martes, abril 21, 2015

Maikiralasalii and the Bees Sharpen Stingers for a New Fight against Coal

For some years now, the majority of the time we spend in Venezuela has been in the city of Maracaibo in the state of Zulia. However, even before taking up our post in Maracaibo, we have for a long time been in a relationship of cross pollination with the folks who “are not for sale” of the Perija Mountains. 

Since the time that we formed a base in Maracaibo, our visits there mean we are surrounded by loud car horns and the buzz of air conditioning units, the yells, the exhaust from cars, the garbage piled in the streets, the extreme heat reflected by asphalt, concrete and zinc roofing shingles. We then leave all of that behind for the waters of a river filtered by stones and coal, for the shade and freshness of the breeze that flows through trees, vines, and shrubs. Forests where macaws, toucans and other birds fly free and without worry of being shot or captured, and where it is normal to come across howler monkeys, spider monkeys, red-foot tortoises, and otters. We return to the Socuy River and the Wayuu communities of Wayuumaana and Kasussain where our friends have been resisting the extraction interests of Big Coal for 15 years. 

Even with all the challenges that exist within the convenience and consumerist society-of-oil-dependence and the wide co-opting and homogenization as a result of the political nepotism-dressed-as-Socialism within Chavismo, the people within the Wayuu Organization Maikilralasaalii have been in a unique process of creating autonomy, forging their own collective self-determination based on the concepts of land, water, and dignity. This process is a Wayuu process in its entirety where the language of Wayuunaiki dominates all activities and spaces, while at the same time it has successfully created alliances and relationships of solidarity and mutual aid with such diverse social players such as ecologists, Chavistas, anti-capitalists, anarchists, other indigenous peoples and other Wayuu organizations in Venezuela and Colombia.

The inhabitants of the Socuy River do not grow all of their own food, nor do all their medicines come from the plants of the tropical dry forests. They are Venezuelans and processed starches are a huge part of their diet. Nevertheless, this diet is strengthened by milk from their goats, heirloom chickens, eggs and crops of kepeshuna (guajiro bean- an endemic variety), squash, yuca and chamomile that can be purchased at the Hierba Buena store in Maracaibo. The local inhabitants remain active in different skills-building processes with workshops that include the creation and application of bio fertilizers, installment and use of solar panels, as well as having produced various short and long films.

The hunting of wild animals is prohibited and they continue to raise red-foot tortoises. This project started with the trading of cartons of eggs for the tortoises that inhabitants of the community of El Paraiso capture and sell for human consumption. In this way, the Wayuu Organization Maikilralasaalii saves the tortoises from the fate of being someone´s meal.

The Socuy is working toward and creating its own reality within a context familiar with the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon Jungle from the Zapatista Army for National Liberation (EZLN), even though they exist simultaneously within Petro-dependent, consumerist Venezuela, where each day more and more people of all political tendencies want “Father Government” to solve everything and the culture of “do it yourself”, sustainability and self-reliance is rarer and harder to find than soap, disposable diapers and milk in local supermarkets.

During our recent visit we arrived with friends and allies to the Socuy process as well as other folks who were visiting for the very first time. We arrived as a series of skills building workshops on traditional Wayuu hat weaving was beginning and we were able to integrate the activities we had to offer into those already happening. During that week and day we offered our activities, the local folks dedicated their time to create and weave Wayuu hats, and sometime in the middle of the afternoon we hung the graphic campaign banners of Mesoamerica Resiste and the True Cost of Coal. The cloth banner of the True Cost of Coal we used belongs to the Autonomous School of Yalayalamana. If anyone is interested in showing their support by printing a banner of Mesoamerica Resiste for the formation processes of the Socuy River please contact the Bees.

For hours we shared the stories of the peoples and creatures of Appalachian Mountains and their struggle against coal mining as well as the stories of the peoples and creatures of Mesoamérica and the long story of struggle and resistance that started with the European Invasion and persists today within neoliberal, extractivist capitalism. During the presentation of the two banners there was simultaneous interpretation and discussion in Wayuunaiki and those present freely observed, listened, conversed, and reflected in their own language. All of this interaction revolved around the history of the Wayuu People, the Socuy River and was all presented through the banners; the Wayuu who migrated south to the Perija Mountains due to the droughts in La Guajira, later being displaced by the coal mines of Guasare and Paso del Diablo, and the Manuelote and Tulé dams, are now once again ready to fight against coal mining interests.

