Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 6: Walking the word - decolonising solidarity

It is the end of the beginning. The last day of an exhausting but amazing week of mobilisations. The closing act of the Peoples Pre-congress takes place in the central park in Cali, after another two hour march. An afro-colombia leader from Choco is given a special place in the closure to make visible the presence of afro-colombian communities in the Minga. Choco is the poorest region in Colombia.
"The only way to travel in Choco easily is by plane and we all know who planes are for. We travelled on foot, in canoes and in buses for several days, sleeping in difficult conditions and going without food to get here, to participate in Minga".

He tells us how the population of Quibdo, the main town in the region, has doubled from 40,000 to 80,000. Choqueños, mainly afrodescendents, have been forced to abandon their territories due to the violent imposition of megaprojects such as mining and palm oil .

"We know that alone we are not able to change things, we need to unite with indigenous, with campesinos, because in the end we are all living with the same difficulties and problems. This is why seven hundred of us have made the huge effort to be here in the Peoples Pre-congress".
Tears trickle out of me as I make links between this declaration of the Peoples Pre-congress and a difficult conversation I had last night.

Last night a friend challenges me to reflect on something I did. He challenged me to look at how I controlled the way in which we discusses a difficult conversation, racism within the Minga. With the bitter taste of irony in my mouth, I, with my full set of colonial priviliges, british, privilige to move wherever I want in the world, white, privilige to walk down the street and for people not to think I am going to mug them, set the terms for how we discussed racism that suited my needs, and not his. As we talk, his anger manifests itself as he goes over and over the two words he has written on a scrap of paper, ego britanico.

I have seen this before many times. The arrogance and preponencia of british people to have their own way, the result of being from a country that has repeatedly colonised and dispossed other peoples throughout history to get its own way”.

His words challenge rather than shock or suprise me. I am grateful to this rare person who critiqued me to my face. I wonder how many people I meet share similar criticisms about my way of doing things but do not tell me. I wonder what this says about ongoing patterns of colonial power within my everyday relationships here. I breathe deeply as I look at my challenge of how to achieve the balance between being myself and being conscious and accountable to how my self has been shaped by my cultural-political-historical context.

Back in the park, we listen to a song by Mercedes Sosa, recently passed away, as the Peoples Precongress in Cali draws to a close in Cali's central park. The thousands of participants stand intently, some listening, some quietly singing alone. The compañeros who sings it, dedicates it to those compañeros no longer with us, including Mateo. As I listen to the beautiful melody, I imagine what he could have taught me. Mateo, a Swiss revolutionary, worked for ten years as part of the Red de Hermandad. He was killed last December in a road accident. Incredibly missed and rememberd within the social movements in Cauca and Valle I wish I had the opportunity to know how he worked to de-colonise himself.
After the song, two compañeros read the final declaration.

"Minga is a collective expression that revives hope, that strengthens resistance and walks the word in defence of dignity and in commitment to collective life. We are conscious of how the neoliberal strategy is strengthened in our territories through the handing over resources and selling of mother earth to international capital, thorugh the recomposition of of corruption and the legalising of crimes against Colombia´s sovereigny, and through impunity and the militrisation of civilian life."

I seek a place to be alone with my emotions of rage and sadness. The weight of being British, of having benefited from so much violence, of being surrounded in the park by so many people who suffer from this violence, overwhelms me. The weight of knowing that the British ego is alive and kicking and that it continues to play a crucial role within the UK in the justification of the violent looting of other peoples natural resources is overwhelming.

I feel a hand on my shoulder and look up to see the caring eyes of an indigenous leader who I have shared words with during the week. He has 5 bullet wounds from attempted assassination attempts and had his farm burnt down. He is now displaced, living between cities. During this week, he was always accompanied by four indigenous guards. He tells me that when he goes back to his community, it is obligatory for him that he travels with thirty indigenous guard, armed with just their bastions of resistance. He listens to my emotions, as the words of the final declaration sound in the background.

"Mingueros and Mingueras, we have gathered in this spaces filled with dreams and ideals and we leave with thoughts on how to legalise with significant popular legitimacy, with proposals on the path to peace, whose route is the word that overflows with solidarity, generosity and resistence."

My solidarity must begin and end with me, a white british folk, learning to notice my colonial mentalities and then taking responsibility for them.

For more thoughs about this work of decolonising solidarity visit, the blog a beautiful wise friend.

