Representatives from the governments of Bolivia and Paraguay join in the march
(Cancún, Q.R, Mexico, 7 December 2010) In the midst of an exaggerated police operation, some ten thousand people took to the main streets of Cancún in the Marcha Campesina Indígena y Social (Indigenous and Social Peasant March) called by La Vía Campesina, chanting the much repeated slogan summarising the protesters’ demands: “Yes to Cochabamba, no to REDD.”
“It was very brave of La Vía Campesina to go out into the streets at all, given all the pressure and the forces either directly opposed to its mobilisation or that suggested they keep it light”, said Paul Nicholson, member of the international coordination of the peasant movement.
The contingent mobilised for a good part of the day, in a session that started at 8 in the morning and ended at 5 in the afternoon, travelling both on foot and by bus. Nicholson stresses the issue, reiterated in several languages, using different, including artistic, means, during the march: “We demand that we say no to REDD and no to false solutions, we want measures of systemic change that deal with the root of the climate crisis.”
The peasant leader, who is from the Basque Country, informed us that forums, marches and other activities took place throughout the day in more than 37 countries, in response to La Vía Campesina’s call to create Miles de Cancún, aimed at putting global pressure on the negotiations at the climate change summit.
“The COP16 people live on another planet, that’s proven even by the place where they meet: the Moon Palace, they’re lunatics that don’t live in the real world. We, on the other hand, are on Earth, participating in the struggle for life,” joked Nicholson.
Alberto Gómez, representative of La Vía Campesina Región Norte de América (North American Region), agrees: “The governments represented in the COP16 need to stop talking business and start talking about the climate; the REDD and the coal markets are just businesses and opportunities for the expansion of control by the multinationals.”
“We demand that the Cochabamba Villages Agreement be considered in the negotiation document so that rich countries make a commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by half before the end of this decade, and that it is instituted in the International Tribunal of Climate and Environmental Justice, amongst other measures,” he adds.
“Peasant agriculture cools the planet and can guarantee the right to food for everyone via policies that promote food sovereignty” affirms Gómez.
Solón and Lovera at the march
Present at COP16 were Pablo Solón and Miguel Lovera, Bolivian ambassador for the UN and advisor for the Paraguayan Presidency, respectively, they were at the protestors’ meeting point and joined the march at around 13.00.
They took the floor at the villages’ assembly held half a kilometre away from the police barrier blocking the path to the Moon Palace parallel to the airport.
Solón said there is a significant change in negotiations within the COP16 compared to previous years, given that discussion has now been established from within and social proposals are now being listened to directly and taken into account by several delegations.
“Our voice is their voice, they are confident that their proposals will be reflected in the negotiations,” said Solón in his speech to the protestors.
The COP16 delegate for Paraguay, Miguel Lovera, stressed the impact of the climate crisis on people’s life and health and cited the number of deaths caused by this phenomenon per year as being 300 thousand.e climatic crisis on people’s life and health and cited t
“We need to reduce consumption, diminish greed and stop wasting the resources that are necessary for us all to live well, in order to revert the environmental crisis,” he said. After various speakers from summoning organisations such as the Asamblea Nacional de Afectados Ambientales (National Assembly of Environmental Victims), el Movimiento de Liberación Nacional (The National Liberation Movement), el Sindicato Mexicano de Electricistas (The Mexican Electricians’ Union) and La Vía Campesina, the protestors returned peacefully to camp, without any unfortunate incidents. Tomorrow the activities of the Global Forum for “Life and Environmental and Climate Justice” will continue, until the 10 December, in the camp set up by La Vía Campesina and affiliated organisations in Cancún.