Iberá in conflict: national route 118 blocked in demand of land and against forestry plantations
Press Release: Corrientes Capital City, September 17, 2014
– Farmer organizations, unions, social and environmental organizations request the ownership of the lands of the San Nicolás Foundation, taken for the provincial government, and demand that Harvard’s, as well as other companies’ forestry plantations stop their advancement.-
Ctes. Capital. 09/17: Through a press release various organizations reported that Friday, the 19th of the current month, national route 118 was blocked between the localities of Loreto and San Miguel.
The day of struggle was part of the conflict for lands that erupted at the end of last year due to the decision of the provincial government to transfer San Nicolás Foundation’s lands and properties to the Ministry of Production, through the Rural Development Institute.
The farmers in the areas of San Miguel and Loreto that cultivate these lands understand that this is a way to illegally confiscate their lands, “The San Nicolás Foundation was created by the parishes of Loreto and San Miguel so the farmers without land could work this countryside of 3100 hectares themselves.” Recalled Antonio Lezcano, leader of the farmer organization APPPC (Association of Small Producers of the province of Corrientes).
Today there are more than 150 farmer families that depend on these lands to be able to sow their seeds and sustain themselves, but they worry that the tourism projects that Douglas Tompkins promotes imply the end of the traditional use of these lands. “An embankment on these lands is being planned for access to the Carambola stream; there they plan to build a port, since Tompkins has fields on the other side of the Carambola in the wetlands and he has been promoting this project as a Scenic Route. But this would damage our environment and affect our production”. Denounced Ramón Sanchez, Coordinator of the farmer commission Ñande Ñu.
The lands of the San Nicolás Institute are the last communal lands for farming that are left in the north of Iberá. “These lands make up part of the lands traditionally used by we the people of Corrientes, typically Guaraní, and today are surrounded by forestry plantations, some of which are owned by Harvard University, as well as land owned by Tompkins. For these reasons it is impossible to ignore that this conflict is framed within the monopolization of lands in the hands of foreigners and companies.” Stressed Cristian Piriz, advisor of the Ysyry Ecological Group of the Guardianes del Iberá of San Miguel.
In this context the organizations decided on this date because it falls close to September 21st, the International Day of Struggle against Monoculture Tree Plantations worldwide, whereby the Guardianes del Iberá traveled to Honduras (Central America), where the Network Against Monoculture Tree Plantations (RECOMA), met with representatives of all of the Latin American countries affected by these foreign capital investments.
“At the end of last year we were already protesting in the capital city of Corrientes, later I traveled to the United States and we protested there in Harvard University itself, now it is time to take the streets of our own communities, they must understand that we are farmer descendants of guaraní ancestors, that this is our territory where we want to plant our crops in the way we have always done, we do not want afforestation projects, we do not eat Pine Trees¨. Affirmed Adrián Obregón, national delegate of the FONAF of the Corrientes province.
The organizations that announced and organized the day of struggle are; The APPPC (Association of Small Producers of the Correintes province), The Association of Small Producers of Loreto, The Guaraní community “Mboycua”, The Social Environmental Movement “Guardianes del Iberá”, The Farmer Commision “Ñande Ñu”, The Association of Small Producers Juan XXIII, The San Miguel Association of Producers, The Argentine Workers’ Central Union (CTA).
Farmer Leader of the APPPC (The Association of Small Producers of the Corrientes Province).
Cell: 379 15 4 609748
Advisor of the Ysyry Environmental Group (Guardianes del Iberá) of San Miguel.
Coordinator of The Stop Harvard Campaign
Cell: 379 15 4 598172
Coordinator of the Farmer Commision Ñande Ñu
Cell: 379 15 4878715
National Delegate of the FONAF (Federation of National Organizations for Familial Agriculture) of the Corrientes Province
Cell: 379 15 4124794