World Rainforest Movement

WRM Activities

Ricardo Carrere went to the state of Portuguesa in Venezuela following an invitation from AMIGRANSA and from Alfredo Torres, advisor to the Senate’s Environment Committee. The objective of the trip was two-fold: 1) To get in contact with local communities affected by large-scale plantations implemented by the Irish-based transnational Jefferson Smurfit to feed its pulpmill in Venezuela and 2) To share WRM’s findings on the reasons behind the spread of such plantations in the South, the impacts they are having and the struggles that are taking place against them. Part of the findings of the trip are registered in a short article published in this issue of the bulletin, while a more in-depth publication will be forthcoming shortly. Few days after the above travel to Venezuela, we received news about the detention of a local activist, apparently linked to WRM’s visit (see article on Smurfit). We immediately offered our support and disseminated information within Venezuela as widely as possible. Particularly important was that a local internet service (Venezuela’s Electronic News) carried the news. The person was finally released on bail.

– As a contribution to the workshop “Forests, Plantations and the Multilateral Development Banks” recently held in Montevideo (see article in this issue), Alvaro González –member of the WRM International Secretariat- made a presentation on the situation and trends of forests and tree plantations in Latin America. The presentation was focused on the direct and underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation, and examples were provided regarding some of the different types of forests existing in the region: the Amazonia in Brazil, Guyana and Suriname, the montain forests of Honduras, the temperate forests of southern Chile and the Argentinian yungas. A critical analysis of present trends related to the Clean Development Mechanisms (CDM) was also made. In relation to commercial plantations, it was pointed out that the region was undergoing an increase in the tree monoculture plantation area, under the general scheme applied worldwide, causing negative environmental and social impacts. The cases of Aracruz Celulose in Brasil, Smurfit in Venezuela and Forestal Arauco in Chile were shown as examples of this negative model. It was also stated that the risk exists that plantations will probably be promoted in the framework of the CDM.

– On December 1st, the WRM International Secretariat sent a fax to Dr. Jamil Mahuad, President of Ecuador, to express its concern over the declarations of the Ambassador of that country to the USA, according to which the Ecuadorian State should not take part in the trial against Texaco for the destruction the company provoked in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Environmentalist organizations demand that the trial takes place in the New York Court and that Texaco is obliged to pay for the environmental rehabilitation in the affected communities and territories.