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The Mbarete ecologist group is based in Chavarria town, in the province of Corrientes, Argentina. The group is the founder of the Organization Guardians of Ibera and it comprises different groups from within the province. They have warned about the environmental problems in Ibera, while they promote citizen participation, local organization through direct action and protests against the people who destroy the environment without being punished for it.
Chavarria, with a population of 3,000 people, is suffering the consequences of the forestry model installed in the province a few decades ago: pine tree plantations, sawmills, trucks that transport wood and go in an out of town. The forestry industry surrounds the people with thousands of hectares owned by just one company.
On October 20th, the neighbors of Chavarria, with the support of Mbarete, had their first day of direct and popular action against the forestry industry: they blocked the Provincial road number 22 that joins the town with the neighboring town of Concepcion, preventing trucks from transporting wood. Friends of the Earth interviewed one of the residents, Silvia Yacuzzi, an activist of Mbareté.
The neighbors organized are demanding the authorities by collecting signatures and submitting letters to demand that the provincial route number 22 be connected with the national route number 123, in order to avoid the trucks from going through Chavarria. But they had no reply.
The neighbors’ demand aims to end with the problems suffered as a result of the constant traffic of vehicles, many times at high speed. One of the consequences is the excessive dust they cause. Some neighbors have health problems as a result of this. The avenue Independencia is the only means to access route 123. The firestation is there, the hospital, and other important services. The route is not even paved. As a result of the dust, the hospital cannot even secure the minimum conditions to assist the population, said Yacuzzi.
After eight hours of road block, the neighbors managed to reach an agreement with the authorities to detour route 22 and route 123. The demonstrators claimed that they will wait until the deadline agreed and if the pact is not complied with they will block the road once again.
Silence was broken and they began to question one of the many negative aspects of the forestry industry, says Friends of the Earth Argentina. There are more and more people demanding the recovery of the native ecosystems and a change of model, which has proven to be unsustainable.
Photo: Grupo Ecologista Mbareté de Chavarría.
“No queremos ser mártires, no queremos que hayan más mártires en este país, pero también hay una responsabilidad histórica de hacer valer la palabra y demostrar que tenemos derecho a la construcción de un mundo mejor. Y no podemos huir a esa responsabilidad”, dijo a Radio Mundo Real la dirigente garífuna Miriam Miranda, coordinadora de la Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH).
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