It has been a long history, after 15 years of not only resisting the expansion of coal mines in the Perija Mountains that would require the diversion of the Socuy River, but at the same time creating the ecological agriculture and self-reliant alternatives that the region needs. To resist coal in Perija is to resist the Initiative of Regional Infrastructure Integration South America (IIRSA). This resistance is to the mines, the train lines and Port América, projected to be built in the islands of Toas, Zapara and San Carlos. Regardless of all the adversity, during his life President Chavez changed his position and declared that the coal would stay underground. Years later, resistance was taken up again against the pretensions of the Chavista governor of Zulia State, Arias Cardenas, and the plan to create a coal-powered thermo-electric generation plant in Guasare. All of this over more than 15 years and now this?

After all of this on February 10th President Nicolas Maduro signed Decree 1.606 giving the go ahead to expanding coal mining. The cynical and selective amnesia of Maduro and Cardenas seems to underestimate the Venezuelan people, believing them to have forgotten the strong movement of popular resistance that caused Chavez to take back his words and say “no to coal” in 2007, even after announcing in 2003 an intention to triple coal production. This selective amnesia of the current government seems to think that the social movements do not have a critical understanding of the importance of the water from Perija for life in Maracaibo City and the whole Maracaibo Lake Basin.  Those in power intend that the people do not see the fallacy in handing over the vital liquid of a dry and arid territory and instead attempt to call it progress, development, even “revolution”.

The Decree1.606 approves the exploration and extraction of 24,192 hectors of coal and other minerals associated with energy production in the Montes de Oca (Majayura Mountains), the natural northern limit with Colombia along the northern border of the Socuy River. As if this was not enough, the Chinese multinational company with whom the agreement is signed, Sinohydro, demands more coal. Sinohydro has pressured the engineers of the Venezuelan State-owned Petroleum company, PDVSA, to “include within the project´s Financial Plan the projects of a coal-powered thermo-electric generation plant and the recuperation of coal mines, this with the purpose of supplying constant coal to this plant” (Project Coal-powered Thermo-electric generation plant). These policies have been consolidated in Carbozulia, which is currently under the presidency of Coronel Carlos Antonio Cabré Córdoba.

In commemoration of the two years since Hugo Chavez passed, Carbozulia realized an activity commemorating his legacy. “The best way to preserve the legacy left by the Commander Chavez is to achieve with the demands of this historic moment. With the support of General Erling Rojas Castillo, president of PDVSA Industrial and the commitment of all the workers of Carbozulia we will recuperate coal production in the State of Zulia”. It is quite audacious and shameless to pay “homage” to a person, speak about his legacy, and then go completely against his crystal clear words, words with which he said that he would “rather keep the rivers and the forests, and that that coal stay underground”.

These breaks with Chavez´s final position on coal in the Perija Mountains and the recent brutal treatment of indigenous Ye´kwana and Sanema at the hands of Venezuelan military in the state of Bolivar, spurred by involvement with illegal mining, does not leave the Venezuelan State in good standing before its indigenous, anti-capitalist, and environmentalist citizens and much less their international equivalents. This comes during a difficult moment in the Venezuelan story, a time when the dangers of a coup d’état are very real within the country. These actions only further confirm that the Bolivarian Process in Venezuela continues to destroy nature and raze territories and ecosystems just as the governments prior to Chavismo came into power. It should be recognized that within the rank and file of Chavistas there are many environmentalists that attempt to demand coherency from within the Bolivarian process of the State, though these people are few and far between and have had minimal influence and a lack of decision making power within state policies. They have had little effect, as well, in fomenting a paradigm shift regarding worldviews of the Earth, environmental protection, and education.

