tagged w/ Bolivia
On a recent winter morning in the tiny Bolivian village of Tayasigua, Deogracia Otega sat on a wooden bench, nervously clutching her purse.
The indigenous Guarani woman with tired eyes said that it burned when she urinated and her lower abdomen ached. "I'm worried about cervical cancer," said the 45 year-old grandmother of two as she waited to consult the doctor setting up opening up shop in the one-room brick school house behind her.
Half an hour later, Otega emerged, relieved. She was in the clear for now, she said. "I didn't even know what a cervix was before the mobile health units starting arriving," she added with an embarrassed half-smile:
Otega's medical care was likely not discussed at the recent U.N. summit on the progress of the world in meeting Millennium Development Goals by the deadline year in 2015. But it could have been. Her consult is an example of what's helping South America's poorest country advance in its maternal health goals, as well improve its populations overall sexual and reproductive health.
Read the full story on Women's eNews: http://www.womensenews.org/story/reproductive-health/101228/pickups-mobilize-bolivias-maternal-healthcareOn a recent winter morning in the tiny Bolivian village of Tayasigua, Deogracia Otega... more
One or two years of strange rainfall patterns could be just that, and may not be an indication of a larger, catastrophic pattern. But Bolivians, especially the elderly, are reminded daily of their changing climate by the dwindling glaciers on the mountains around them. Perhaps not surprisingly, the snow-capped Andes are sacred in pre-Columbian Andean religions. The Aymara empire extended across Bolivia's highlands for several hundred years before they were conquered by the Inca, and then the Spanish shortly thereafter. Both Aymara and Quechua (Inca) traditions live on today, with many Bolivians speaking indigenous languages first and Spanish as a second language or not at all. In the last half-century, these ancient peoples have seen many of their glaciers shrink or even disappear.
Perhaps the starkest example is the glacier on Chacaltaya, a mountain near the capitol city of La Paz. Chacaltaya was once home to the world's highest (and Bolivia's only) ski resort, which was built in 1938. Between then and 2009, the glacier melted and entirely disappeared. As of 2009, the ski resort's operations became limited to a small area that sometimes receives snow. A travel Web site now boasts that, "it is still fun to visit this mountain whether or not you plan on skiing," suggesting that visitors go hiking and take in the beautiful views of La Paz and Lake Titicaca.
Of course, the loss of a ski resort is nothing compared to what else is at stake. Nor is Chacaltaya the only mountain with a glacier in jeopardy. The majority of Bolivia's population lives in the highlands, and they depend on the glaciers for drinking water, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. Climate scientist Lonnie Thompson has been studying Andean glaciers in Bolivia and Peru since the 1970s and during that time, he's witnessed the formation and disappearance of rivers and lakes as glaciers melt and water evaporates.
"It doesn't matter which tropical glacier you look at," he says, noting that 90 percent of the earth's tropical glaciers are found in Bolivia and Peru, "100 percent of them are retreating in today's world." In the first 15 years Thompson researched the Oori Kalis glacier, Quelccaya's largest outlet glacier has been retreating about 10 times faster (approximately 60 meters per year) than during the initial measurement period from 1963 to 1978 when it was about six meters per year. The accelerating rate of retreat of the Qori Kalis terminus is consistent with the observations of glaciers throughout the Andes.
Thompson worries about the Andean people who live among these melting glaciers (some of whom required the team of scientists to participate in a ceremonial sacrifice of a white alpaca to ask the gods' forgiveness for conducting their research on the sacred mountain). "These people are living on the edge of survival anyway, and of course they're the first to be influenced by changes in water resources," says Thompson.
cont.One or two years of strange rainfall patterns could be just that, and may not be an... more
by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger
A year ago, it seemed possible—likely, even—that President Barack Obama would sweep into the international negotiations on climate change at Copenhagen and make serious progress on the tangle of issues at stake. The reality was quite different. This year, the expectations for the United Nations Climate Conference in Cancun are less exuberant.
The conference will be held from Nov 29 to Dec 10 and the same issues from 2009 are up for debate. Countries like the United States, Britain, and Germany are still contributing an outsize share of carbon to the atmosphere. Countries like India and China are still rapidly increasing their own carbon output. And countries like Bangladesh, Tuvalu, and Bolivia are still bearing an unfair share of the environmental impacts brought on by climate change.
A very different set of expectations are building in the climate movement this year. If last year was about moving forward as fast as possible, this year, climate activists seem resigned to the idea that politicians just aren’t getting it. Change, when it comes, will have to be be built on a popular movement, not a political negotiation.
