(April 27, 1990) The following is a translation of the Declaration of EcoIndependence document, drafted by participants (listed below) of the Conferencia regional sudamericana: "Nuestro Futuro Comun" (South American Regional Conference: "Our Common Future"), which was held in Santiago, Chile in October 1989.
(331.3307) WISE Amsterdam - In the shadow of brazen dictatorships and hesitating democracies, South America and its peoples have, in the course of this whole century, been sacrificed on the altars of a fictitious progress, that not only has destroyed the human-material reality, but furthermore has created serious bio-climatical disturbances and new annihilating calamities.
What economists call "the Lost Decade" (referring to the tremendous eighties), actually dissimulates a process of genocide, in which people and environment have been exploited for the benefit of small national and supranational groups that - as they did in colonial times - only suffocate the present and deny the future.
The burden of the foreign debt, the plundering of national resources, the open or hidden violence in the daily life of millions of beings, and the everyday agony of our souls, are inscribed in the dynamics that were once called "Conquista", and that today stand for an unmistakable ecological system ruled by tyranny that only assures more of the same behind the mask of technocratic modernity.
Chained to their television screens, our peoples are being hypnotized by the lures of a Consumer Society accessible to only a precious few, while our forests are being cut down, our waters poisoned, our children are getting sick, our young people are using drugs, our nature is dying and our big cities suffocate us.
The names of the Liberators of America are used today not to remember their emancipatory mission, but to organize soccer championships or ski tournaments in the Antarctic. In the meantime more gigantic hydroelectric darns, atomic energy plants, petrochemical conglomerates, mining consorts, toxic waste sites, arms factories and monumental bank buildings are planted in the landscape of the new world, the same Imperial way the Indian and Black slaves in other times were enchained to work in mines and cotton fields, thus impelling native cultures into dead-end streets.
The chemical poison and the plundering of the natural and social resources make the future impossible. According to the World Health Organization, 25% of our population is ill. Our children's hospitals expand their wards for cancer patients, and the streets are filled with children, old and crazy people, that no one has anything to offer to. The countryside is left empty, the cities burst. Gardens wither, oxygen becomes rare. Hunched in dark shanties, human shadows only hope the next day will be less cruel. In factories and offices, people, far from enjoying life, only sweat In favor of the gross national product. And In the illusory middle class comfort, nobody knows anymore what he was born for.
Today they do not lure us with glass beads, but with asphalt and cement, acrylic and silicone fetishes.
An electronic eye counts up profits, and the brotherhood of man has lost its memory. When the fish are gone and the birds sing no longer, it will be too late.
Therefore, we should make ours the words of Ailton Krenak, coordinator of the Indian Nations of Brazil, that are reproduced in the report "Nuestro Futuro Comun" (Our Common Future): "I have come here, being as I am the son of a small nation, the Krenak Indian nation. We live in the valley of the Dulce river, that forms the border between the states of Espirito Santo and Minas Gerais.
"We are a micro-country, a micronation. When the government took our lands in the Dulce River Valley, it wanted to offer us another place to live. But neither the state nor the government will ever understand that for us there is no other place to go.
"The only place where the Krenak can live and re-establish their existence, communicate with their gods, with their nature, live their lives, is where our God created us. It is of no avail that the government moves us to a very beautiful place with abundant wildlife and fish. The Krenak population will continue dying and insisting that there is no other place for them to live.
"I feel very sad observing the incapacity of humanity. It is not pleasant for me to come here to a session of the World Commission on Environment and Development and make these declarations. We can't continue contemplating the planet that we live on as though it were a chessboard where people nxwe things from one side to another. We can't see our planet as something apart from the cosmos.
"We are not crazy because we believe that for us it is impossible to live away from our place of origin. Respect the place where we live, don't degrade our living conditions, respect this life.
"We have no arms to press our points, the only thing we do have is the right to proclaim our dignity and the need to live in our lands. The only place for us to sow a full and just life, is America.
"And we now see that the war of plundering has spread to Amazonia and Antarctica.
"For 500 years our existence has culturally and materially been victimized. We are preparing to celebrate In 1992 the end of the Cheating of America and the popular confirmation of the Discovery of our priorities: Lasting Independence will then hopefully be a priority for us all.
"We believe that the time has come to live. The hour has come to apply social justice to the wounds and sores of our peoples. The hour has come to invent again the brotherhood, that within the Universal Order aspires to raise the values of the terrestrial (earthly) evolution.
