Hemispheric indigenous summit bashes bio-fuels

Representatives at the third Continental Summit of the Indigenous Peoples and Nationalities in Iximche, Guatemala, spoke out against US plans to use corn crops to produce fuel. “We have a long tradition as corn growers, and using corn to produce fuel will be like sacrilege, commercializing our heritage for the benefit of large transnationals,” said Cesar Tahu, a Quiche Maya leader. Juan Tiney, member of the Continental Summit Committee, emphasized the traditional place of corn as the staple food of Native Americans, protesting that “it will now be used to feed machines, for money and profits, destroying thousand-year-old cultures.” (Press TV, Iran, March 31)

Women at the summited drew up a Declaration of Iximche, calling for the eradication of machismo and gender discrimination. The Declaration, read to the plenary session by the Nicaraguan leader Ligia del Carmen Vanegas, demanded that governments fulfill international agreements to recognize and protect the rights of indigenous women. They also asked the governments to approve legislation against genocide from intra-family violence, sexual harassment, rape and murder of indigenous women. While the Declaration was being read, hundreds of women linked arms in the hall, and at the end shouted in unison “Power to Women!” (Prensa Latina, Cuba, March 31)

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