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Chile’s failed constitutional reform, continued environmental fight in Brazil – 30 September 2022

Chile's failed constitutional reform, continued environmental fight in Brazil, and Lula's first round towards victory.

My name is Antonella Navarro and from this month I will be writing LAB’s monthly newsletter for you. I have been working with LAB for more than a year now on research, writing, and fundraising. The experience has been very enriching. As you well know, we try our best to bring you closer to Latin America’s communities and their struggles. I hope I will accomplish the goal of synthesizing our work to bring you closer to our purpose.

I hope you enjoy the read, and I look forward to your comments! 
News from the region


‘A nation is what its citizens make of it: how it is imagined and reimagined, conceived into being and upheld with faith and imagination’, writes LAB’s managing editor Rebecca Wilson. In his new documentary ‘My Imaginary Country’, legendary Chilean filmmaker Patricio Guzmán explores this sentiment by asking young people how they are imagining into being this new era for Chile.

One of the key demands from young people and other protestors in Chile’s estallido social – beginning back in 2019 – was to replace the country’s dictatorship-era Constitution. However, despite the momentum, on 5 September, Chileans rejected the long-awaited new draft constitution, a document which was strongly supported by Gabriel Boric’s government. LAB correspondent in Concepción Chile, Emily Gregg, presents a list of factors that could have influenced the Rechazo (reject) campaign’s win.
62% voted ‘No’ to the proposed new Chilean constitution. Did they just mean ‘Así No’ – ‘Not Like This’?
With presidential elections around the corner, Jan Rocha, LAB’s Brazil correspondent, writes a detailed analysis of how Lula’s campaign is likely to win. She reports on how Bolsonaro’s strategy has relied on desperate actions – even using the Queen’s funeral as a propaganda tool for self-promotion.

Bolsonaro’s actions (and failures to act) in the Amazon have been war-like, Jan Rocha also writes, in a thorough investigative article highlighting the disastrous consequences Bolsonaro’s government will leave behind. The Amazon is a battlefield on which the rainforest and local communities suffer the continuous destruction of homes and construction of illegal roads.

Translated to English by Matty Rose for LAB, Agência Pública‘s latest report within the Emergência Climática [Climate Emergency] series investigates how the demarcation of Brazilian indigenous land by hundreds of newly government-backed farms has escalated into conflict, involving more than 20 ethnic groups in the territory.

From our Women Resisting Violence blog with Kings College London, researchers report on a body-territory mapping exercise in which women from Maré reflected on their resistance to gendered urban violence in Rio’s favelas using ancestral and territorial knowledge.
Bolsonaro has unleashed war on the river, its forests, its peoples and the planet.

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Bolivia is a major importer of mercury on a world-scale. Pollution caused by the gold business has reached the most important urban areas of the country, while the authorities look the other way. We republished this report by Sergio Mendoza as part of Historias Saludables, a training and support program for producing news stories about health and the environment, led by Salud con Lupa with the support of Internews.

After a long wait due to Covid, a climate change lawsuit in which a Peruvian farmer is suing a German energy firm for influencing the flooding of his hometown by the glacial Lake Palcacocha is finally moving forward. Aliyah Elfar of Glacier Hub describes what a win on this lawsuit would mean for climate change litigation.

Similarly, environmental defenders of the Tz’ununya’ women’s collective – who have defended the conservation of Lake Atitlán for almost a decade – have sought the help of a U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights-run programme to receive legal counsel for their struggle. Through our partnership with No Ficción, we republished this article in English for the Environmental Defenders series edited by Katie Jones. 
Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
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