Posted on December 21, 2014
by Jerry Alatalo
By John Perkins
I just returned from a magical trip with a special group of people to amazing Peru. Our group experienced sacred sites and ceremonies with the Q’ero and other Quechua elders and shamans. Now I look forward to facilitating another group as we visit the sacred sites and great Mayan teachers of Guatemala beginning very soon, January 16 (to join visit: http://www.johnperkins.org/a-journey-to-the-lands-of-the-maya-guatemala/).
This year much of my time and energy has been spent in Latin America. I have talked about events in various countries and ways in which people are waking up. With the closing of the year, let’s look at some of these stories and see how they have developed.
Chevron and Big Oil
Big Oil (Chevron, Shell, BP, etc) have long been seen as an enemy of the Amazon, as purveyors of contamination, poverty, and disease. (Blog Post: “Big Oil, Romania, and the Amazon”.) Oil is a tool for bringing a country into economic submission, as I learned during my time as Chief Economist at a major international consulting firm (“economic hit man.”) Ecuador is not the only country to have issues with Big Oil; dependence on fossil fuels has led countries all over the world to economic disaster and civil unrest.
There has often been violence between the multinational companies and the indigenous people who have had their lives brutally impacted by the oil industry. Just in the last few weeks, a brave Ecuadorian Shuar leader, José Isidro Tendetza Antún, was found dead, tortured, and buried in suspicious circumstances mere days before he was scheduled to travel to Lima, Peru for climate talks. He had been a leader in the struggle to rein in mining and oil companies that threaten so much of his native Ecuador.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has sometimes been praised and sometimes castigated for his stance on the Amazon rainforest, most recently exploiting the natural resources of the region by signing permits for oil drilling in one of the most bio diverse regions on the planet. On the other hand, he has also made statements opposing Chevron in the nearly twenty year saga of Ecuadorian villagers against the oil giant over the clean-up of contaminated areas.
Though the Ecuadorian villagers have won against Chevron with the help of a legal team lead by Steven Donziger and Pablo Fajardo, the Big Oil company is refusing to keep its promise to abide by the judgment of Ecuador’s courts. In typical Corporatocracy fashion, Chevron is not under the regulation of a single government and therefore refuses to respect any. Its executives are threatening not only the lives of the indigenous people of the Amazon, but people all over the world, from Canada to Romania to Myanmar to India. Other governments in those regions continue to do business with Chevron, despite clear evidence that the environment and the people suffer greatly.
Monsanto and “Free-Trade”
Another multinational corporation that is threatening the health of the land and the people of Latin America and most of the rest of the world is Monsanto. (Blog Post: “A Latin American Awakening and Monsanto”.) In Latin American countries, free-trade agreements have paved the way for the Corporatocracy to gain control and have sent thousands of children across the border into the US in desperation.
Throughout history since the Industrial Revolution, the move to take agriculture away from small farmers and give the power and profits to big companies has resulted in poverty and destruction. Not only do these agreements render it impossible for small farmers to make a living from their seeds and produce, but they have also introduced incredibly dangerous chemicals and pesticides into once-pristine environments.
Earlier this year we saw some Latin American governments seek to stand firm for the interests of their people against major privatization of agriculture. The fight is far from over. Groups of citizens have organized to demand that their rights, interests, and cultural values be protected by their leaders and that the corporations abide by new standards and laws.
However, as powerful as these big corporations are, the people who are waking up are more powerful. There is much that we can learn from our southern neighbors in how to harness our power to make our leaders work for change. (Blog Post: “Lessons on Capitalism from an Unlikely Source”.)
One striking example of leaders listening to their people is the 20 x 20 Initiative: 8 Latin American nations joining forces to fight global warming. Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru are coming together for this agreement to protect forests and fertile land.
We can do our part to help and support this awakening by calling and emailing our leaders and elected officials and demanding that they work against free-trade agreements such as CAFTA-DR and the proposed TPP. We can vote with our dollars by buying local and small-farm-grown produce and products instead of shopping at big box stores and retailers. Our market power can be made even stronger by sending emails to the Big Business executives telling them we will boycott their companies until they too support local businesses and farmers and provide their employees with higher wages, health care, and retirement pensions. We can join or organize consumer movements to strengthen our messages.
Let’s make 2015 the year we focus our intentions and our dreams on changing the world for a better future through taking positive actions and by educating those around us.
(Thank you to breakingtheset at YouTube)