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The name in the passport of Kuna Mani indigenous says: Name: “Jorge Stanley”; nationality: Panamanian. However, his indigenous identity has nothing to do with those formalities. Together with tens of members of Latin American social movements, Jorge Stanley, aka Mani, has worked hard at the FAO spaces to ensure that the voices of his indigenous brothers and sisters are heard there.
As part of the recent meeting of the Provisional Coordination Committee of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty (the successor of the Committee for Food Sovereignty of Latin America and the Caribbean), Real World Radio interviewed Mani about the situation in Panama, the achievements of the social movements at the United Nations and the future of the Alliance.
The dialogue began with a memorial to historical Kuna leader, Nele Kantule (1868-1944), on the anniversary of his death. He was the leader of the rising against the Panamanian state that ended with the recognition of their autonomous territory.
The process for the construction of a common platform around Food Sovereignty in the region and the world has the important contribution of indigenous peoples, communities threatened in their territories and livelihood to the advance of mining, agribusiness and transnational corporations, said Mani.
He said the representatives of social movements before the FAO and before the Committee on World Food Security will promote awareness raising spaces in early 2013.
“We need to know the tools because they involve our right to food and to a dignifying life for our communities”, said Mani.
With over 20 direct US military interventions in Panama, the over a century occupation of the canal and 19 military bases still operating in the country under US control, the Panamanians have witnessed the constant influence of the US in their sovereignty.
“It has always been really hard to build a social movement that would not be under US control because of the importance of the Panama Canal for the US economy”, said Mani. He said that the indigenous movement leads the social mobilization because the indigenous territories are the booty that Ricardo Martinelli’s administration is offering. “For the indigenous peoples the richness in our territory ought to be honored”, he said.
He highlighted the mobilization of the Kuna people and of the Ngöbe Buglé indigenous, which have strongly resisted the exploitation of the Panamanian state.
The indigenous of Panama have avoided the division of their territories despite the existence of military bases in several areas, especially in the border with Colombia, which has constant presence of US troops. “They want to justify their presence by saying that the indigenous leaders are drug dealers. The actual ’threat’ the US is thinking about could be Venezuela or the Colombian guerrilla...They are involving us in something that could be a regional conflict when we are a peaceful nation that fights drug trafficking with our autonomy”.
Cuando promedia la Asamblea Continental de Movimientos Sociales hacia el ALBA que se realiza en la Escuela Nacional Florestan Fernández de Brasil (Sao Paulo), la comisión de comunicación de la articulación organizó una mesa redonda con cuatro de los expositores de las primeras jornadas donde se rescataron algunas de las particularidades de este espacio constitutivo dentro de la coyuntura del continente.
Esta edición del resumen semanal de Radio Mundo Real empieza en Guatemala, donde el genocida Efraín Ríos Montt fue condenado a 80 años de cárcel. Reflexionamos sobre esa decisión judicial, las décadas de guerra interna en el país, los gobiernos populares abatidos antes de la década del 60 y el peso de la reciente sentencia en la Guatemala actual, donde el gobierno del militar Otto Pérez Molina sigue persiguiendo y asesinando a integrantes de comunidades locales.