By: Saulo Araujo and Lilian Autler | April 29, 2009
Representatives of two of Grassroots International’s Brazilian partners were in the San Francisco Bay Area April 22 - 29 to meet with U.S. allies and help educate the U.S. public about the damaging impacts of agrofuel production in Brazil. Altacir Bunde is an economist and leader of the Popular Peasant Movement (MCP) and coordinator of the Creole Seeds Project in Goiás, Brazil. Altacir has been a leading voice in the movement to protect agro biodiversity and defend against the expansion of large scale single crop plantations in the Central Plateau of Brazil.
By: Maria Aguiar | January 27, 2009
Nikhil Aziz, Grassroots International's Executive Director is in Brazil this week attending the World Social Forum (WSF), which is happening in Belem in the Amazon region of Brazil. For four days before the WSF our partner, the Landless Workers Movement (MST) did a special site visit to show international visitors including members of media the destruction that has been brought about by the agribusiness expansion in the Amazon region. They traveled through the southern part of Para state and saw the impacts of mining, logging and hydroelectric projects on the Amazon and its people.
By: Maria Aguiar | January 16, 2009
In 2006 Grassroots International received a report from the Social Network for Justice and Human Rights (Rede Social), one of our Brazilian partners, about rapid expansion of agrofuels production based on large scale plantation-style cultivation of sugar cane for ethanol. We also heard from them about massive expansion of soy plantations and U.S.
By: Saulo Araujo | November 18, 2008
Rede Social, a Grassroots International partner, and longtime ally the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) released an 80-page report on the expansion of sugar cane plantations for agro-fuels in the Amazon and Central Plateau region of Brazil.
By: Carol Schachet | November 9, 2007
This report, which documents the human and environmental costs of the industiral biofuel model in Latin America, is the result of a seminar about the expansion of sugarcane plantations in Central and South America. The seminar, which took place in São Paulo, Brazil, from February 26-28, 2007 was organized by Brazil's Pastoral Land Commission and Grassroots' Partner, The Social Network for Justice and Human Rights.
By: Jake Miller | October 5, 2007
In the last month or so, magazines as diverse as the venerable National Geographic and the next-gen Wired have featured stories about the almost magical properties of industrial-scale agrofuel production, claiming that biofuels will lift the rural poor out of misery by providing high-paying jobs, reversing global warming and ending war in the Middle East.
By: Nikhil Aziz | July 3, 2007
“Our Youth is not the Future, Our Youth is the Present” – Julian Moya, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Albuquerque, New Mexico
“We cannot choose the historical conditions we find ourselves in, but we can choose how we respond to them” – Ajamu Baraka, Director, U.S. Human Rights Network, Atlanta, Georgia
These two quotes, among many other hopeful messages I heard at the U.S. Social Forum (USSF) from June 27 to July 1, 2007 in Atlanta epitomized for me the USSF – what it stands for and envisions in terms of a different kind of United States. Both represent the truth embedded in the official slogan of the USSF – Another World is Possible; Another US is Necessary.
By: Carol Schachet | June 27, 2007
Please join Grassroots International at the United States Social Forum, Atlanta, June 27-30, 2007. The US Social Forum is more than a conference, more than a networking bonanza, more than a reaction to war and repression, more than a collection of local solutions. It's an important moment to further build the global movement for social justice.
By: Carol Schachet | May 8, 2007
A Report from Brazil's Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) and Social Network for Justice and Human Rights (Rede Social).By Edivan Pinto, Marluce Melo and Maria Luisa Mendonça*
Recent studies about the impacts caused by fossil fuels contributed in highlighting the theme of bioenergy . The energy matrix is composed of petroleum (35%), coal (23%) and natural gas (21%).On their own, the ten richest countries consume 80% of the energy produced in the world. Amongst these, the USA is responsible for 25% of pollution to the atmosphere. Analysts estimate that within 25 years, the world demand for petroleum, natural gas and coal may have an increase of 80%.
By: Saulo Araujo | March 23, 2007
Article three in a three issue series on biofuel in Brazil.
The memorandum of understanding between Brazil and the United States signed during the visit of President Bush to Brazil early this month has been under intense scrutiny. For one, the high U.S. tariffs on Brazilian ethanol make the initiative unrealistic for now. But speculative investors are already rushing to expand the "green desert", as activists have taken to calling the vast areas of monocrops like sugar cane, soybean and castor seed that bring high profits for agribusiness and industry at the cost of rural livelihoods and biodiversity. This expansion takes land and water rights and the possibility of a dignified livelihood away from rural families.