On a national level there was the elimination of the Ministry of Popular Power of the Environment to create the Ministry of Ecosocialism by Maduro. In Zulia, the creation of multiple ecological routes and parks (many of which are excellently conceived and administered though others in states of abandonment or that caused environmental destruction with their creation) by Cardenas has served as a cover, as “greenwashing”. In the same way that corporations like Pacific Rubiales, Endesa, or Ecopetrol use the practice of greenwashing to appear as though they are contributing to the fight against pollution on this planet or the root causes of the climate crisis as they destroy the planet, so have the environmental efforts of the Maduro and Cárdenas administrations, coupled with their complete reliance on extractivism to finance their government, their efforts are poor attempts of putting green bandages over a industrialized and polluted landscape.

After the sharing of thoughts that came about as a result of exploring Mesoamerica Resiste and the True Coast of Coal, the night´s last activity was a film screening. We watched “Abuela Grillo”, another short film called “Wayuumaana” (made by a student from Mérida), and the feature film of the evening was “Macuro”. The films, the banner workshop, and the weaving of hats created a dynamic day where the problems as well as the solutions to the challenges faced by the Socuy River and the whole Maracaibo Lake Basin were dealt with. 

The Wayuu Organization Maikiralasalii, the various collectives, movements, national and international Bees that defend the struggle for water, land, and life are ready for another battle against coal extractive interests, destroyers of life and land, regardless if it dressed as socialist or outright capitalist.  There have already been numerous protests, public forums and debates. Cardenas has been silent, not attending the majority of events to which he has been invited. Currently folks from Socuy are in Caracas lobbying to halt all extraction projects in the Perija Mountains. In terms of local allies in Maracaibo the movement brings together a mix of Chavistas with varying degrees of criticism of the government and a wide array of non-government supporters including anarchists, far-left communists, and even some mainstream opposition. 

As La Guajira Peninsula and the Perija Mountains are one, there is no border, and the coal, the forests, the rivers, the animals, and the Wayuu (and the Yukpa and Bari) are one. What is done on one side of the region will affect both peoples and territories alike, whether it be in the land called Venezuela or the land called Colombia. 

In all the visits we have had to the Socuy River, we always leave with the urge to come back and stay longer. We are happy to share, take up again the building and walking with the compañerxs from the process of the river. It is always exciting and spirit-filling to interact with the non-human inhabitants of the Socuy, animals like the dwarf caiman, parrots, toucans, macaws, snakes, spider and howler monkeys, who come up close to us with no fear at all. On this occasion we had the privilege of interacting with a juvenile otter that swam up only a meter away from us, exploring us with the same curiosity we had. We were overtaken by excitement in the presence of such a special and power water creature, a guardian of the water, the otter.

This last visit contributed to an even longer history of special visits and exchanges along the Socuy, and we look forward to being able to return with more time and capacity required to continue building and creating new processes in defense of life, water and land. If there are persons or entities who would like to support our work with the Wayuu Organization Maikiralasalii, the struggle against coal mining in the Perija Mountains, and support community based projects such as reforestation, agro-ecology and Meliponicultura along the Socuy River, we can be contacted through

miércoles, marzo 18, 2015

Desangramiento del Huila / Huila´s Bleeding

In southwest Colombia, rural communities have begun using direct action in their struggle against the privatization of natural resources by multinational corporations. This video focuses on inhabitants whose way of life has been threatened by the construction of a major new hydroelectric project on the Magdalena River. 


viernes, marzo 06, 2015

We All are the Bruno Arroyo!