Climate change from the bottom up
Last year, climate activists put their faith in international leaders to make progress. This year, they believe that it’s up to them, as outside actors, to marshal a grassroots movement and pressure their leaders towards decreased carbon emissions.
“There’s a recognition that the insider strategy to push from inside the Beltway to impact what will happen in DC, or what will happen in Cancun has really not succeeded,” Rose Braz, climate campaign director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told Making Contact’s Andrew Stelzer. “What we’re doing in conjunction with a number of groups across the country and across the world is really build the type of movement that will change what happens in Cancun, what changes what happens in DC from the bottom up.” (This entire episode of Making Contact is dedicated to new approaches to climate change, at Cancun and beyond, and is worth a listen.)
Fighting the indolence of capitalists
Here’s one example of this new strategy: as Zachary Shahan writes at Change.org, La Via Campesina, an international peasant movement, is coordinating a march that will begin in San Luis Potosi, Guadalajara, Acapulco, Oaxaca, and Chiapas, then converge on Cancun. The march will include “thousands of farmers, indigenous people, rural villagers, urbanites, and more,” Shahan reports.
After they arrive in Cancun, the organizers are planning an “Alternative Global Forum for Life and Environmental and Social Justice” for the final days of the negotiations, which they say will be a mass mobilisation of peasants, indigenous and social movements. The action extends far beyond Cancun, though. Actually, they are organizing thousands of Cancuns around the world on this day to denounce what they see as false climate solutions.
These actions echo the strategy that environmentalist and author Bill McKibben and other climate leaders are promoting to push for climate change policies in the U.S. All this talk about building momentum from the bottom up, from populations, means that anyone looking for change is now looking years into the future.
The U.S. is not leading the way
Of course, ultimately, politicians will need to agree on a couple of standards. In particular, how much carbon each country should be emitting and how fast each country should power down its current emission levels. The U.S. is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to agreement on these questions, especially due to the recent mid-term elections. As Claudia Salerno, Venezuela’s lead climate change negotiator wrote at AlterNet:
Unlike what many suggest, China is not the problem. China, along with India and others, have made considerable commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and are already working to realize them. Other developing countries have done the same, although we only generate a virtual drop in the bucket of global carbon emissions. The key player missing here is the U.S.
China, the U.S. and Clean Coal
The most interesting collaborations on clean energy, however, aren’t happening around the negotiating table. This week, The Atlantic’s James Fallows wrote a long piece about the work that the U.S. and China are doing together on clean coal technology, the magic cure-all to the world’s energy ills.
In the piece, Fallows recognizes what environmentalists have long argued: coal is bad for the environment and for coal-mining communities. But, unlike clean energy advocates who want to phase coal out of the energy equation, Fallows argues that coal must play a part in the world’s energy future. Therefore, we must find a way to burn it without releasing clouds of carbon into the atmosphere. That’s where clean coal technology comes in. So far, however, researchers have had little luck minimizing coal’s carbon output.
A few progressive writers weighed in on Fallows’ piece: Grist’s David Roberts thought Fallows was too hard on the anti-coal camp, while Campus Progress’ Sara Rubin argued that the piece did a good job of grappling with the reality of clean energy economics. And Mother Jones‘ Kevin Drum had one very clear criticism—that the piece skated over the question of progress on carbon capture, the one real way to dramatically reduce carbon pollution from coal. He wrote:
All the collaboration sounds wonderful, and even a 20% or 30% improvement in coal technology would be welcome. But that said, sequestration is the holy grail and I still don’t know if the Chinese are doing anything more on that front than the rest of us.
On every front, then, the view on climate change is now a long one.
This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium Blogger A year ago, it seemed... more
Jessica Anne Jordan Burton's background gave no indications that she would end up in politics.
Born in the Somerset town of Bath in England, the 26-year-old moved to Bolivia as a young girl with her mother after her parents divorced.
She was crowned Miss Bolivia in 2006. Four years later she is now responsible for development in Beni, north- east Bolivia.
It is an area which suffers serious poverty, caused in part by a lack of basic services and infrastructure. The cocaine trade dominates the local economy.
Ms Jordan says she spends her day-to-day life travelling the area, meeting people in ministries and making recommendations to the central government over how and where to invest money - important decisions which determine the allocation of a $700m development pot.
Her rapid journey into frontline politics began when she was preparing to enter Miss Universe and met Bolivian President, Evo Morales.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-11220643Jessica Anne Jordan Burton's background gave no indications that she would end up... more
With high Andean peaks and a humid tropical forest, Bolivia is a country of ecological extremes. But during the Southern Hemisphere's recent winter, unusually low temperatures in part of the country's tropical region hit freshwater species hard, killing an estimated 6 million fish and thousands of alligators, turtles and river dolphins.
