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Declaration of the Network in Defense of Humanity: Save the Amazon! Save the Planet!

Originally published: Translated by Internationalist 360 (August 29, 2019)

Tomorrow will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago.

Fidel Castro Ruz
United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
Rio de Janeiro, 12 June 1992

The Network in Defense of Humanity joins the worldwide mobilization in protest against the ecological disaster caused by the fires in the Amazon and against the transnational corporations and politicians directly responsible for the catastrophe.

As Fidel said twenty-seven years ago, the human species “is at risk of disappearing because of the rapid and progressive liquidation of its natural conditions of life. And he added a categorical exhortation: “Cease selfishness, cease hegemonisms, cease insensibility, irresponsibility and deception”.

In the last few days, the extensive clouds of smoke over the Amazon constitute a grave alarm signal. However, it cannot be regarded as an isolated event. Its main cause is the capitalist system and its conception of infinite economic growth that gives priority to the production and reproduction of capital instead of the production and reproduction of life. What is happening today in the Amazon is also happening in vast areas in Africa and other regions of the planet.

Businessmen and neoliberal politicians, in their unbridled ambition in search of greater profits, do not heed the growing and disturbing warnings of the scientific institutions and the defenders of the Amazon, and they undertake and approve increasingly aggressive projects without taking into account the irreparable consequences of their actions. The expansive interests of the mining, oil, aquifer, and agribusiness transnationals have found an unconditional ally in Brazil’s current neo-fascist government.

Bolsonaro has been promoting the deforestation of the Amazon, the weakening of all control and oversight over companies, and the reduction of funds for the protection and conservation of the region. The persecution of indigenous and peasant leaders and communities who defend their rights and their territories has become a common practice. These peoples, with their ancient cultures, cosmovisions and knowledge, are the ones who have best defended -and in many cases have guaranteed it at the price of their lives- the conservation of this great region as the largest reservoir of biodiversity on the planet, whose loss or deterioration will imply irreversible damage to the already precarious health of ecosystems at a global level.

Faced with these facts, the Network in Defense of Humanity expresses its solidarity with all the native peoples of our Amazon, victims of the policies of dispossession and the most cruel violence of transnational capital, and denounces the attitude of the government of Jair Bolsonaro, which in addition to promoting ecocide, turns its back on its people, and only after twenty days of fires does it announce, to confront it through the militarization of the region, which could constitute a dangerous step to propitiate the control of a strategic geopolitical zone, through international tutelage and the direct intervention of the transnationals, shielded by an alleged philanthropy.

It is necessary to remember that the “help” of other nations of imperial bias in the face of similar disasters has historically been used as a pretext for intervention, destabilization and looting, in which the great powers have always had the most diverse tools of domination and, of course, the constant manipulation of public opinion. We must defend the principle that if there is a real will to help, it must be channelled through States and international bodies with full respect for sovereignty.

We denounce the false morals of the countries that have been most responsible for the ecological crisis at world level, (among them the members of the G7) and that today express their concern for the Amazon, ignoring any kind of connection between fires and capitalist developmentalism. It is the transnationals of these same countries that are spreading throughout the natural strongholds of the world in search of resources of every kind, land and energy sources. No apparent polemic affects the medullar link between a neoliberal and surrenderist government like Bolsonaro’s, the transnational powers and the great powers. We support, in contrast, the actions promoted by the government of the President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Evo Morales Ayma, who has demonstrated a spirit of unity in adversity, and true concern to confront the fire not only in his country, but also in the region, and we also applaud the call made by his government and that of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for regional actions to be taken to address the emergency quickly and effectively.

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