By: Saulo Araujo | March 14, 2007
The latest post in our ongoing series on biofuels, human rights and the environment in Latin America.
We hear the claims so often—biofuels will save the environment, biofuels are clean and green—that they begin to sound like common sense. The corporations tell us that biofuels made from sugar cane, castor beans and soy will save the environment from the ravages of petroleum-based fuels, and we all wish that it were true.
By: Saulo Araujo | March 8, 2007
This is the first of three articles that we will be publishing about biofuels and their impact on trade, the environment and the water and land rights of rural workers and indigenous and traditional Afro-descendant communities in Latin America.
By: Maria Aguiar | March 7, 2007
During the last week of February 2007, Grassroots International's partner Rede Social or Social Justice Network of Brazil hosted a Latin American conference on the expansion of the intensive cultivation of sugar cane for biofuel throughout Latin America. Rede hosted delegates from various countries where sugar cane monocultivation is expanding as demand for bio fuels grows. Read the final declaration from the Latin American groups represented:
By: Saulo Araujo | December 13, 2006
Brazilian president Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva will present an award for defending human rights today to Aton Fon Filho, one of the directors of Rede Social, a Grassroots International partner in Brazil. Aton Fon Filho, a lawyer by training, will receive the 2006 Human Rights Award from the National Secretary of Human Rights.
This award was created in 1995 by the federal government to recognize individuals and organizations that are advocates and defenders of human rights. Since its creation 160 students, professionals and organizations have had their efforts recognized.
By: Saulo Araujo | July 18, 2006
This morning, in the National Congress of Paraguay, members of the Observatory Mission in Paraguay organized by the Campaign for the Demilitarization of Americas (CADA) are participating in the Roundtable: "Remilitarization and the U.S. Military Presence in the Region". Since the signature of the Bi-national Agreement that gives immunity to U.S. troops in Paraguay, the country is under international watch of social movements and regional governments.
By: Saulo Araujo | July 17, 2006
Yesterday, July 16, a delegation of 20 human rights activists and scholars from Latin America and Europe began a visit to the areas affected by the increased U.S. militarization in Paraguay. The group is planning to interview peasants, indigenous peoples, urban communities and human rights organizations about the effects of military exercises in rural and urban areas and the increasing criminalization of social movements in the country.
The Network for Human Rights Defense and Justice, a Grassroots International partner, is participating in the delegation that is expected to conclude its visit on Thursday, July 20th with a press conference to lay out its findings.
By: Saulo Araujo | June 2, 2006
On April 26, Amair Feijoli da Cunha was sentenced to 18 years in prison for facilitating the hiring of the two murderers of Sister Dorothy Stang, a North American nun who spent the last four decades working with community groups in the Amazon to defend the economic, cultural and social rights of peasants and small-scale farmers. In the first day of his trial, Amair confessed that he hired Rayfan das Neves and Clodoaldo Batista with the support of two wealthy landowners in the region of Anapu, Brazil. The landowners-- Vitalmiro Bastos de Moura e Regivaldo "Bida" Galvão–are currently under trial for their role as authors of the murder.
By: Saulo Araujo | January 30, 2006
February 12, 2006 is the first anniversary of the death of Sister Dorothy Mae Stang, an American nun who was brutally assassinated because of her work as an advocate of peasants' resources rights in the Brazilian Amazon. Sister Dorothy's fate was the same of the hundreds of peasants, rural labor organizers and environmentalists, including Chico Mendes, who have been killed fighting for their economic, social and cultural rights in Brazil in the last four decades.
By: Jake Miller | February 14, 2005
In my last post, I was writing about the real barriers -- including violent resistance on the part of big landholders and real estate speculators -- that make some of Hernando de Soto's land-tenure legalization theories untenable. Today, the New York Times brings us the sad news (registration required) of the assassination of Sister Dorothy Stang, who was killed for her work with poor and landless workers and her efforts to protect the rain forest from loggers and land speculators.
We live in a world where real estate speculators will hire gunmen to shoot a nun four times in the chest in order to protect their profit margin. The idea that giving poor people a deed and saying, "OK, now you own this land, you can compete fairly in this predatory economic system" seems hopelessly naive.
Sister Stang had been telling of death threats from the loggers and land speculators for years, but she couldn't turn to the police for protection, Rhoter writes, because they viewed her as a trouble-maker.