To read the full closing declaration and the notes from the 5 tulpas that discussed the five points of the Agenda of the Minga check out this blog (in spanish only)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 4: Our Dignified Rage Walks the Word

This is a translation of a newsletter being written by a communication collective in Cali during the mobilisations.

Opening of the Peoples Pre-congress

With the arrival of the last marches and delegations that are part of the Minga of Social and Community Resistance in the Southwest of Colombia as night came, the peoples pre-congress was opened. Thousands of people filled the area in front of the state and the passionate emotive hymn of the Indigenous Guard opened the evening’s activities. The verses of the national anthem were not sufficient to welcome the diversity of the participants and the crowd was quiet with the sound of whispered conversations.

One after another, voices of those who have been in the process of building the Minga and who, tired and angry, expressed and conveyed the dignity of the peoples who are tired of paying the consequences of the current political and economic model. The voices told us of their realities: the impact of the multinationals on their communities and regions, the game that the powerful play with the destiny of the communities, the permanent human rights violations, the impossibility to decide how their economical, environmental and cultural resources will be used, and the militarization in rural and urban areas…… the angry dignity created by these problems exploded in words through different expressions from the heart of the Mingueros. But the voices also told us about their processes, about the steps that they have taken to build another country “where we all fit”, and about the hope and strength of the peoples. After this collective recognition, of knowing who we are and where we come from, the party began with happiness and fraternity.

Organising the path

All the mingueros met in the afternoon in themed working groups to decide on the methodology that they will use in the working groups and the discussions in The Peoples Pre-congress in Cali; also they shared and defined the subthemes that arise from the 5 point agenda that has been created nationally in the Minga de Pensamiento and that will be crucial in organizing and advancing in the construction of some proposals and paths to keep walking the work towards The Peoples Congress. In the Sovereignty, Land and Territory working group, people spoke about: comprehensive agrarian reform, legalization and reclaiming land, privatization, megaprojects, environmental sovereignty and food sovereignty. In the War and Human Rights working groups they looked at how to build a Peace Agenda that looks at the political and social roots of the conflict and how to propose a political solution based on these roots, as well as demanding from the state the guarantee and application of all human rights.

Public Statement

The organizations who are participating in the Minga of Social and Community Resistance denounce to the national and international public opinion and to Colombian social and human rights organizations the attacks to which Mingueros in the department of Cauca have been subjected to. Today in the city of Popayan various people have been detained by the police. They are Omaira A Piamba from the Comitte for the Integration of Mestizo Colombia, ALEX LOPEZ a motorcycle taxi driver and Julio Quiñones who is involved in housing struggles in Popayán.
It is important to note that the people detained by the police were participating at the time in one of many peaceful activities that are happening in different cities in the country as part of the Minga of Social and Community Resistance.

Again the armed forces are brutally attacking the popular and social movement that has taken to the streets to make proposals and work for a better country for everybody.

We demand the immediate freedom of the compañeros detained in Popayan and that the fundamental right to participate in peaceful protest is respected.

We Have Grown

The heavy rains that arrived in the afternoon also brought the force of the campesino, afrodescendents and other social sectors to the Peoples Coliseum. Their arrival was emotional for all as they were greeted with enthusiastic clapping and happy cheering from those who had already arrived. These Mingueros have been walking from different parts of the country for more than a week; Chocó, the North and Central area Valle, Tolima and the coffee región. They entered the coliseum with rallying cries against the multinationals that invade their territories, against the government that persecutes, marginalices and assassinates them and about all shouting with happiness for the opportunities for creation of new possibilities through exchanges with others who are socially conscious with the hope of moving towards a popular uprising and the construction of a new Colombian, dreamed by many.

The Minga continues to nourish itself with people from different places, marchers from Popayán and Antioquia who arrived to join in the process of the Pre-Congress. We are many who are preparing for the congress in July 2010. We are not everyone. We hope to wake more consciousnesses, hearts, and wisdom to keep weaving the Minga of Social and Community Resistance.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 3: Building Popular Power in Minga

It is nearly 9pm on Tuesday night in the grounds of the Coliseo in the city of Cali. People have rested after the 3 day of walking 15km and young indigeneous are now dancing in large circles in front of the stage. The music fades and Feliciano Valencia, spokesperson for La Minga speaks to the thousands that have gathered to listen to the proposals for tomorrows activities;
  • delegations to visit 5 places in the city to talk about what is Minga and to invite community organisations to walk the word

  • a caravan in the 40 chivas through the streets of Cali to make the Minga visible,

  • join teachers who are marching against labour conditions and have invited us to join.