Scientists who have visited the affected rivers say the event is the biggest ecological disaster Bolivia has known, and, as an example of a sudden climatic change wreaking havoc on wildlife, it is unprecedented in recorded history.
"There's just a huge number of dead fish," says Michel Jégu, a researcher from the Institute for Developmental Research in Marseilles, France, who is currently working at the Noel Kempff Mercado Natural History Museum in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. "In the rivers near Santa Cruz there's about 1,000 dead fish for every 100 metres of river."
more at link...
Hey, Al Gore, did you and your eco-fascist friends catch this article or were you too busy dodging rape charges you treasonous filth?With high Andean peaks and a humid tropical forest, Bolivia is a country of ecological... more
How do you discuss taboo topics with youth who are, as they themselves say, taught to be so closed-off they don’t ever let their hair down?
In a migrant town just above the Bolivia’s capital city of La Paz, CECOPI and Radio Atipiri in El Alto, Bolivia, in partnership with PCI-Media Impact, have a unique suggestion: create a soap opera about those issues and let teens loose on the airwaves to digest and discuss the stories.
For the past three years, Radio Atipiri and CECOPI have produced successful radio to begin important dialogues about social issues such as the rights of women, youth sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence and inter-generation communication, all with the goal of empowering the community to speak-up and address the problems plaguing local residents.
http://3blmedia.com/theCSRfeed/Looking-Love-Bolivia-Radio-Soap-Opera-Addresses-Youth-Sexual-Health-El-Alto-BoliviaHow do you discuss taboo topics with youth who are, as they themselves say, taught to... more
---The North Yungas Road in the Bolivian Andes has been officially declared as the “world’s most dangerous road” – for motorists! Mountain bike enthusiasts however, are cut from a different cloth, and it has become a favorite destination for downhill racing – now that has got to be a serious adrenalin rush!
It is just short of 70 km long and runs from La Paz to Coroico, descending over 3,500 metres and regular occurrences of 800 metre abysses and impossibly narrow hairpin curves. One wouldn’t expect a road leaving one of the highest cities on the planet to go uphill – but in fact it does – almost five kilometres above sea level, where even a normal internal combustion engine struggles to ‘breathe’.
http://brucewaynehart.com/2010/02/road-of-death-bolivia/---The North Yungas Road in the Bolivian Andes has been officially declared as the... more
A woman in Bolivia has been arrested after admitting that she sold her new-born baby to a woman who could not have children of her own, police say.
The mother, identified as Jesusa Molle, had initially pretended that her child had been snatched from the maternity ward in the central city of Cochabamba
But she later admitted she had sold the child for 1,000 bolivianos ($140; £100) to 35-year-old Evangelina Suarez.
Police also arrested Ms Suarez, though neither woman has yet been charged.
Ms Molle told police she agreed to sell her child because she had been abandoned by her husband and could not afford to support the child.
The authorities said they had yet to make a decision on who should be given custody of the child. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/latin_america/10234209.stmA woman in Bolivia has been arrested after admitting that she sold her new-born baby... more
A retired Bolivian general famous for capturing Ernesto "Che" Guevara was ordered held under house arrest this past week in connection with an alleged plot against President Evo Morales.A retired Bolivian general famous for capturing Ernesto "Che" Guevara was... more
Criss-crossing the valleys of Bolivia, hundreds of metres above the ground, is a network of makeshift cables. Clinging onto these cables, coca growers whizz across the mountains, transporting their harvest. Should they slip or the aged cables snap, they face certain death. Once they've reached the other side of the mountain, the danger doesn't end. The coca then has to be transported along the 'Camino de la Muerte', or Highway of Death'. It's the only route connecting La Paz, Bolivia's administrative capital, with the Amazon Basin. And it's officially the most dangerous road in the world.Criss-crossing the valleys of Bolivia, hundreds of metres above the ground, is a... more
Bolivian President Evo Morales has ordered the nationalization of four private electricity companies.
Police moved into the offices of Corani, Valle Hermoso and Guaracachi firms, following Mr Morales' decree. Corani is half owned by a subsidiary of France's GDF Suez. Guaracachi's main partner is Britain's Rurelec, while ELFEC and Valle Hermoso are local.
President Morales said that the government now controlled 80% of electricity generation in the country.
Last year, Mr Morales announced the takeover of a subsidiary of British oil company BP, which supplied jet fuel across the Andean nation.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8656106.stmBolivian President Evo Morales has ordered the nationalization of four private... more
A countdown of strange foods and unique ways to eat. In Part 7, Vanguard's intrepid Adam Yamaguchi eats mystery meat in the Bolivian Amazon and we finish with a treat that begins with the letter "C."A countdown of strange foods and unique ways to eat. In Part 7, Vanguard's... more
Final Declaration of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, Cochabamba, Bolivia
Today, our Mother Earth is wounded and the future of humanity is in danger.