To divert the Bruno Arroyo is like cutting the veins of Wounmainkat our great mother earth.
-         Expression of an indigenous Wayuu woman- 
Women and men of the Wayuu People, organized within the social movement the Strength of Wayuu Women, publically denounce before national and international opinion the intentions of the Cerrejon multinational company: THE PROJECT TO DIVERT THE BRUNO ARROYO*, ONE OF THE PRINCIPAL TRIBUTARIES OF THE RANCHERIA RIVER AND THE ONLY RIVER THAT WE HAVE IN THE LA GUAJIRA DEPARTMENT.
Today before a dark reality, coming from the voices of Wayuu women responsible for fundamental balance of all Wayuu people, the Outsu, the spiritual knowledge holders, who, through their dreams and spirits have expressed their great concerns of an entire peoples every day. Based on a suffering caused by the ongoing abuse by the Cerrejon multinational company which is considered to be one of the worst historical tragedies and the impacts of open pit mining, which is interpreted as a constant violation of Wounmainkat, our mother earth; we bring this message:
This project is part of Cerrejon’s and its shareholders’ (it is co-owned in equal parts by BHP Billiton (Australia), Anglo American (South Africa) and Glencore (Switzerland)) perverse strategy who only seek to generate profits for their own pockets and maintain control over our territory and its natural goods under the protection of the consumer countries and their economic power. This power only translates into money and has been the cause of the worst tragedies for the indigenous Wayuu, having had serious sociocultural implications including the breakdown of the social fabric of an entire people that historically have remained in their ancestral territory.
Currently, the transnational corporation Cerrejon intends to drastically alter our territory and resources again by diverting the Bruno Arroyo, one of the main tributaries of the Rancheria River. The severity of such actions is very important not only due to the seriousness of droughts in our territory, but also due to the pollution and destruction caused by altering aquifers that has occurred because of mining activities. The diversion of Bruno Arroyo is part of the project to expand the mine in 2015: “(...) Cerrejon will continue its expansion project P40, which aims to increase production from 32 to 40 million tons per year starting in 2015. To accomplish this growth will require an investment of U$1,300 million (...).” This process is part of the New Mining Areas (NAM) expansion project, which proposes to extend the mining operations in the Oreganal, Tabaco and La Puente pits. We should remember that in 2011 the Cerrejon Company presented a questionable project that aimed to exploit coal that could not be accessed without diverting the Rancheria River in the territory of the La Guajira Department as there is a large coal seam underneath the river. This project would have meant the exploitation of an open pit coal mine in part of the River’s course, requiring a 26-kilometer diversion of the river from its natural cause.
In order to continue with its expansion project, Cerrejon now seeks to divert multiple arroyos, such as the Bruno Arroyo, the el Estados Arroyo and the El Salado Arroyo; what will happen to the Bruno Arroyo is currently subject to local and regional debate. Located between the municipalities of Albania and Maicao in the south of the department, this Arroyo provides water to the Indigenous, African descent and farmer communities in both rural and urban areas of these municipalities Surprisingly, within the compensation plans considered in the Rancheria River diversion project, the Bruno Arroyo would become one of the most important water sources that would help counter the water shortages generated by the monstrous intervention of the Rancheria River. Not content with the intent of 2011, Cerrejon today presents a project whose impact is equally harmful, not just in environmental terms but also in terms of our Wayuu cosmogony, specifically the aspect of the life of Wounmainkat, our mother earth and giver of life. A diversion of this nature, which would imply an alteration of the Arroyo ´s course by 3.7 miles, would be a violation of our fundamental rights and would be an irreversible assault of the most sacred of our relationship with life itself.
We call upon the attention of national institutions and the international community to protest and reject this new violation the rights of those of us who share the territory and natural goods of La Guajira, whether we be Wayuu, of African descent, or belong to farmer communities. We have been suffering the serious impacts of mining for 30 years. We demand a process of a free and informed prior consultation, in accordance with international standards, before any actions are taken concerning the Bruno Arroyo.
We demand respect for our internationally recognized territorial rights, and that the Cerrejon mining company immediately initiate a process of mitigation and repair of all the negative impacts it has generated.
We call upon all civic and popular sectors to manifest their support and join the clamor of the Wayuu People to PROHIBIT the diversion of BRUNO ARROYO.
*An arroyo  is a dry creek or stream bed that seasonally fills and flows after sufficient rain.

jueves, marzo 05, 2015

Maikiralasalii y las Abejas afilan aguijones para un nueva lucha en contra el carbón

Ya llevamos unos años en que la mayoría de nuestro tiempo dentro de Venezuela  se ha pasado en la ciudad de Maracaibo – Edo Zulia, sin embargo desde mucho  antes estamos en una polinización cruzada con lxs compañerxs “que no se venden” de la Sierra de Perijá.

