Mining struggles, women’s rights and resistance to violence
Join us on Monday 4 and Tuesday 5 April for an online event, Solidarity with Latin America: Maintaining momentum, holding leaders to account and building alliances.
Organised by colleagues at the University of Liverpool, the conference will feature a keynote address from LAB’s Mike Gatehouse. We’ll also hear about research and practical experiences on international solidarity with countries from Chile to Colombia, as well as cultural expressions of solidarity with a panel on the community project, Music for Hope. Read the full programme here and sign up to join us for free.
Shafik Meghji’s new title Crossed Off the Map – Travels in Bolivia has been published. You can order a copy from our partners Practical Action Publishing, here. In case you missed it last month, we published a preview of the book in Voz – LAB’s quarterly guest-written dispatch available exclusively to LAB Patreon subscribers.
This month, we released a bonus episode of the WRV podcast, titled ‘Listening to Women Resisting Violence’, where members of the women’s organisations we collaborated with, alongside leading podcast producers, service users and women’s rights workers, reflected on communicating grassroots expertise through podcasting. Thanks to our friends at Janno Media for producing this bonus episode.
News from the region
In Central America, as in many other parts of the world today, communities are being thrust into life and death struggles up against powerful interests to ensure clean water and health for their future generations. Jen Moore reports on the Peaceful Resistance of La Puya in Guatemala, where protesters resisted attempted assassination, criminalization, and violent eviction in 2014, eventually winning legal action to suspend harmful mining activities in the region.
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In Ecuador too, residents of Intag have renewed their historical struggle against mining. Communities affected by a copper exploration project developed by The National Mining Company of Ecuador and the Chilean company Corporación Nacional del Cobre filed a Protection Action demand calling on Ecuador’s Constitutional Rights of Nature. ‘Intag’s wealth is not copper. The true wealth is in its people, its communities and its enviable biodiversity’ – says Íntag Santuario de Vida. Kinga Harasim reports in the latest post in LAB’s London Mining Network blog.
Oil company Chevron has still not paid its fine for causing a massive pollution disaster in the Ecuadorean Amazon by dumping waste oil from its wells from 1964-1992. Instead, it decided to sue, indict and destroy the careers of lawyers who acted on behalf of Ecuador and the communities affected. Number one target has been US lawyer Steven Donziger, still under house arrest at home on trumped up charges. Paul Paz y Miño investigates.
As part of President Xiomara Castro’s 2022-2026 Government Program, the Ministry of Energy, Natural Resources, Environment, and Mines declared Honduras a country free of open cast mining on 28 February. According to the agency, ‘the approval of extraction permits is revoked, as they are harmful to the State of Honduras, threatening natural resources, public health, and limiting access to water as a human right.’ Furthermore, areas of ‘high ecological value’ will be immediately intervened to ensure ‘their conservation and the common good of the people.’
Thousands gathered in front of the national congress in Brasilia on 9 March to protest a proposed bill to open up indigenous lands to mining, oil exploration and hydroelectric dams. The protest was organized by over 200 NGOs, indigenous groups and artists, led by one of Brazil`s most famous singers and songwriters, Caetano Veloso. Jan Rocha reports.
For those wanting to support, join activists and volunteers from Brazil Matters, CAFOD, Greenpeace, Survival International, Amazon Rebellion, London Mining Network and LAB on April 4, 5pm outside the Brazilian Embassy in London to demand the government #StopBrazilsGenocide.
On 2 March, Brazil’s Supreme Court dropped the 25th and remaining case against former President Lula as part of the Zelotes Operation to investigate the purchase of 36 fighter jets from SAAB in Sweden. This means that all standing cases against him have now been dropped, bringing to a close one of the most scandalous and damaging cases of ‘lawfare’ injustice in recent political history. LAB’s Alistair Clark and Alvaro Crósta report.
A report published by the Consejo para la Transparencia (Council for Transparency) revealed that Chile’s Ley Tres Casuales – which decriminalised abortion for the first time since 1989 in three cases – is not being properly implemented, with a significant lack of access to information and transparency and failures amongst healthcare providers to create and publish protocols. LAB’s Emily Gregg reports from Concepción, Chile.
Shot in McAllen, Texas, home to the last open abortion clinic in the region, Leah Galant and Maya Cueva’s insightful and humane documentary ‘On the Divide’ chronicles the lives of three individuals who find themselves at the heart of the tensions surrounding abortion rights at the end of the Trump administration. Matt Dunnet reviews the film here.
Amy Hancock reviewed Prayers for the Stolen (Noche de fuego, 2021), a Mexican drama about female friendship and resilience in the face of violence and human trafficking in Guerrero. The film is screening at London’s Castle Cinema, in partnership with MUBI and CASA Festival on Wednesday 6 April, with an online Q&A with director Tatiana Huezo.
The Dominican Republic has begun construction of a four-metre high concrete wall along its 244 mile border with Haiti, but human rights groups on both sides of the border have protested that the move will only increase tension between the two countries. More here.
Hugh O’Shaughnessy, journalist, writer and one of the founders of Latin America Bureau in 1977, passed away 1 March 2022. Hugh was a good friend and a supporter of many good causes in Latin America. The Guardian published this obituary, written by LAB’s Nick Caistor, on 14 March. His funeral will be held on Friday 1 April.
We’re still urging all LAB newsletter subscribers to sign up to Patreon. Exclusive content includes a first-look at each Environmental Defenders article; interviews with Ana Paula, a human rights activist from the group Mães de Manguinhos and with Brazil’s first openly gay and proud federal deputy, Jean Wyllys; and Voz, LAB’s quarterly dispatch – the most recent issue featuring a preview of Shafik Meghji’s Crossed Off The Map: Travels in Bolivia.