If global warming increases by more than 2 degrees Celsius, a situation that the “Copenhagen Accord” could lead to, there is a 50% probability that the damages caused to our Mother Earth will be completely irreversible. Between 20% and 30% of species would be in danger of disappearing. Large extensions of forest would be affected, droughts and floods would affect different regions of the planet, deserts would expand, and the melting of the polar ice caps and the glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas would worsen. Many island states would disappear, and Africa would suffer an increase in temperature of more than 3 degrees Celsius. Likewise, the production of food would diminish in the world, causing catastrophic impact on the survival of inhabitants from vast regions in the planet, and the number of people in the world suffering from hunger would increase dramatically, a figure that already exceeds 1.02 billion people.
The corporations and governments of the so-called “developed” countries, in complicity with a segment of the scientific community, have led us to discuss climate change as a problem limited to the rise in temperature without questioning the cause, which is the capitalist system.
We confront the terminal crisis of a civilizing model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution.
The capitalist system has imposed on us a logic of competition, progress and limitless growth. This regime of production and consumption seeks profit without limits, separating human beings from nature and imposing a logic of domination upon nature, transforming everything into commodities: water, earth, the human genome, ancestral cultures, biodiversity, justice, ethics, the rights of peoples, and life itself.
Under capitalism, Mother Earth is converted into a source of raw materials, and human beings into consumers and a means of production, into people that are seen as valuable only for what they own, and not for what they are.
Capitalism requires a powerful military industry for its processes of accumulation and imposition of control over territories and natural resources, suppressing the resistance of the peoples. It is an imperialist system of colonization of the planet.
Humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation, and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life.
It is imperative that we forge a new system that restores harmony with nature and among human beings. And in order for there to be balance with nature, there must first be equity among human beings. We propose to the peoples of the world the recovery, revalorization, and strengthening of the knowledge, wisdom, and ancestral practices of Indigenous Peoples, which are affirmed in the thought and practices of “Living Well,” recognizing Mother Earth as a living being with which we have an indivisible, interdependent, complementary and spiritual relationship. To face climate change, we must recognize Mother Earth as the source of life and forge a new system based on the principles of:
* harmony and balance among all and with all things;
* complementarity, solidarity, and equality;
* collective well-being and the satisfaction of the basic necessities of all;
* people in harmony with nature;
* recognition of human beings for what they are, not what they own;
* elimination of all forms of colonialism, imperialism and interventionism;
* peace among the peoples and with Mother Earth;
The model we support is not a model of limitless and destructive development. All countries need to produce the goods and services necessary to satisfy the fundamental needs of their populations, but by no means can they continue to follow the path of development that has led the richest countries to have an ecological footprint five times bigger than what the planet is able to support.
Currently, the regenerative capacity of the planet has been already exceeded by more than 30 percent. If this pace of over-exploitation of our Mother Earth continues, we will need two planets by the year 2030. In an interdependent system in which human beings are only one component, it is not possible to recognize rights only to the human part without provoking an imbalance in the system as a whole. To guarantee human rights and to restore harmony with nature, it is necessary to effectively recognize and apply the rights of Mother Earth. For this purpose, we propose the attached project for the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth, in which it’s recorded that:
* The right to live and to exist;
* The right to be respected;
* The right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue it’s vital cycles and processes free of human alteration;
* The right to maintain their identity and integrity as differentiated beings, self-regulated and interrelated;
* The right to water as the source of life;
* The right to clean air;
* The right to comprehensive health;
* The right to be free of contamination and pollution, free of toxic and radioactive waste;
* The right to be free of alterations or modifications of it’s genetic structure in a manner that threatens it’s integrity or vital and healthy functioning;
* The right to prompt and full restoration for violations to the rights acknowledged in this Declaration caused by human activities.
More at link...Final Declaration of the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the... more
Last week, the Feria del Agua—a water festival and fair—marked the 10th anniversary of the water wars that thwarted attempts to privatize water services in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Celebrations were kicked off April 15 with a parade from downtown Cochabamba to the Complejo Fabril (home of the Cochabamba Federation of Workers).
Nationally, the water wars not only paved the way for blocking privatization attempts of other natural resources in Bolivia, but also helped change the balance of power there, leading to the successful election of its first indigenous president. Globally, the Bolivian water wars called attention to attempts to privatize water in Asia, Africa and elsewhere in Latin America. In their wake, it became increasingly acceptable to claim water as a basic right.
