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19 December 2012 | | | | |

Articulation of Hope

Socio-environmental conflicts and resistance-building processes in Peru; interview with Gloria Velazco

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“Nowadays in Peru, at national level, we are suffering an avalanche of extractive industries, which leaves our peasant communities cornered", said Gloria Velazco in an interview with Real World Radio at the 5th Latin American Meeting on Environmental Education Experiences of the Peoples.

The leader, who is part of the Center for the Development of the Peoples (CEDEP Ayllu) an organization that works with peasant and indigenous communities of Cuzco in defense of rights, talked to our correspondent at the Latin American meeting, Danilo Urrea, and expressed her concern over the increase of mining concessions that are looting the territories.

Despite the hope deposited by organizations after the arrival of Ollanta Umala as head of the current administration, Velazco made reference to the serious moment experienced in terms of the criminalization of the protest, the protection by the State to industries that cause conflicts in the country due to the exploitation of the natural heritage.

However, Velazco believes there are much more interesting intentions at regional and national level of social organizations and movements that are articulated with more international movements who aim to work strongly on the educational process from the grassroots level. The process of building a social base is carried out from each community, and in cases such as Conga there´s a response by the organized population who have been working for many years and for whom the defense of water is "a beacon of hope in the defense of life”.

The leader also said that the experiences of the countries present at the Meeting, especially the articulation of the work in Cuba "are helpful to see how we can join more national, instead of local, movements. We´ve been working for 12 years in the capacity-building of leaders, because every change in human beings is a process, we are trying to build a different community with their participation, their proposals".

Andean countries, such as Peru, are being invaded by transnational corporations, which causes exploitation and domination relationships resulting in a deep crisis in ancestral and traditional territories of peasants, afro-descendants and indigenous communities.

The meeting provided an opportunity to articulate regional networks to advance in the building of peoples´ environmental education processes to confront these contradictions. According to the Peruvian activist, “our Latin American countries have always been united, this is our legacy. I believe we should resume some of the traditional actions, borders were invented by people, we need to break these gaps so that this avalanche doesn´t hurt us anymore. We should also look at our history, to work together as Latin American brothers and sisters, because all in all we are one, we can´t do anything if we are isolated".

Photo: www.cmlk.org

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