Grassroots International

Saulo Araujo, Author at Grassroots International | Page 5 of 7

  • The Casualties of Development

    As one of the articles today in the German newspaper In Spiegel points out, the conference in Copenhagen around climate change is largely defined by wish-washy intentions and the introduction (or redefinition) new words: Green, Bio, Organic, Renewable and…Development. On one side of the Development debate are those who advocate for economic growth, while on the other side are the farmers, indigenous people and urban workers who claim that Development has contributed to their social and economic plight.

  • Climate change and violence in Mexico

    Cab drivers are often a good source of news information, or at least a good barometer of public opinion. Such was the case when I finally arrived in Mexico City this afternoon for visits with Grassroots International’s partners here.

    The city hasn’t changed from the last time I came--the same heavy traffic and the same cloud of pollution above our heads. In the cabin of my taxi, I found an old newspaper with photos of damage in Cancun courtesy of Hurricane Ida last week. They are dramatic. Sections of the flat sand beaches of the famous tourist spot were left uneven. A caption on one photo says that the wild waves had carved out a seven-foot high wall in the sand!

  • Family Farmers Feed Brazil

    The Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) recently published a report on the country’s agricultural sector. The last report had been published in 1996. The new document supports several points raised by peasant organizations, such as our partner the Via Campesina International, around the critical role of the small scale agriculture to climate justice and hunger. The main points are outlined below.


  • What is the Global Week of Action on Trade?

    The Global Week of Action on Trade is a collaborative worldwide action between different communities, to protest the damaging impact of "free" trade, while highlighting alternatives to NAFTA, CAFTA, other free trade agreements and the World Trade Organization (WTO).

    It is being organized in conjunction with the Global Mobilization in Defense of Mother Earth and Her Peoples, launched at the IV Hemispheric Summit of Indigenous People in Puno, Peru, last May.

    "We ratify the organization of the Minga (traditional indigenous collective communal organization) of the Global Mobilization in Defense of Mother  Earth and Her Peoples against the commercialization of life (including land, forests, water, seas, agro-fuels, ex

  • Honduras: 19 Days of Democracy

    The standoff in Honduras is reaching a critical point.

    The coup government, led by Roberto Michelleti Bain, has suspended five constitutional rights for 45 days. According to the Executive Decree, it is prohibited to assembly without government permission; express dissidence; organize; and participate in public demonstrations against the government. Also, the decree suspend the constitutional guarantee to a due process. In other words, the government has the right to detain anyone who is suspect to be a treat to the national security.

  • Calling President Obama


    With the dramatic return of President Manuel Zelaya to Honduras, the hemisphere is hoping for a solution to the political crisis that has lingered for 87 days. Still, President Obama has not taken a strong enough position on this crisis of democracy and human rights.   The world’s leaders gathered today at the United Nations for the U.N. General Assembly. This would have been an appropriate moment for President Obama to make a strong statement endorsing President Zelaya’s return to Honduras yesterday, no doubt timed for the U.N.

  • Guatemala is Hungry for Justice

    Earlier this week, the BBC produced a shocking article: “Eyewitness: Guatemala food crisis.”  The piece exposes the sad reality that haunts families throughout the country, particularly those in indigenous and peasant communities. I also encountered this dire situation -- children dying of starvation and many others suffering from hunger-related diseases -- during my visit to Guatemala last April, when I heard from our local partners that many peasant communities were showing signs of a food shortage.

  • Fasting for Honduras

    The military coup in Honduras is in its 80th day, and the Honduran people continue their peaceful resistance.

    In contrast, the police are cracking down on protesters. Public officials not aligned with the coup government are being persecuted. The government repression has led to several casualties, including the death of two young people.

    Despite the repression, those seeking democracy in Honduras refuse to be intimidated. Now members of the National Front of Resistance against the Coup D’état in Honduras are calling for a world-wide fast in solidarity with their struggle.

  • Resilient Hondurans Lead The Way To Protect Democracy in the Americas

    Today, thousands of people will fill the streets of Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras. They are students, housekeepers, children and farmers from different parts of country—many of whom walked 10-12 miles a day to get to the capital. As column after column of people arrive, their spirits are unbeatable and their demand is clear: They want their elected president back.

    For the past six weeks, Hondurans have been living in limbo with uncertainty. No one knows when the coup will end, so life can go back to normal.   National television and newspapers, which are controlled by allies of the de facto government, have spread fear among the population. Several people have been killed including youth and children.