In 2001, IATP used the Bolivian water privatization case study to successfully persuade the UN office of the Special Rapporteur—who was conducting a detailed study towards the formulation the U.N. General Comment 15 on right to water—to remove overt references to privatization as a strategy for ensuring the water supply and sanitation in realizing the right to water. IATP also made the case that the General Comment must include water for farming and other subsistence livelihood practices to help establish the right to adequate food as a necessary component of realizing the right to water.
The struggle for the right to water continues even now in Bolivia. As several bloggers from the international water fair have pointed out, the gains of the water war have yet to reach la zona su—a wide swath of poor communities at the southern edge of the city that are highly organized and militant—some of the principal protagonists of the struggle in 2000 that led to the expulsion of the multinational Bechtel. Hence the need for small, autonomous water committees that continue to serve the needs of the local population. La Feria del Agua was thus not only a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the water wars, but also a public event celebrating the work of these water committees.
Earlier this week, thousands more arrived in Cochabamba to participate in the People's Conference on Climate Change, at the invitation of Bolivian President Evo Morales and civil society groups. In an attempt to draw attention to the fact that water is in the eye of the climate storm, one of the days at the Feria was celebrated as a climate and water day. It was planned as a day to question the political processes that promote market-based solutions as an answer to the water and climate crises, and to advance alternatives. IATP, along with On the Commons and several other groups from around the world that work on water justice issues, came together to develop a fact sheet, “Water and Climate Change: What’s the connection?” and a draft declaration “On the Connection between Water and Climate Justice: Reviving a healthy climate through commons-based water management practices.” These were presented at the Feria. The purpose was to reach out to other constituencies and to show that their struggle is our struggle too—since water permeates climate, forests, agriculture and life itself.
contLast week, the Feria del Agua—a water festival and fair—marked the 10th... more
The World People’s Conference of Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth came to an end yesterday, as delegates in Cochabamba, Bolivia gathered for the closing ceremonies to mark Earth Day.
The grassroots summit was called by Bolivian President Evo Morales–the only indigenous head of state in the world–to provide activists, experts, and government representatives with an alternative forum to the failed UN climate talks last December. According to official estimates, over 100 countries around the world were represented, including more than 40 official government delegations and thousands of activists and representatives of various social movements.
The conference consisted of 17 working groups which discussed concrete proposals: a declaration of rights for the protection of the environment, a climate justice tribunal to hold violators legally accountable, climate debt schemes to compensate under-emitting countries for damage caused to their ecosystems by global warming, and a global referendum on climate change.
Though the process was at times chaotic, progress was made on several proposals. A declaration of rights was formulated and modified by over one thousand delegates, who aim to complement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by expanding rights-based protections to the environment. To be considered by the UN however, the document would need to be raised by a member state–a seemingly distant prospect at this point.
A working group on forests presented a final declaration rejecting the UN-sponsored Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program–one of the more controversial issues at Copenhagen last winter. Introduced at the 2007 UN climate summit in Bali, REDD is being promoted as a global initiative to provide financial incentives for developing countries who reduce emissions through tropical forest preservation. Critics say the controversial program will in fact privatize and commodify tropical rainforests, rather than protect them.
“REDD is a predatory program that pretends to save forests and the climate, while backhandedly selling out forests out from under our Indigenous Peoples…displacing those of us least responsible for the crisis, who have been stewards of the forests since time immemorial,” said Tom Goldtooth, Director of the US-based Indigenous Environmental Network.
The declarations forged by the working groups in Cochabamba will be proposed by President Morales at the next UN climate summit in Cancún in December 2010 to counter the widely criticized Copenhagen Accord.
Driven by feelings of exclusion and marginalization, activists came to Cochabamba for a more open and democratic discussion about climate solutions. Perhaps the most important result of the summit is its success in creating such a forum, where disparate groups could gather without having to confront backdoor meetings, leaked documents, and police intimidation. As delegates now move forward, they seek no less than to redefine global climate justice and, in the process, redefine democratic practice.The World People’s Conference of Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth... more
Bolivian President Evo Morales on President Obama: “I Can’t Believe a Black President Can Hold So Much Vengeance Against an Indian President.”
As the World Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba closes, we speak to Bolivian President Evo Morales about the US decision to cut off climate aid to Bolivia; narcotrafficking; the tenth anniversary of the Water Wars in Cochabamba; the protest at the San Cristóbal silver mine; and the contradiction between promoting the environment and extractive industries—oil/natural gas exploration, mining. "Democracy Now!" is a daily independent newshour.Bolivian President Evo Morales on President Obama: “I Can’t Believe a... more