Letter from Macapá | The free peoples of Panamazonia will win!

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LETTER FROM MACAPÁ

Where the Amazon River meets the Equator, in the middle of the world, the peoples of Panamazonia gathered together. Listen now to our voices.

We are the guardians of the forest and rivers; diverse, different amongst ourselves, but with a common will to walk together. We want to transform the Amazon into a land without evils, dreamed of by our grandparents; for this reason, our heart is full of courage and solidarity.

The Amazon is our territory. Our communities – indigenous, peasant, quilombolas and traditional riverine peoples – must have their lands guaranteed, respected and protected lands against predatory mega-projects, destroyers of nature and human life. Because of this, it is essential that our countries adhere to, respect and comply with international treaties that establish the Right to Free, Prior and Informed Consultation and Consent, in good faith, such as Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. For the same reason we provide our unconditional support to the creation in Quito, Ecuador of an International Tribunal on Crimes Committed against Nature, as a way of protecting Mother Earth from the destructive attacks of those intent on reducing life on the planet to a mere commodity.

Today, our attentions are particularly focused on the installation of hydroelectric dams on rivers, open pit mining projects, oil exploitation in the jungle and the expansion of monocultures that threaten the life of towns and communities throughout Panamazonia. For this struggle, we request the support and solidarity of the entire world.

We have also decided to pressure the United Nations to declare this decade to be a priority for strengthening family farming and democratization of the means of production, given their contributions to sovereignty and food security, fundamental to the well being of peoples.

Foto: Carolina de Oliveira

The Amazon is experiencing a time of threats. Since French colonial domination of Guyana is an unacceptable anachronism that threatens freedom and integration of our peoples, we proclaim our unconditional support to the struggle for decolonization and independence of Guyana’s territory. Similarly, we position ourselves in favor of the immediate shutdown of US and European military bases in Panamazonia and across the continent that are an affront to the independence and sovereignty of our countries. We reaffirm our solidarity and support to the Bolivarian revolutionary process in Venezuela that once again faces attempts at destabilization and a coup, expressing our certainty that in the homeland of Bolivar the people will win again. We believe and we fight for a continental integration that has as its axis the well-being of our people and not the interests of transnational companies and large corporations. We urge UNASUR, CELAC and other continental bodies to revise projects such as IIRSA, whose neoliberal foundations are aggressive to the right of peoples. Likewise, we reject the maintenance of the unjust U.S. economic blockade against our sister country, Cuba. There can be no integration without the right to freedom of movement for all citizens across national borders. We denounce human trafficking, the transformation of migration into a business and associated slave labor. We reaffirm the inalienable right of every citizen to safety, work and protection in whatever country they choose to live.

The Amazon also lives a moment of transformations. With joy, we witness the progress of anti-patriarchal and anti-racist struggles. We consider feminism and the struggle of indigenous women to be a powerful path towards the construction of a new world without exploitation of the body and the lives of women, who should have all their rights assured and fully-experienced. Likewise, we greet the rebellion of our youth who take to the streets to combat a lack of public policies for young people, the oppressive arm of the State and the extermination of black and poor youth. We strive to construct a time where the right to life will reign sovereign over the planet.

Throughout Panamazonia, it is time to build coalitions and alliances that integrate workers from rural areas and cities, indigenous peoples, quilombolas and other traditional communities, women and youth movements, communicators, researchers and academics to defend our territories, our rights, our cultures, our ancestral knowledge and the rights of Mother Earth. It is time also to advance in the reflection and debate about Bien-Vivir as an alternative paradigm that emerges from the peoples of Amazonia against a systemic crisis – economic, social, energy, environmental, ethical and moral – that afflicts all mankind.

Our resistance moves forward and transforms itself into an irresistible wave. In this regard we call on all men and women to engage in the production and ample dissemination of regional and community-level educational materials that bring our messages to all of the Amazon and the whole world, countering the misinformation promoted by media oligarchs, contributing to the democratization and affirmation of communication as a human right.

All of us, men and women of Amazonia should transform ourselves into creators, planting the seeds and weaving tapestries of Popular Education as a trans-disciplinary experience in the emancipation of life on the planet.

The Amazon is a sky of many stars. Here, in Macapá, we pledge to work to amplify our constellation, incorporating into the Panamazonia Social Forum all movements and organizations fighting to defend our territories, our rights and those of Nature.

This is our way, our struggle and our destiny.

THE FREE PEOPLES OF PANAMAZONIA WILL WIN!

Macapá, May 31, 2014

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