organisation in La Paz.

Many of these organisations, in particular Fejuve, spearheaded the wave of revolt that overthrew two pro-US neoliberal presidents in 2003 and 2005. It was also crucial to the election of Morales.

Despite viewing these sectors as “traditionally confrontational organisations”, then-ambassador David Greenlee believed that: “Regardless of [US] policy direction in Bolivia, working more closely with these social sector representatives” who were expressing dissent towards Morales “seems to be most beneficial to [US government] interests”.

Another cable from February 25, 2008 reports on a meeting then-US ambassador Philip Goldberg held with “indigenous leaders (particularly leaders of the eastern lowlands)”.

Most of Bolivia’s two largest indigenous peoples, the Aymaras and Quechuas, live in the highlands and central regions.

The east is home to the remaining 34 indigenous peoples. It is also home to the gas transnationals and large agribusiness.

The east was the focal point of right-wing movements that tried to overthrow Morales.

In the cable, great attention is paid to the “growing tensions” between Aymaras and Quechuas on one hand and the lowlands-based indigenous groups “who feel neglected by a self-proclaimed-Aymara, cocalero president”.

An October 17, 2007, cable titled “Indigenous cohesion cracking in Bolivia” reported that
a leader from the National Council of Ayllus and Markas of Qollasuyu (CONAMAQ), which groups together 16 rural indigenous organisations in the altiplano, told embassy officials the Morales government was simply using indigenous peoples for to promote its “goal of socialism [which] does not coincide with ‘true indigenous’ goals”.

The US embassy’s heightened interest in all things “indigenous” following decades of supporting governments that repressed and excluded them is explained in a February 6, 2007, cable.

In it, Goldberg said that “only a leftist government that includes indigenous interests … would have a chance to govern divisive Bolivia”.

Since “a right-wing government would likely lead to greater conflict”, the ability to reach out to indigenous leaders inclined to support US interests was necessary.

For this reason, Goldberg concluded his February 25, 2008, cable by stating that meetings with “indigenous leaders outside of the dominant Aymara and Quechua communities will provide useful information and demonstrate that the United States is interested in views of all indigenous peoples”.

An important tool used for reaching out to indigenous communities is USAID.

A January 28, 2008 cable said USAID social programs aimed at the “poorest and marginalized groups” would prove hard for the government to attack. The cable ends by saying USAID programs should “also seek to counteract anti-USG [US government] rhetoric…”

This was facilitated via funding to independent radio journalists to report on “the benefits of USG assistance to rural communities” and various workshops held in indigenous communities.

A June 15, 2009, cable revealed US concerns at its ability to achieve its aims by working directly with the government.

It noted “anti-US attitudes in key leadership positions” and “nationalistic bristling over being treated with ‘dignity’”.

The cable cited Bolivian government opposition to the US agricultural attache having veto powers over proposed programs.

Government officials’ recent talk of expelling USAID for their subversive activities may pose a more immediate threat to US imperialism realising its goals in Bolivia.

http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/48865

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