  • begin thinking collectively about what the Congress of the People, planned for July 2010, actually is with important questions for consideration such as how are we going to legislate and what are the mechanisms and strategies we need so that the peoples laws are put into practice?

With the sheer quanity of people I have been curious to watch how decisions are made at this scale, how different forms of power are working and and how popular power is being built. What I watched was these proposals being created through a serious of meetings. Firstly the political commision of the Minga, which includes representatives of each social organisation involved in the Minga, met and came up with a proposal with Feliciano playing the role of listening, gathering all the opinions and presenting a synthesized proposal. This was then discussed and adapted by some 40 governers of the different Indigenous reservations. This was then presented to everyone. During the night, each community will have discussed it and as I write, another meeting is taking place to finalise the plans for today.

The sheer presence of indigenous from Cauca, through their impressive organisational capacity, is a challenge to the proposal of Minga to be inclusive to all. Yesterday, there was some serious errors such as the idea to start the pre-congress before the second smaller march arrives , yet once this was flagged up the idea was inmediately dropped. There is much to be learnt, and to get wrong and do better the next time, in terms of thinking about how to make proposals that are not based in sectorial thinking, but thinking of all.

Much has already been learnt. The 5 point agenda includes indigenous based proposals around territory and cultural, while also going much beyond and is incredibly inclusive. And as a friend says over a beer last night, "i think there is a distortion of the reality abroad of Colombia. They either thing that all resistence follows the same logic as the insurgency or that the problems in Colombia are all about defending the profits from the drug-trafficing trade. Here, what I think is important to say to people in your country is that we are here saying clearly there is another reality in which many Colombians are living and from this harsh violent reality, we are building a resistance based in the grassroots, and it is a resistance that is building serious proposals collectively to create another country. And the government are worried, the moment the indigenous invited other social organisations to recognise the commonality, they see a threat to their dictatureship"

In Popayan, two hours further south, mainly campesinos organisations held a campesino and popular assembly on Monday in preparation for the precongress in Cali. They declare " In our territories, we, communities and organisations will not allows policies and laws to be applied that are harmful to us, that have not consulted with us, that do not take into account the wellbeing of all and that are not participatory, coordinated or integral. Handing over territory to private hands will not be accepted and we will assert our rights to sovereignty, autonomy and independence to maintain the integrity of our lands."
And in the north of the country, social organisacions write "With happiness and vitality typical of the communities, but also with the hope to change the hard conditions that characterise their lives, the habitants of the Sur de Bolivar and the south of Cesar are "navegating the word" down the river Magdalena towards Cartagena.

"The message that we want to spread nationally and internationally is clear, free mother earth and our territories from the proposals, policies and projects of death with proposals where life and happiness, are the foundations of the people as they build with dignity a free and self-determined future, it is the voice of the people in a country where death took control of the Great River Magdalena and the oblivion tried to occupy all the territory, leaving hope with none.

We are a people who have declared our resistance, faced with a violent and injust state, that acts through the dispossesion of land, natural resources, memoria and identity. Faced with this tough situation, the proposals of life of the communities are representes in the sound of the drums, the flute, the accordion, the bagpipes, and the maracas . This is the sound of the resistance which does not permit us to forget our numerous leaders who have been disappeared and murdered, such as Alejandro Uribe, Edgar Martínez and Edgar Quiroga; it is the rhythm through which victims of state crime, students, women, indigenous, workers miners, afro-colombians, small scale farmers, unions and many more Colombians continue to meet and see their own struggles in the struggle of their brothers and sisters. The proposal of the Minga of Social and COmmunity resistance is needed by all of us. "

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 2: Walking the Word in Cauca

The temporary camp awakes before dawn, its numbers swelled by the constante stream of civas that through the night, piled high with people, food and firewood. As day comes, the huge black tarpaulins that were strung up during last nights rain to create sleeping shelters for entire communities are already being folded up. The level of organisation is phenomenal. A camp for with 20000 people has breakfasted, showered, packed away and ready to march again in just three hours.

