Sunday, March 3, 2013

Confederation of Bokota (Buglé) and Guaymí (Ngöbe)

Governmental Organization within the Republic of Panama:
Comarca Ngöbe-Buglé General Congress

Map showing the jurisdiction of the "Comarca Ngöbe-Buglé" from []

Map showing the jurisdiction of the "Comarca Ngöbe-Buglé" from [á_Ngobe-Bugle_comarca.svg]

Map showing the jurisdiction of the "Comarca Ngöbe-Buglé" from []

Map showing the jurisdiction of the "Comarca Ngöbe-Buglé" from []

We are writing to you as members of a Human Rights Delegation which has just returned from Panama.  This Delegation was co-sponsored by the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FORUSA) and the Marin Interfaith Taskforce on Central America.  Its purpose in Panama was to initiate fact-finding regarding alleged human rights violations by the Panamanian Government and its police/security forces involving indigenous peoples in Panama.  We met with representatives of the Kuna Yala and the  Ngäbe Buglé indigenous peoples and we interviewed the US Ambassador.
Since our return from Panama, an on-going conflict between the  Ngäbe Buglé people and the government of Panama has heated up over the construction of the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project.  Riot police have begun confronting the  Ngäbe Buglé protesters and several  Ngäbes have been arrested.  Our daughter, Diane led the delegation and is responsible for the video and petition.
PLEASE take this opportunity to show your concern and support by signing the petition and viewing the video. 
"Ngäbe-Bugle Request Solidarity to Halt Barro Blanco Hydroelectric Project, Panamá"  []:
The Ngäbe-Bugle people ask the international community to demand:
1. Immediate withdrawal of the concession for Barro Blanco.
2. Urgent request for UN Special Rapporteur James Anaya to visit the affected communities.
3. Suspension from the UN carbon offsetting scheme.
4. Call on banks and companies to immediately halt their support and funding of Barro Blanco.
Barro Blanco is a 28.84 MW hydroelectric project on the river Tabasara. The project is being financed by European Banks from Germany (DEG) and the Netherlands (FMO) and Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CBIE).
 Barro Blanco was approved under the UN's carbon offsetting scheme in June 2011 despite concerns about accuracy of the Environmental Impact Assessment and local stakeholder requirements.
 The Barro Blanco dam will flood the villages of the Ngäbe Buglé people as well as the peasant campesino population, who also inhabit the banks of the Tabasará River.
 The Barro Blanco project will also devastate and flood about 50 square kilometers of primary and secondary forests along the banks of the Tabasará river which harbor highly endangered amphibians such as the Tabasará rain frog as it is called which is the rare “blue morph” frog.
 Please help protect the Tabasará River and the livelihood of the Ngäbe-Bugle people in Panamá.

2012-02-03 "Panamanian Gov't Reaffirms Stance on Mining"
Panama, Feb 3 (Prensa Latina) The Panamanian government on Friday reiterated on national radio and television its defense of the 415 mining law debated by the National Assembly and rejected by the Ngobe-Bugle indigenous people, and its commitment to the February 2011 agreements.
  Interior Minister Ricardo Fabregas, along with other ministers, listed the eight agreements signed on February 27, 2011, to end a wave of roadblocks similar to those taking place in San Felix and other points of the Pan-American highway.
 Fabregas said those accords have been complied with and that the Assembly approved a special draft bill that comprises them, including the prohibition on exploration and exploitation, and the protection of mining resources in the region.
 The indigenous coordinating committee insists on approving an article that, in addition to the restriction of mining activities, prohibits the exploitation of hydraulic resources, which forces to pay a high cost in power due to high oil prices, an argument rejected by the Ngobe-Bugle indigenous people, he noted.
 Fabregas stated that the article goes beyond agreement two, because it not only prohibits mining exploitation, but also the possibility of developing hydroelectric potential, which would violate the accord.

2012-02-02 "Panama Indians Raise War Cry on Mining" by Tom McGregor
Indians in Panama are painting their faces with war paint and prepared to scalp miners. They have already been blocking roads in two provinces on the Costa Rican border in a dispute over so-called mineral exploitation on their primitive lands.
According to the Houston Chronicle, “protestors from the Ngobe-Bugle tribe have been manning roadblocks of stones and branches set up Monday in Bocas del Toro and Chiriqui in Western Panama. They have also closed sections of road in Varaguas province.”
A tribal chief informed the Associated Press on Thursday that the demonstrators refuse to negotiate directly with the government, but insist on negotiations with the Legislative Assembly of the Central American nation. The assembly has taken the first step steps toward lifting a mining moratorium in the area where many of the members of the tribe domesticate.

