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Militarization in Latin America is usually linked to the provision of guarantees for the entrance of corporate actors into the region and has implied processes of community displacements against their ways of living and livelihoods. This phenomenon was analyzed by Nieves Capote, member of Otros Mundos Chiapas – Friends of the Earth Mexico, in an interview with Real World Radio.
The interview was held at the end of the meeting organized by Friends of the Earth in Paris, France, from May 26 to 28 to analyze the process of financialization of nature and the conflicts that emerged as a consequence of this new capital accumulation strategy.
Capote considers that “financialization cannot be separated from the entire capitalist system and its ways of domination. We understand the capitalist system as a system of domination that includes social, political, legal, cultural and ideological aspects, but also military aspects (…) in the case of financialization it is impossible to think this is done in a different way, where there are territories, populations or people who think differently or who oppose this type of financialization projects, the imposition is done through the military”.
In the case of Mexico, and as explained by Capote in case of the Meso American context, local armies and the police are trained to increase their influence over the territories, and the budgets for these institutions are increased, while the budgets allocated to education, health, etc, are reduced.
As a concrete example of militarization and financialization of nature, the Mexican activist made reference to the tri-national REDD project (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) under development in the Lancandona Forest, Montes Azules Reserve, with the participation of the US, Mexico and Brazil,. “This is a project granted to a minority group with a displacement policy against other groups that are on the territory (…), said Capote.
Directly linked to territorial militarization, the criminalization of nature defenders and those who oppose megaprojects is being promoted with different processes, said Capote: “There is a part of the criminalization that is related to things that don´t seem criminalization. For instance the reforms in Mexico, especially the energy reform that establishes that the projects deemed of interest for the country have more value than the presence in the territory of populations and their rights over their territories. This favors criminalization because it implies displacement processes and more often than not these are carried out with extreme violence”, said Nieves. “A week ago, the government of Chiapas State passed a law that criminalizes protests and authorizes the police to shot anyone who alters the public order”, said Nieves.
Finally, on the meeting by Friends of the Earth International to analyze the financialization of nature, Nieves concluded that “when there is a federation-level meeting where different countries participate, we face the issue of the different realities that come together with different views. These three days have implied an effort to understand these differences and identify our aspects in common. The crisis in Europe gives us the opportunity to find points in common, agreements and shared struggles”.
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