Desde que comenzamos a frecuentar a Maracaibo como base, cada vez que podemos dejar el sonido de las cornetas, zumbidos de aire acondicionado, los gritos, el humo de los carros, la basura amontonada en las calles, los calores extremos reflejados por el concreto, asfalto y láminas de zinc, dejamos todo esto atrás por las aguas de un río filtradas por piedras y trozos de carbón, por la sombra y frescura de la brisa que atraviesa los árboles, bejucos y arbustos, donde guacamayas, tucanes y otras aves vuelan sin preocupación de disparos o captura y se llega a topar con monos araguatos y arañas, morrocoy y nutrias con regularidad.  Volvemos al río Socuy, a las comunidades de Wayuumaana y Kasussain donde lxs compañeros Wayuu  tienen más 15 años resistiendo los intereses carboneros del gran capital extractivista.

Con todos los desafíos que existen en la sociedad facilista del petróleo y la cooptación amplia y homogeneizadora que ha sido el clientelismo disfrazado de socialista dentro del Chavismo en Venezuela.  Las personas de la Organización Wayuu Maikilralasaalii han estado caminando un proceso de construcción de autonomía, forjando una auto determinación colectiva en base a conceptos como tierra, agua, dignidad. Un proceso netamente Wayuu en donde el wayuunaiki domina los espacios y por otro lado ha creado alianzas y relaciones de solidaridad y apoyo mutuo con sectores tan diversos como ecologistas, Chavistas, anti-capitalistas,  anarquistas, otros pueblos indígenas  y con otras organizaciones Wayuu en Venezuela y Colombia.

Lxs habitantes del río Socuy no cultivan todos sus alimentos, ni procuran todas sus medicinas del bosque seco tropical, sin embargo se alimentan con dietas fortalecidos por la leche de sus cabras, gallinas de campo y cultivos de kepeshuna (frijol guajiro- una variedad endémica), auyama, yuca, y manzanilla -que logran comercializar en la tienda de Hierba Buena en Maracaibo-. Los habitantes se mantienen activos en procesos de formación con talleres de temáticas como  producción y aplicación de biofertilizantes, aplicación y uso de paneles solares, y ya han producido varios cortos y largos audio visuales. 

La cacería  de los animales silvestres está prohibida y siguen con la cría de morrocoy, que se inició realizando trueques de cartones de huevos de gallinas por morrocoyes que los habitantes de la comunidad El Paraíso vendían para el consumo humano, de este modo Organización Wayuu Maikilralasaalii  salva a los morrocoyes de esta suerte.

El Socuy está caminando y tejiendo su propia realidad dentro de un contexto donde se conoce la Sexta Declaración de la Selva Lacandona del Ejercito Zapatista de Liberación Nacional EZLN, pero a la vez existen dentro la Venezuela petrolera y asistencialista donde cada vez más personas de todas las tendencias políticas quieren que “Papa Gobierno” solucione todo y la cultura del “hazlo tú mismo”, sostenibilidad y auto producción es más escaso que el jabón, pañales desechables y leche.

En esta visita llegamos con amigos y aliados al proceso del Socuy al igual de personas que subían por primera vez. Llegamos al inicio de un proceso de formación de tejido de sombreros y pudimos combinar nuestras propuestas de actividades con la que ya andaba en marcha. Durante esa semana y el día que realizamos actividades las personas se dedicaban a crear y tejer sombreros Wayuu y a mediados de la tarde se colgó los telones de las campañas gráficas de Mesoamérica Resiste y el Verdadero Costo del Carbón. El telón del Verdadero Costo del Carbón pertenece a la Escuela Autónoma de Yalayalamana  y si alguien le interesa apoyar con imprimir un telón de Mesoamérica Resiste para los procesos formativos del río Socuy se pueden poner en contacto con las abejas. 

