News | Economy | Culture | Opinion | Lifestyle | Nature
Noticias | Opiniones | Archive | Unclassified Ads | Home

Volume 15, Number 11
June 18, 2009

opinion

Also in this section:
Editorials: Another example why we need a new constitution; and Iran
Leis, Indigenous rights and national development
Amnesty International, Massacre in the Peruvian Amazon
Grody & Wheeler, Corporate interests vs. indigenous rights lead to murder in Peru
Jackson, Remembering Dr. Alan Berkman
Baker, Barack Obama vs. Harriet and Louise
CARICOM, Toward a regional climate change agreement
Fesler, Cuba's oil
Reporters Without Borders, Cuban photojournalist jailed
Thompson, Chávez vs. Globovision
Committee to Protect Journalists, North Korea sentences US journalists to 12 years
Lerner, Netanyahu's speech on the Palestinians
Castro, Obama's speech in Cairo
Weisbrot, Washington showdown over IMF money
Knoth, the US-Colombia free trade pact
Stimson, Today we are all proud Iranians
Center for Biological Diversity, Ngobe victory in an international forum
Endara, Panama's new pirates and conquistadors
Bernal, The Procrustean mayor's office
Letters to the editor

Predatory investments --- how long?

by Raúl Leis R. --- raulleisr@hotmail.com

The news has gone around the world. One thousand indigenous members of the Brazilian Tembe-Tenetehar tribe, inhabitants of the Upper Guama River reserve in the Amazon headwaters, in Para state, sighned a contract to sell carbon dioxide credits for approximately half a million dollars per year, which will be distributed among them through family trusts. For this sum (about which it would have to be guessed whether it's just), the indigenous people promise to preserve the flora in 280,000 hectares of their autonomous area in the Amazon Jungle. This ethnic group has suffered the harassment of the logging companies which illegally cut down the forest, bribing hard-pressed aboriginals to cut down thousands of trees.

The proposal comes from a US company, but the management model was born at the Federal University of Para. The company, by providing this support to care for the forest, wants to support what the indigenous people and their ancestors have historically done --- that is, act as the best guardians of an enormous natural deposit that absorbs carbon dioxide. It is estimated that every hectare of the reserve captures 145 tons of carbon dioxide per year, which across the area adds up to a total volume of 15 billion tons of carbon, one-third of all that is captured by the Amazon Jungle. If all of this carbon were released into earth's atmosphere it would significantly aggravate climate change. To this must be added the medicinal potential found within the species in this area of great biological diversity.

This type of investment that's based on the environment, which should be thoroughly studied, is not what we have in Panama. On the contrary, what prevails in this country is an extractionist vision, predatory toward the environment and violative of the human rights of the indigenous and rural populations, and this develops in the face of the indifference, inaction or complicity of governments. Here there are concessions and projects for open pit metal mining, hydroelectric dams and vast cattle ranches which threaten water sources, forests, the air and human settlements in the grand style of savage capitalism (which is condemned in various Vatican encyclicals). It appears that these only move on the basis of an insatiable thirst for profits, to the detriment of necessary sustainable development. The question is, how long?

International Labor Organization Convention 169 is very clear in establishing that indigenous peoples have the right to decide their own priorities concerning the development process, to the extent that it affects their lives, beliefs, institutions, spiritual well-being and the lands that they occupy or in some way use; and to control, to the extent possible, their own economic, social and cultural development.

Moreover, such people must participate in the formulation, application and evaluation of the national and regional development plans and programs that directly affect them. Governments must take measures, in cooperation with the interested people, to protect and preserve the environment in the territories that they inhabit.

When will we do this?



Also in this section:
Editorials: Another example why we need a new constitution; and Iran
Leis, Indigenous rights and national development
Amnesty International, Massacre in the Peruvian Amazon
Grody & Wheeler, Corporate interests vs. indigenous rights lead to murder in Peru
Jackson, Remembering Dr. Alan Berkman
Baker, Barack Obama vs. Harriet and Louise
CARICOM, Toward a regional climate change agreement
Fesler, Cuba's oil
Reporters Without Borders, Cuban photojournalist jailed
Thompson, Chávez vs. Globovision
Committee to Protect Journalists, North Korea sentences US journalists to 12 years
Lerner, Netanyahu's speech on the Palestinians
Castro, Obama's speech in Cairo
Weisbrot, Washington showdown over IMF money
Knoth, the US-Colombia free trade pact
Stimson, Today we are all proud Iranians
Center for Biological Diversity, Ngobe victory in an international forum
Endara, Panama's new pirates and conquistadors
Bernal, The Procrustean mayor's office
Letters to the editor

News | Economy | Culture | Opinion | Lifestyle | Nature
Noticias | Opiniones | Archive | Unclassified Ads | Home


Left Wing PublicationsRight Wing Publications

Panama Hotel: Luxury apartment rentals in Casco Viejo, Panama City
Panama Real Estate: Original travel and investment articles on The Panama Report
Make the Executive Hotel your headquarters in Panama City
Find the boat of your dreams through Evermarine

© 2009 by Eric Jackson
All Rights Reserved - Todos Derechos Reservados
Individual contributors retain the rights to their articles or photos

email: editor@thepanamanews.com or

e_l_jackson_malo@yahoo.com

phone: (507) 6-632-6343

Mailing address:
Eric Jackson
att'n The Panama News
Apartado 0831-00927 Estafeta Paitilla
Panamá, República de Panamá