  • Updates from Honduras

    Via Campesina leader arrested, released

    The repression against demonstrations to reinstall Honduran President Manuel Zelaya continues. In the border region with Nicaragua, intense conflicts between the Army and protesters resulted in two wounded and several arrests. On Saturday, our colleague Rafael Alegría, a leader of the Via Campesina, was arrested as he traveled to join protesters in El Paraíso.

    The Army sent 3,000 soldiers to El Paraíso, a city near the Honduran border with Nicaragua. Despite Army blockades, thousands of Zelaya supporters from different parts of the country converged on the city to show their support for their elected leader. Many travelled the dirt roads on foot through the mountains to avoid blockades on main roads.

  • 14 Brazilian Activists Freed After Protesting Mega-Dam Project

    Our colleagues in the Brazilian Movement of People Displaced by Dams (MAB) just sent some wonderful news that I want to share with you. After a week of intense work gathering support from Brazilian and international organizations, 14 MAB members are now free, although another four still remain in jail.

    The original group of 18 activists was arrested for demonstrating on behalf of families displaced by the Tucuruí Dam in the Amazon region. The group of peasant families called on the Brazilian government to stop the mega-dam project and instead provide infrastructure projects--such as roads, schools and health clinics--and to open lines of credit for agriculture and fishing farming.

  • Brazilian Activist from MST Participates in the Brooklyn Food Conference

    The Food Sovereignty movement in the United States is well and alive. And thanks to the work of food cooperatives, community supported agriculture (CSA) and local farmers, little by little more neighborhoods and cities are joining this social movement that is reclaiming the right to quality food.

    This past weekend, the movement's strengthen was displayed in Brooklyn, NY, where over 2,000 people met in one of the largest U.S. events for Food Sovereignty this year. 

    Participants in the Brooklyn Food Conference represented different places and backgrounds in the U.S. food movement. Event speakers included some of the leading voices in the United States, such as social activist Malik Yakini from Detroit, and Raj Patel, the author of Stuffed and Starved.

  • We must not pay the cost of the crisis

    Progressive social movements from across the hemisphere met in Trinidad from April 15-18 for the IV People's Summit, a parallel event to the Summit of the Americas.

    Led by local trade unions and the Assembly of Caribbean Peoples, the IV People's Summit happened at a critical moment in the Americas.

    The promises of economic prosperity through free trade agreements have left many across the Americas without the basic means of decent living. The unemployment rate in the United States is over 8%. Further south, severely affected by the same failed policies, small-scale farmers have been turned into food beggars in larger cities in the Latin American and Caribbean regions, and millions have been forced to migrate in search of economic sustenance.

  • Lessons from Northeast Brazil: “You can’t fight the environment”

    I believe peasants from Northeast Brazil have a few important things to tell us about climate justice. For starters, the majority of the Northeastern region is dry. And it has been dry since the last glacial period. Also, the Northeast region where I come from is the largest and most populated semi-arid region on the planet, home to 20.5 million people mostly of indigenous and Afro-Brazilian descent.

    Because of droughts and lack of water in the past, masses of hungry peasants were forced to migrate to other regions in Brazil.

  • Via Campesina calls for Peasant Rights

    On February 23, Grassroots International partner, the Via Campesina met with representatives of the United Nations in New York City to discuss ways to address the chronic problems faced by peasant communities around the globe.

    The growing violation of resources rights of peasants by development policies - especially mega-projects whose main goal is to speed up the extraction and export of resources for corporate profits - is an issue that demands immediate attention.

  • Via Campesina in Haiti: Brazilian Delegation Brings Solidarity and Seeds to the Haitian People

    We will be posting updates from the Dessalines Brigade in Haiti. Stay tuned.

    Last month, a small delegation of four representatives of Via Campesina-Brazil arrived in Haiti. Their mission is to help the Haitian peasant movement in their efforts to build local sustainable agriculture practices and a popular education curriculum on food sovereignty. Besides solidarity and technical expertise, the delegation also brings agro-ecological seeds produced in agrarian reform settlements in Brazil to share with local families.

  • In a World of Crises, Disastrous Governance

    It has become clear that the numerous crises we face today are a result of disastrous global governance formulas that try to accommodate powerful interests, instead of addressing the real issues.

    And these formulas are getting old. Discredited in the public eye, global institutions led by a handful of nations, and dominated by corporate agendas, are losing ground. 

  • We are all Palestinians: Voices from Latin America

    The surge in solidarity with Palestinian people in Gaza is still strong. And I hope it will never wind down. My inbox is flooded with op-eds and solidarity messages from all over Latin America. Indigenous communities from Mexico speak about the similarities between the unjust occupation of a sovereign territory and their situation as peoples whose right to land is ignored. Messages from Brazil call on people to increase support to Palestinian farmers.