Durante un par de horas relatamos las historias de los pueblos y seres de las montañas de Apalachia y su lucha en contra la minería de carbón y también la historia de los pueblos de Mesoamérica y la historia larga de la lucha y resistencia que inicio con la invasión de los Europeos y sigue hoy con los intereses neoliberales y extractivistas. Durante todo el tiempo de la presentación de los dos telones, se presentó con traducción consecutivo en wayuunaiki y lxs personas presentes usaban su lengua propia mientras que observaban, escuchaban, conversaban y reflexionaban.  Todo esto giraba en torno a la historia del pueblo Wayuu y el río Socuy, que se relató por medio de los telones; los Wayuu que migraron sur al norte de la Sierra de Perijá a raíz de la sequías en La Guajira, luego siendo desplazados por los proyectos mineros de las minas de carbón del Guasare y Paso del Diablo, las represas de Manuelote y Tulé y ahora nuevamente en pie de lucha en contra los intereses carboneros.

Después de 15 años resistiendo la expansión  de las minas de carbón de la Sierra de Perijá que implicaría el desvío del Río Socuy y construyendo las alternativas ecológicas y auto sostenibles, resistiendo los proyectos de la Iniciativa de Integración de Infraestructura Regional de Sudamérica (IIRSA) para exportar carbón por medio de la construcción de Puerto América en el territorio de Isla de Toas, Zapara y San Carlos y logrando que el Presidente Chávez en vida cambiara su posición y declarar que el carbón se quedaba debajo del suelo. Después tener que seguir resistiendo a las pretensiones del gobernador Chavista del Estado Zulia, Arias Cárdenas, de crear una planta de generación carbo-eléctrica en el Guasare.

Y ahora después de 15 años de resistencia el 10 de febrero el Presidente Nicolás Maduro firmó el Decreto 1.606 dando luz verde a la expansión de la minería de carbón. La amnesia cínica y selectiva de Maduro y Cárdenas pareciera subestiman  al pueblo creyéndolo sin memoria después de un fuerte movimiento de resistencia popular que logro que Chávez se retráctara y dijera –no al carbón- en el 2007, luego de que en el 2003 anunciara la triplicación de éste. Esta amnesia selectiva del actual gobierno piensa que el movimiento social no tiene comprensión crítica o urgente que el agua de la Sierra es vida para Maracaibo y toda la cuenca del Lago. Pretenden que las personas no vean la falacia en entregar el líquido vital para toda la vida de un territorio seco y árido y llamarlo progreso, desarrollo, hasta “revolución”. 

El Decreto 1.606 aprueba la exploración y explotación de24.192 hectáreas de carbón y otros minerales asociados con la producción de energía sobre los Montes de Oca (Sierra de Majayura) el norte lindero natural con Colombia hasta la margen norte del río Socuy. Si esto no fuera suficiente, la empresa transnacional China con quien es el convenio, Sinohydro, exige más carbón, presionando a los técnicos de PDVSA “incluir en un mismo Plan de Financiamiento el Proyecto de la Planta Termoeléctrica a Carbón y el Proyecto de Recuperación de las Minas de Carbón, esto con el fin de asegurar el suministro confiable de carbón a la planta” (Proyecto. Planta Termoeléctrica a Carbón). Esta política se concretiza en Carbozulia ahora bajo la presidencia del Coronel Carlos Antonio Cabré Córdoba.

En marco de los dos años desde el fallecimiento de Hugo Chávez Carbozulia realizó una actividad conmemorando su legado. Cabré “la mejor forma de preservar el legado que dejó el Comandante Chávez es cumplir con las exigencias  de este momento histórico, en ese sentido, con el apoyo del Gral. Erling Rojas Castillo, presidente de PDVSA Industrial y el compromiso de todos los trabajadores de Carbozulia recuperaremos la producción de carbón en el estado Zulia”. Bastante el descaro pagar homenaje a una persona, hablar de su legado e ir totalmente en contra sus palabras tan claras que él se quedaba con los ríos y los bosques y que ese carbón quedaba debajo del suelo.  

