LAB Newsletter September 2017: Brazil, Voices of Latin America, Mining

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23 September 2017
Dear LAB Supporter and Friend,
Apologies for the long hiatus since our last newsletter. We’ll try to make them more regular in future.

Brazil

We’ve published a spate of articles on Brazil in recent months. In case you missed them, there were 15 articles in the extraordinary series by LAB Editor Sue Branford and Mauricio Torres, written for Mongabay and LAB under the title Tapajos Under Attack. These were based mainly on the trip made in November 2016 by Sue, Mauricio and photographer Thais Borges to the Teles Pires and Tapajos rivers in Mato Grosso and Pará, where industrial-scale soya farming is clearing forest and constructing vast transport corridors by road, rail and river. You can read the most recent article here, and see the others by going to the News page of our website and selecting The Amazon under News Categories, Topics. Each article includes a link to the Portuguese version of the text.


By the way, LAB’s new website makes it very easy for you to find articles by country and topic. Go to the News page and explore, using the News Categories (you can expand any category by clicking the + sign next to it), and also by clicking in the ‘breadcrumbs’ (the blue line across the top of the article under the menu bar which shows the hierarchy of categories for a particular article, e.g. Home > Topics > The Amazon > Tapajos Under Attack 15…) you can easily filter and find what you are looking for.


Meanwhile, Jan Rocha has continued her lively, entertaining, yet razor-sharp blog posts on the country’s ever-more chaotic political situation. Read the latest, ‘King Canute and his gang’ here, and to see the full post series, click here.

The quilombolas, inhabitants of communities founded by ex-slaves, have long campaigned alongside indigenous groups for recognition of their title to land. In a 4-part series commissioned by Christian Aid, João Peres and Moriti Neto show how these efforts are being undermined in Oriximiná, Pará, by the giant bauxite mining company Mineração Rio do Norte, the neutering of government agencies supposed to defend the rights of the communities and the tactics of the company to co-opt local officials and community members (Read more).

Despite the grim political outlook in Brazilia, resistance and community organisation are buoyant. MST leader Gilmar Mauro analyses left strategies, including land occupations and trade union strikes, and calls for new thinking on the left (Read more). In Marabá, NGO Rios de Encontro organised Forum Bem Viver, which brought together an improbable coalition of indigenous leaders, military police, a federal judge, television actors, musicians, journalists, scientists and activists from eight countries and 14 Brazilian states, to urge alternative, sustainable models of development (Read more).

Voices of Latin America

In April and May, LAB’s crowd-funding for our Voices of Latin America project raised a total of £13,300, thanks in part to a generous match-funding donation. This enabled us to make a small payment to some of the volunteers who had collected interviews for us. It will also enable us to pay Tom Gatehouse to work for at least 4 months, from October, to work on the translation, editing and further research for the book.

We have at least 70 interviews with social movement activists in a dozen countries across the region. We hope to publish the book in the second half of 2018. If you would like to know more, could help out with translation or contribute additional interviews, write to us at voices@lab.org.uk.

Mining

After Voices of Latin America, LAB’s next major book will be Overburden: Community Resistance to Mining in Latin America. We hope to partner in this project with London Mining Network, War on Want, Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros de América Latina (OCMAL) and Minewatch Canada.
Recent articles about mining include the Oriximiná series, mentioned above (Quilombolas vs the mines. Read more).

From Colombia comes a warning that the peace process has opened up areas of the country to the intrusion of companies keen to mine or exploit the land for monocrop agriculture (Read more). Meanwhile, in Nicaragua, mining company Condor Gold has dropped charges against seven community members from Santa Cruz de la India (Read more), one of several victories partly attributed to ACAFREMIN, a new regional alliance of organizations and communities affected by mining (Read more).

Latin American Culture in London

This autumn sees a spate of events and festivals in London, featuring Latin American film, theatre and art. We advertise some of these on LAB’s Facebook page, but there are many more. We can also recommend the excellent website LatinoLife, which carries details of all these events and many more, including dance and language classes, shops and restaurants that sell Latin American fare.

Chilean Play: B

At the Royal Court theatre, from 28 September to 21 October, you can see the new play B by acclaimed Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón (writer of award-winning film Neruda), who makes his Royal Court debut with B, a new play exploring what revolutionary violence means to two different generations.

SPECIAL OFFER to LAB readers: Get top price tickets for £15 using promo code BTHEPLAY15 at the box office or online. Limited offer, book by 2 Oct. Valid for all performances except Mondays, on seats in price bands A&B (usually £28/£22). For more details and to book, click here.

Best wishes,
The LAB Team

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