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The Latin American Conjuncture Report

11 November 2010

Photo credit: Mirada Global

The Conference of Jesuit Provincials of Latin America (CPAL) launched in 2008 the “Latin American Conjuncture Report” an initiative to take the pulse to the socio-economic situation in Latin America. This is a quarterly report elaborated by the Gumilla Centre of Venezuela on behalf of the CPAL.

The objectives defined for the CPAL for this report were:

  • To analyze the influence of the international context in the region
  • To follow up the integration process of the region
  • To describe, at sub-regional level, the general trends summarizing, country by country, the most important events that have taken place in the period under scrutiny.

The Report could also include an Annex; this will be an exclusive report on an issue of particular relevance. Up to now the fourth Annexes published have been: “Security Policies: Opportunity or threat to the region?”; “An approach to the western-Amazon”; “Challenged by the international migration in Latin America and the Caribbean”; and “Where does Honduras go?”

The institution appointed by the CPAL to be responsible for the Conjuncture Report is the Gumilla Centre that was founded in 1968 and it’s the Research and Social Action Centre (CIAS) of the Society of Jesus in Venezuela. It belongs to the network of Social Centres of the Society of Jesus in Latin America. The first report was released at the end of 2008, since then each quarter Gumilla Centre provides with an analysis of conjuncture of the Latin American region.

The “VIII Conjuncture Report” that comprises from July to September 2010 has just been released. On this occasion the report addresses three key issues: The September 30th crisis in Ecuador; the Indigenous people as “subject” in Latin America; and the elections in Brazil.

On September 30th President Rafael Correa was detained for several hours by members of the national police forces on strike demanding higher wages. Finally the Army imposed the order and more than fifty policemen were arrested. But the police riot was part of a deeper and more serious social unrest leaving open an ambience of threat over the regime of Mr. Correa.

The VIII Report also includes an analysis on the concept of the indigenous peoples as “subject” in the modern states in Latin America. The eleventh meeting of the Solidarity and Pastoral Care with Indigenous Peoples Network of the Society of Jesus in Latin America is the opportunity taken by the Report to collect data on the situation of indigenous peoples in the region. To be a real “subject” means that the indigenous people have been empowered to carry out by themselves their representation in the public sphere. But unfortunately there are many situations that step down this capacity to became a political and social “subject” As the Report states: “the threats that surround the sustainability of indigenous peoples on the continent, in most cases, go through political and economic projects that seek to divest them from their space, both their traditional spaces or there where they are now confined. The loss of land, groundwater, vegetal and animal resources, the presence of minerals and other resources in their land, end up threatening their culture and identity”.

And the Report adds: “There is also another series of actions that undermine the Indigenous territory, territory that is basic for their preservation as people. All over the continent there are being taken legal initiatives that threaten directly the right over the land and its resources by the indigenous peoples; there is a growing militarization of indigenous territories in order to increase the border control and the domain of the natural resources, this interferes the traditional commercial relationships of the indigenous peoples; another element is the introduction of money and economic exchange in such an accelerated way that pervert the relations of the indigenous settlements with the surrounding populations. Furthermore the accumulation in private or state hands of the land in order to reinforce the monoculture or the intensive farming, the bio fuel production, the generation and distribution of hydropower, the ecotourism, forced migration, and the lack of control over illegal mining and drugs traffic. All this shows up a map of risk very difficult to overcome by the indigenous peoples and States.

The last article of the Report is a comment on the presidential elections in Brazil: the possibility, now confirmed, of the election of Dilma Rousseff and the continuity of the Workers Party in power after the successful period of President Lula.

The Report offers in this VIII issue an Annex entitled: “Violence, drug traffic and security in Mexico: human rights perspective”. This matter is of the utmost importance at this moment when since 2006 more than 22.000 people has been killed because of crimes and violent actions linked to the drug traffic or its repression by police forces.

Centre Gumilla site: http://www.gumilla.org/

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