Todas estas rupturas con la posición final de Chávez sobre el carbón en la Sierra de Perijá  y los recientes atropellos de indígenas Ye´kwana y Sanema por parte de la fuerza pública en el Estado de Bolívar no deja bien parado el Estado Venezolano frente sus ciudadanos anti capitalistas, ecologistas e indígenas y mucho menos frente sus equivalentes internacionales en momentos tan difíciles donde hay intenciones de golpe de Estado en el país. Estos hechos solo confirman que el proceso Bolivariano en Venezuela ha continuado un proceso arrasador con la naturaleza y la ecología de los territorios que existe desde mucho antes que el chavismo llegara al poder. Se reconoce que adentro las filas del chavismo hay personas ecologistas que intentan exigir coherencia dentro del proceso del Estado sino esas personas son pocas y no han tenido mayor poder de decisión o influencia en las políticas del Estado, ni en los procesos pedagógicas populares de corregir esta mirada hacia la Tierra.

La eliminación del Ministerio del Poder Popular para el Ambiente por crear el Ministerio de Eco-socialismo por parte de Maduro y la creación de múltiples rutas y parques ecológicos en el Estado de Zulia (muchas que están bien concebidas y administradas pero otras en estados de abandono y otras que sus creaciones perpetuaron mayor daño ambiental) por parte de Cárdenas simplemente han servido como una fachada, un lavado verde. Igual que empresas como Pacific Rubiales, Endesa o Ecopetrol usan la práctica del lavado o brillo verde para aparentar que realmente están enfrentándose con los mayores contribuyentes a la contaminación de este planeta y aumento de cambio climático, también se reflejan en los planes de las estatales extractivistas que están dentro del gobierno que encabezan Maduro y Cárdenas.

Después del compartir de pensamientos que surgieron por medio de explorar Mesoamérica Resiste y el Verdadero Costo del Carbón se culminó con la última actividad de la noche, proyección de películas. Esa noche se mostró Abuela Grillo, un corto realizado por un estudiante de Mérida que se llama Wayuumaana  y el largo Macuro.  Las películas, el taller de los telones y el de tejido de sombrero nos contribuyeron a un día dinámica donde se trató el problema al igual de las soluciones a los desafíos ante el Río Socuy y toda la Cuenca del Lago de Maracaibo. 

La Organización Wayuu Maikiralasalii, los varios colectivos, movimientos y abejas nacionales e internacionales que defienden la lucha por la vida, el agua, la tierra y la vida están listos para otra batalla en contra los intereses extractivistas, arrasadoras de vida y territorio, así se disfracen de socialismo o sea el capitalismo.  Ya se han realizado las primeras movilizaciones de calle que dejan entrever el musculo del movimiento social luego de un proceso de socavamiento de su autonomía por influencias del chavismo. Lo aproximo es convocar a una asamblea popular el día 23 de marzo, frente a la gobernación del estado Zulia, para encarar al gobernador y preguntarle: ¿porque el gobierno se empeña en un modelo destructivo y no recibe con buena fe la propuesta de energías limpias que proponen los movimientos sociales?

Como la Guajira, la Sierra de Perija es una sola, la frontera no divide y el carbón, los bosques, los río, los animales, los Wayuu (y los Yukpa y Barí) son uno solo y lo que se hace de un lado de esta región nos afecta a todos tanto personas en los territorios hoy llamados Venezuela, como Colombia.

En todas las visitas que tenemos al río Socuy, siempre quedamos con ganas de quedarnos y de volver, alegres del compartir y retomar tejer y caminar con lxs compañeros del proceso del río. Siempre nos llena el ser de poder compartir con los habitantes no humanos del Socuy que se nos acercan sin miedo como la babilla, los loros, tucanes, guacamayas, serpientes, monos araguato y araña, pero esta vez tuvimos en el privilegio especial de una nutria joven que se acercó apenas a un metro de distancia explorándonos con la misma curiosidad que nos tomaba con alegría y emoción a tener un ser tan poderosa, bonita y especial como es un guardián del agua como es la nutria.   Con esta última visita contribuyendo en gran parte a una historia larga de visitas e intercambios especiales en el Socuy, esperamos con mucha anticipación de poder volver y con más tiempo y calma seguir tejiendo y creando nuevos procesos por la defensa de la vida, el agua y el territorio.  Si hay personas o entidades que quieren apoyar a nuestro trabajo con la Organización Wayuu Maikiralasalii, la lucha en contra la minería de carbón en la Sierra de Perijá o en pro del desarrollo de proyectos de reforestación agro-ecológico y Meliponicultura en el río Socuy se puede poner en contacto con

