Friday, December 17, 2010

Cancun: The victory was in the streets

Cancun: The victory was in the streets
Wikileaks and Evo Morales: Revelations in Cancun
By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photos: La Via Campesina Peoples March Photo 1: Ofelia Rivas, O'odham/Photos copyright Brenda Norrell
CANCUN – Cancun was the perfect city, with its dreamy climate, for the Conference on Climate Change, COP 16. With its Las Vegas style strip, it was also the perfect city to expose the haves and have-nots of the world and the machinations of rich countries who seek to sell the air, water and forests as commodities. It provided the perfect backdrop for Bolivian President Evo Morales’ to expose revelations on US spies and Wikileaks.
Beneath an outdoor canopy on a basketball court in downtown Cancun, there was a hero's welcome for President Morales when he met with thousands of people at La Via Campesina. With jubilant Mariachi and Andean music -- farmers, laborers, workers, Indigenous Peoples, mothers and migrants -- welcomed their hero, a hero of the people.
Flanked by rows of television cameras, musicians and climate marchers, President Morales was honored by thousands who were barred from attending the official UN Conference on Climate Change at the Moon Palace. They arrived by caravan, in buses, from Chiapas, Guatemala and the borders.
President Morales is the only Indian leader in the world to press for protection of Mother Earth, reduction in greenhouse gases and the establishment of a climate court of justice.
When Morales arrived at La Via Campesina, a double rainbow graced the sky.
Surrounded by a delegation of dignitaries, President Morales spoke of the challenge of bringing about change in the official climate negotiations. Morales said the official negotiators are unwilling to address the real causes of the climate crisis: Capitalism.
"They don't want to change the causes of climate change," Morales said. "They want to privatize nature," Morales said, describing the carbon market schemes that offer dollars to small countries. "They are bringing more problems with their solutions."
Morales said capitalism is the cause of the climate crisis and the other crises: The financial, food and energy crises. Without water, he said, there is no solution to the food crisis. Water, he said, can not be produced from the World Bank's dollars and neither can the food which depends on water.
Morales also described the United States' efforts to spy on, and destabilize the governments of Bolivia, Ecuador and Honduras.
Ultimately, Morales called for a new movement for the protection of Mother Earth and a new form of socialism.
Speaking to waving flags, cheers and applause, Morales spoke to the heart of the people, as some Indigenous Peoples sat silently or tears fell from their faces.
"The leaders of the world do not suffer what we suffer, they do not feel the pain we feel," Morales told the people.
Before Morales spoke, the Declaration of Via Campesina was read, denouncing the predatory system of capitalist countries. Calling for a halt to the destruction of Mother Earth, Bolivia was recognized for the courage of its resistance.
"We were continuing our solidarity with President Morales to continue on, to continue for our survival and the future of Mother Earth," said Ofelia Rivas, O'odham, who served as cochair of the Working Group on Indigenous Peoples at the Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia, in April.
"We needed to hear his strength. As grassroots people, we needed to hear that strength in his voice. The strength of the people was confirmed by the double full rainbow when President Morales arrived."
Sarah James, one spokesperson for the Gwich'in Nation, from Arctic Village, Alaska, appreciated President Morales' focus on sovereign rights to protect Mother Earth.
"As a sovereign nation, we have sovereign rights with our Earth. President Morales spoke on sovereign rights. Sovereign rights are our very own given to us by the Creator," James said in an interview.
"Climate change and global warming are very real and rapid in the Arctic. We have a right to speak, to stop climate change, because of our human rights, birthrights and sovereign rights," she said, pointing out the threat of oil drilling to the caribou calving grounds in the Arctic.
In Cancun, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman asked Bolivian President Evo Morales about a Wikileaks cable which states Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries need to be neutralized, co-opted or marginalized. Wikileaks leaked cable, see no. 16: http://213.251.145.96/cable/2010/02/10BRUSSELS183.html
Morales responded that the US intelligence lacks intelligence. Morales said the people of Bolivia are not children and the leaked cable confirms the reasons Bolivia expelled the US diplomats, as the US continues its attempt to destabilize governments. Meanwhile, Bolivia announced it is now a mirror site for Wikileaks.
During the two week climate conference, the Indigenous Environmental Network was webstreaming live, with Earthcycles, on Red Road Cancun. IEN focused its efforts on halting REDDs and exposing the scam of carbon credits and the carbon market.
Casey Camp, Ponca from Oklahoma, speaking at the International Climate Dialogue, Dialogo Climatico, at Casa Cultural on Monday, Dec. 6, told the people, "I come from occupied territory." Camp said she was honored to bring the voices of the Ponca people to Cancun from their sacred lands. She spoke of the genocide and false promises of the United States, and how the US promised it would help the Ponca to keep their land sacred.
Camp described the traditional way of life, fishing and hunting, and how the Ponca breathe the same breath of all in nature. She said the Ponca have treaties with the United States, but these were never honored by the US. She spoke of their history and the displacement of the Ponca people. From the beginning, the Ponca were pressured to be apart of the colonizers, the oppressors, she said.
"They didn't understand the water is not for sale, the land is not for sale," she said of the US colonizers. "They took our lands, they chopped down our trees," she said, while describing how their lands were sold to white farmers who poisoned their land.
Now, she said the water is too polluted to fish, the land is too polluted to grow food.
Today, major corporations around the world are selling the world false solutions, which will lead to the loss of lands and loss of forests for Indigenous Peoples. The false solutions of global carbon trading -- carbon credits and REDDs -- are the same trickery which the United States used to steal the land and forests of the Ponca people, she said.
In the evenings in downtown Cancun, far from the machine guns and tanks surrounding the official negotiations at the Moon Palace, La Via Campesina featured panels of speakers. Leonardo Boff, human rights activist from Brazil, pointed out that three people in the world have more money than 45 countries in the world.
Boff said there are now 60 million climate refugees because of the loss of water, land and crops. This number is expected to soon increase to 100 to 150 million climate refugees due to water scarcity. He said there must be solidarity from the most vulnerable. He said to bring about change there must be solidarity from the grassroots, combined with pressure and articulation, along with the people’s claims and declarations.
Civil society’s face must be shown on the global scale, he said.
“The People of the earth, not the rich, the tribes of the earth, must come together, and insist on another world where all can fit,” Boff said in Spanish, which was translated.
Boff said the world must not continue where some have so much and others have nothing. He stressed the hope of light and life.
“Life is stronger than death. We have the seed, we have to believe in the power of this seed. We are the carriers of this seed.”
Boff said sustainability must be brought to our production systems.
“We need to live in a way that all can move forward and survive. That is the meaning of a human being.”
But, he said, consumers have deviated from this, developing a systematic war to exploit the earth, to accumulate with no sense of justice and with no perspective of solidarity with the generations that come later.
“We have to come from the earth. We have to unite. We have to join forces, hold hands to complete this mission to rescue the health of the earth. We have to do this.”
Then at the official negotiations, with nauseating self-congratulations webstreaming throughout the night, a climate deal was adopted by UN negotiations, without consensus.
Still, the victory was in the streets, and with the people. At La Via Campesina, as the chairs were folded up and the last caravan buses headed for home, the people proclaimed: “La lucha siege! The struggle continues!”

Brenda Norrell is publisher of Censored News, http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com . Now blacklisted by all mainstream media, she served as a news reporter in Indian country covering the Navajo Nation and the west for 28 years.

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