2012-01-30 "Panamanian Indigenous People Protest Anti-Mining Law"
Panama, Jan 30 (Prensa Latina) Panamanian indigenous people on Monday will march against a draft mining bill the National Assembly is discussing, from which an article prohibits the exploration and exploitation of minerals in the region of Ngobe Bugle.
  Alberto Montezuma, member of the Coordinating Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Ngobe Bugle People, leads the rally along with other indigenous leaders, in the community of San Felix, Chiriqui, stage of previous protests.
 The indigenous leader said the protests began on Sunday with mobilizations from the Ngobe Bugle mountain range of hundreds of compatriots. They are opposed to the exclusion from the new bill of an article that annuls concessions granted by previous government.
 In Changuinola, in Bocas del Toro province, at least 300 indigenous people from different sectors of the province on Sunday closed the road from Almirante to Changuinola, through the community of Tibite, and announced they will do it again today.
 The bill, including nine articles, was approved after many months of meetings with the indigenous people. They do not understand the reason why the article that protects the community, located in the western region of Panama, was eliminated.

2010-10-17 "Ngöbe Bugle Shire is Biofortified"
The Ngöbe Bugle Shire is now producing biofortified rice, maize, beans and squash thanks to the tests and research of Panama´s Agricultural Institute and the Ngöbe Bugle Project.
The agricultural bio-fortification program collects and classifies seeds and plant material of Creole origin.  Then, these organic materials are sanitized and acclimated in the biotechnology laboratory before being delivered to area farmers.
Even though researchers knew soil fertility conditions were not  ideal for agricultural development from the get-go, they  plan to establish new products in the Shire like potatoes, cocoa, dye-producing plants and bananas, as well Creole cattle, egg-laying hens and broilers, sheep and goats.
The Ngöbe Bugle are one of Panama’s seven remaining indigenous tribes.

2010-04-10 "Ngöbe Bugle Shire Will Defend Cerro Colorado Mountain"
Alberto Montezuma, Chief of the Ngöbe Bugle General Congress, has called an extraordinary meeting to oppose President Martinelli offering Cerro Colorado to the South Koreans.
“I have called all of the representatives of our congress’s three regions to let our opposition and the steps we will take be known,” said Montezuma, adding that Martinelli can not give away Cerro Colorado to foreign mining interest knowing that the mountain is part of indigenous lands.
Reactivation of the Cerro Colorado mine would produce more than 600 million tons of copper per year, ranking Panama sixth in World copper production behind Chile, the United States, Peru, China and Russia, La Prensa Reports.
In the year 1418 in Shire Reckoning, J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-Earth was first visited by the Nine Ringwraiths and then captured by Saruman through his underling Lotho Sackville-Baggins, who turned the Shire into a police state and began a massive industrialization campaign which brought widespread misery and severe ecological damage.
Ngöbe Bugle Opposition PHOTO LA PRENSA/E.E. Espinosa

2010-03-26 "Will Change Law to Give Koreans Copper Mountain"
President Martinelli said he will change Panama’s mining legislation to bring in South Korean capital and exploit Panama’s natural resources, La Prensa reports.
“With pleasure we will change the law,” Martinelli said at a business forum on Wednesday. “I want the Korean government, together with the Canadians, North Americans and the stock market, to develop this mine.”
Korean LS-Nikko Copper and Korea Resources Corp. have expressed interest in exploiting the copper deposits in Panama, the Korean Embassy in Panama confirmed.
South Korea, the world’s sixth-largest copper consumer, has been seeking to boost its reserves in such minerals as copper, iron ore, coking coal and uranium as it depends heavily on imports to power Asia’s fourth-largest economy, Reuters reported.
The mine is Cerro Colorado, located within the comarca and home of the Ngöbé Bugle indigenous tribe.  Panama’s Code of Mineral Resources prohibits that a government or foreign entity obtains a concession.
“He is selling our country to the highest bidder to the detriment of our natural capital,” said Alida Spadafora, Director of the Nature Conservation Association ANCON.

2008-01-06 "Ngobe, environmentalist protests against Bocas dams"
Indigenous protesters and some environmentalist supporters have been conducting a series of road and bridge blockade protests against the construction of hydroelectric dams on the Changuinola River and its tributaries by the multinational AES power company. On January 3 riot police moved in to arrest about 50 Ngobe protesters from the community of Charco La Pava, who had erected roadblocks to keep company trucks and equipment out and there were complaints from the protesters about uncalled-for brutality and women being strip-searched. The local corregidor freed those arrested the next day. Charco La Pava, a village of about 150 residents, is scheduled to disappear under the reservoir and the government and company said that the residents had been given new homes in compensation. However, at Charco La Pava they had lived long enough to own title by squatters' rights as individuals or families and claim indigenous collective property rights in the area. The houses they were offered in compensation was without title or even documentation giving them right of possession. Spokespeople for the Torrijos administration and AES said that's all the compensation they're going to get and sent in the cops. On January 9 about 180 environmentalist and Ngobe protesters blocked a bridge along the road between David and Chiriqui Grande in solidarity with the people of Charco La Pava, but were driven away by riot police after about an hour and one-half.
Some 1,500 protesters, most of them from the Ngobe-Bugle Comarca, marched through Santiago on January 8 to protest against hydroelectric dam projects which they claim are not only flooding homes and farms for which proper compensation is not being paid but also are depriving communities of their historic water supplies. Photo by FOCIV

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