martes, marzo 03, 2015

Returning to Pollinate the Maracaibo Lake Basin

Photos by: Nicanor A. Cifuentes, the press team of the María Calcaño Public Library of the state of Zulia and Polinizaciones

After wrapping up a very active year of buzzing between Huila and Putumayo, we returned to the lands of the Guajira Peninsula and Maracaibo Lake to keep sharing and building relationships with our friends in these lands.

We reconnected with the process of Hierba Buena, a very beautiful, inspiring and coherent project. In the Municipality of Mara, we gathered with a group of about 20 people to participate in a workshop to make artisanal soaps, deodorants, and tooth powders. In the Venezuelan context, these workshops are extremely important for reflecting on and putting into practice how to begin to take steps to break away from dependence on oil and the culture of convenience that has plagued this country ever since the first oil well was opened up in the state of Zulia in 1914.

The products that they taught us how to make in this workshop are not only very important because they are homemade, made out of natural or recycled materials, and packaged in reused containers, but because given the problem of the scarcity of products in Venezuela, mostly because of hoarding, but also due to the lack of national production. It is a way for people to put "do it yourself" into practice and avoid the infamous long lines that last for hours and hours in front of  supermarkets and pharmacies just to get products like soap and deodorant.

Throughout the afternoon all of the participants took notes and also worked on making these products. The experience was lovely, simple, fun, and everyone took home body soap, laundry soap, tooth powder, and deodorant. These workshops are becoming more and more popular, and we invite anyone who is interested (in Venezuela or Colombia) to get in touch with the wonderful people at Hierba Buena to talk about the possibility of inviting them to do these workshops in other communities.

After the workshop we briefly shared the Mesoamérica Resiste graphics campaign, which gave a solid grounding on how these self-organized processes and homemade products are strategies of resistance in the face of the capitalist machinery that isolates people from the process of making the materials they use and need, and reducing them to consumers. 

During our time in the territory of Maracaibo Lake we also shared Mesoamérica Resiste in the María Calcaño Public Library of the state of Zulia. We did two activities at the library. The first day children colored a Mesoamérica Resiste poster while we talked with them about the themes in the graphic. This was a spontaneous methodology that kept the kids interested and participating, so they learned about the issues illustrated in the poster at the same time they were enjoying coloring.

The next day we did a presentation with high school youth and adults who listened attentively while we shared the stories that went into creating the graphics campaign, and they also contributed local stories. One of these stories was from a person who was part of an investigation years ago in the state of Amazonas where they broke up a mafia that was involved with gold mining, logging, and wild animal trafficking, and they talked about how many times the activities that destroy the earth and life happen in areas where impunity reigns.
During this visit there weren't as many opportunities to share the work of the Beehive as in past visits; after 7 years of visiting Zulia to cross-pollinate, on this visit it was really noticeable that community organization and social movements aren't as strong here as they used to be.
These days we see and feel that the situation in Venezuela is more complicated than ever and that many people have the attitude that either the State must fix things or there needs to be some kind of intervention from the outside. Not many people we talked with think that the most difficult situation in the country is "a crisis of values" and that it doesn't matter who is in the government, if the people themselves don't think critically and take control of their own lives and production and culture, things are not going to get better. We hope that the people who are fighters, autonomous, socially-minded and ethical in this sister territory of Colombia can follow the example of processes like Hierba Buena and the Wayuu organization Maikiraalasalii, to put in practice the idea that if you want to change your reality you have to start with changing yourself.
We will most likely return to Venezuela in the middle of the year, and we invite individuals, communities, and projects that are interested in sharing with the Beehive Collective and are able to organize workshops to be in touch with us so we can plan ahead. You can contact the bees at