"The moment has come to declare peace to nature. And, wherever you are, whoever you are and whatever you have, at last the urgent need has arrived to transform our America Into a real home, and not an infected waste, full of grins and talk.
"It is unavoidable to revise the Charta of the United Nations in order to bring out against the monologues of the governments the broken voices of the victims of an anti-human technocracy.
"What we need now are conferences at the roots of the earth, in place of more 'top' meetings, that just continue business as usual.
"Today is the first day of our Rebirth.
"The pages missing in this Declaration will have to be lived by all in the years to come, so that we don't become another 'missing link', and so that we can build a new society, just, free, ecological, sovereign, solidary (solid and united) and sacred."
Las Vertientes, Santiago, Chile,
Argentina: Miguel Grinberg (Promundo); Raul Montenegro (FUNAM); Juan Schroeder (Fundaclon Tierralerta)
Bolivia: Claudia Renaboldo (SEMTA); Mario Baudoin (Instituto de Ecologia)
Brasil: Clovis Birgagao (IPRA); Veronica Silvetra de Toledo (Instituto de Estudios Amazonicos); Jose Augusto Padua (Nucleo de Investigacion de Ecologia y Sociedad); Ruy de Goes Leite de Barros (CEDI)
Colombia: Ricardo Sanchez (Colegio Verde Villa de Leyva); Gustavo Wilches-Chaux (Asociacion para Ia Naturaleza)
Chile: Manuel Baquedano (Instituto de Ecologla Politica); Delia Silva (Comite Chileno por el Desarme y la Desnuclearizacion); Luis Parra (CETAL) Alfredo Fonseca (Fundacion para el Desarrollo de Magallanes)
Ecuador: Galo Veintemilla (Accion Ecologlea)
Paraguay: Jorge Abatte (Altervida)
Peru: Luis Gornero (Instituto de Desarrollo y Medio Ambiente); Oscar Chiappa (Instituto de Polemologia)
Uruguay: Eduardo Gudynas (Centro Latinoamericano de Ecologia Social); Ruben Prieto (Red de Ecologia Social-Amigos de Ia Tierra)
Venezuela: Omar Ovalies (Forja)
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Other meetings that have taken place in Latin America:
Global Development and Environment Crisis - Has Man A Future? April 1987
Primera conferencia centroamericana de accion ambiental (First Central American Conference for Environment Action "On the Fate and Hope of the Earth", Managua, Nicaragua, May 1987
Primer encuentro Latinoamericano Antinuclear (ELAN) (First Latin-American Anti-Nuclear Meeting), October 1987, Ezeiza, Buenos Aires, Argentina
First Latin American Indigenous Congress on the Conservation of Natural Resources and the Environment, Panama, November 1989
Primer congreso latinoamericano de ecologia: CLAE (First Latin American Congress on Ecology), Montevideo, Urguay, December 1989
Second ELAN, April 1990, Porto Alegre, Brazil
Source: Instituto de Ecologia Politica
For more information on these meetings, contact: Cesar Padilla, WISE-Amsterdam; Instituto de Ecologia Politica, Casilla, 16784 Correo 9, Santiago, Chile.
Big Mountain Aktionsgruppe e.V., a group in West Germany working on international support for Native Americans, is now preparing for the 6th European Meeting of North American Indian Support Groups which will take place on 23-27 July. The group has decided to "gear up" it's communication systems. They write, "We now can be reached by FAX, the number is (from Canada and the US) 0049-89-484439. Also we now have an answering machine operating under our usual number 0049-89-4489358. To reach us personally on every Monday call us from 6pm to midnight (Central European Summertime). Usually we also can be reached any other day of the week at these hours, but one cannot be too sure. Currently we are also preparing COYOTE's second issue, a magazine containing news and reports on the situation of North American natives. Any information, also photos etc. sent to us are very much appreciated. For the European Meeting we intend to publish a Euro-COYOTE in the English language as a reader presenting the various issues which will be dealt with at the conference to ensure a broad knowledge of the participants beforehand. If you intend to present your case at the Meeting we urge you to send us something."
Source and contact: Big Mountain Aktionspruppe e.V., do Seiller, Franziskanerstr. 36, 8000 München 80, FRG: telephone and fax numbers are above.