Environmental Protests in the Northeast

A large rally against natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale (Northern Appalachia) drew celebrities like Josh Fox, maker of famous documentary, “Gasland,” as well as Gene Stilp’s 25-foot-high, inflatable pink pig. The rally took place in Pittsburgh, where activists have been tracked and followed by both the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, much to the chagrin of the Governor of Pennsylvania, who has called the harassment “embarrassing.”

Meanwhile, the coalition of human rights and environmentalist organizations, Trade Justice—NYC Metro, is hitting the streets this week with Wetlands Activism Collective/NYC Earth First! to protest several Latin American leaders who have signed Free Trade Agreements with the USA and corporations that have taken advantage of them, during a conference at the Americas Society and the Council of the Americas (AS/COA). Yesterday, activists protested Alan Garcia, President of Peru who has used the Peru Free Trade Agreement to accelerate the exploitation of the Earth by seizing lands belonging to indigenous peoples. When the indigenous tribes of Peru blockaded the Amazon to prevent illegal mining and deforestation on their lands, Garcia declared a State of Emergency and sent the army into the Amazon to massacre the protesters.
Today, three protests will occur back-to-back, ending with a 7:30pm protest against President of Colombia, Santos, who seeks to continue the neoliberal policies that have increased poverty, unemployment and social inequality in Colombia. Santos is in favor of free trade agreements with the US and EU that will hand over even more control to the multinationals. He welcomes US bases in Colombia. Prior to his election as president, Santos was Colombia’s Minister of Defense – at the height of the false positives scandal – in which thousands of Colombians have been executed by the armed forces and then dressed up in guerrilla fatigues to pretend they had fallen in combat. Human rights groups argue that Santos should stand trial at the International Criminal Court for this atrocity. Santos argues that the United States Colombian Free Trade Agreement will help defeat armed rebels and combat cocaine trafficking. In reality, the agreement will expand unsustainable monoculture industries in Colombia, displacing local farmers and forcing them to resort to illegal activity such as coca production, trafficking in cocaine and endangered species, and illegal logging. To combat an increase in illegal activity, the United States will expand its “War on Drugs” – particularly its toxic fumigation program.
Tomorrow, a protest against the President of the Dominican Republic and Barrick Gold Corp. will occur against the reopening a formerly state-owned mine in the central Dominican Republic. Barrick plans to spend about US$2.6 billion on the Pueblo Viejo mine in what will be the largest private investment in Dominican history Activists in the Dominican Republic are demanding the cancellation of the contract for gold extraction between the Dominican State and Canadian multinational Barrick Gold on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and damaging to the environment. Because of the US’s Central American—Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), Barrick, a Canadian company needs only to establish a US subsidiary in order to sue for unlimited sums to compensate for lost potential profits if the government of the Dominican Republic accedes to public pressure to cancel the project.

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