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The International Conference on Climate Change, Territories and Social Movements began on Monday 5th November at the University of San Salvador, El Salvador. Over 500 delegates from more than 77 countries, which are part of the Movement of Victims and People Affected by Climate Change, gathered to create a space to strengthen alliances with organizations and networks of the region in defense of peoples’ livelihood and sovereignty in order to move forward in the development of MOVIAC as an advocacy movement.
The event began with a press conference in the Salvadorean capital, San Salvador, covered by Real World Radio.
Silvia Quiroa of CESTA- Friends of the Earth El Salvador, one of the main organizers of the event said that “climate change can only be tackled through strong coordinated work”.
Juan Almendares, leader of Madre Tierra-Friends of the Earth Honduras said the “strategic repression against peoples is a growing trend from Mexico to Mesoamerica that violates peoples’ rights, exploits communities and goes hand in hand with neo-colonial militarism. The people united have invited others to join us and fight recolonizing and neo-imperialistic capitalism”.
Meanwhile, Carlos Muralles from the Guatemalan delegation and Central American representative of MOVIAC exposed the atrocities committed by transnational corporations against peoples. The environmental leader believes that the situation in Guatemala is concerning because of the persecution and repression against social movements and community leaders.
Nieves Capote of Otros Mundos-Friends of the Earth Mexico said “at this moment when capitalism is in crisis we are also witnessing an advance over territories and an increase in mining concessions, nearly 30% of the territory is granted to mining concessions. The movements are the only ones that can save our planet from this crisis”.
Nicaraguan representative of Jovenes Ambientalistas (young environmental activists), German Areas, believes we are going through a transition where indigenous and peasant communities play an important role. The environmental leader also exposed that the construction of big megaprojects threatens the Nicaraguan communities such as Refinería del Supremo Sueño de Bolívar and el Gran Canal Interoceánico del Lago de Nicaragua.
Lastly, Grace Garcia, environmental activist of COECOCEIBA-Friends of the Earth Costa Rica said that the Friends of the Earth groups in Central America, together with other networks like MOVIAC have the challenge of uniting their struggles and proposals. She also invited people to participate in the conference and mobilization to be held on Tuesday 6th, November in solidarity with the peoples’ struggles in defense of territories.
“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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