As we prepare to leave, a group of 100 Indígeneous Guard go running past, evenly spaced out, young and old, men and women, each with their bastion adornded with red and green ribbons, the red blood of the earth and the green of nature.

I walk a while chatting with a young guardia. “I joined two years ago, in my community of 500 people, 45 are in the guardia. When the pólice or army come into our resguardias, we get together to go and find them and remind them of the indigenous laws that does not allow the armed forces in our communities. We tell them to leave".

After the husband of Aida Quilcué, Chief Councillour of the CRIC, the Regional Indigenous Council and a spokesperson for the Minga , was killed in an army ambush in December 2008, the quick arrival and response of the Indigenous Guard preventing evidence being destroyed.

The Guardia Indigena today are coordinating the safety of the marchers. Unfortunately a guardia bastion, symbol of indigenous resistance, trips over a young guardia and she crashes to the floor. We rush over but she gets up quickly, and without hesitation, continues, now hobbling, in her part of a human chain that goes from the head to the tail of the march, walking the line in the middle of the road to protect us from traffic.

We march squeezed in on one side by container lorries on route to Buenaventura port and on the other by sugar cane as far as the eye can see. The symbolism is intense. From this enclosing on all sides by an imposed economic development model has arisen the 5 point agenda of the Minga. Economic models that use violence to squeeze communities until they must displace because they have nowhere left to live. Broken agreements with the government that means social movements must look for other solutions, no longer believing that the Colombian state will ever act in benefit of the poor.

The march is tiring, our feet ache, stomachs empty, a temporary physical discomfort yet this reflects daily reality for the majority in Colombia. Yet the march is inspiring and exciting as we all know that in many other places in the country people are also walking the word in the streets this week, joining the dots.

Campesinos from Choco are walking to Cali via Pereida talking about displacement about palm.

Small scale miners are heading to Cartagena down the River Magdalena taking about defense of the territory from multinationals that want to get control of the gold there.

Communities in Tolima against a huge open cast gold mine are talking about how this will destroy their livelihoods.

Communities along the river Sogamoso are in Minga, talking about the mega-dam that will destroy their communities.

Cartagena are in Minga, marching against hunger and will meet with those on route down the rvier Magdalena to build a common agenda.
And all are talking about the Agenda of the Peoples. How do we continue to work together to recognise what our different struggles have in common and create a different country. The conversations at the Pre-congresses on Wednesday and Thursday are going to be an important step in these conversations. Many social organisations still believe that the Minga is indigenous Feliciano Valencia, councillor of the CRIC says "we have to go beyond these particular identities that make each of us fight in our corner. I´m indigenous but an indigenous struggle is not going to change this country. This is a fight between the rich and the poor. And one day, we will win."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 1: Walking the Word in Cauca

A flash of fork lightning cuts throught the dark brooding sky, as two thousand indigenous march with an spirit of confidence and dignity towards us. The red and green colours of CRIC, the Indigenous Council of Cauca, are held high on flags and low, tied around the neck. Daisy Juliana, part of the CRIC and with whom I shared a smile on the bus on the way to meet this first group of marching Mingueros, waits excitedly with us despite the thirty or so armed police near by.

In the 10 minutes that we waited by the side of the rural road, we had spotted one unmarked 4x4 parked up and a police man talking with civilians inside, two men on a motorbike that drove past three times, a private security guard alone on a bridge, an unmarked 4x4 parked on the hard shoulder and a police van that stopped. The presence of suspected paramilitaries is worrying yet all too normal in Colombia. Here paramilitaries groups, whose insitutional links with the Colombian state have been well documented, have used violence and the fear of violence to attack and destroy movements, such as the Minga of Social and Community Resistance, that want to create alternatives to the imposed Western economic “development” model.

As we are “walking the word” Daisy comes and finds me . “It is mainly young people here today, some elders will arrive tomorrow, but us young people are really motivated. We want to change things, we teach the kids, we still have hope that our future can be better” She greets a young lad who is hobbling “He always marches, him and his group from his village, their village is near mine, about 7 hours walk from here.” She pauses from talking to me to shout with others

“No to Uribes policy of democratic security....... No to multinationals in our lands taking our natural resources...... No to foreign military bases in Colombia”

The Minga was a proposal by the indigenous to other social sectors, to organise and come together around a common political agenda. The first steps have been taken with a year of hard work among campesinos, indigenous, students and community groups to dialogue around their individual issues, figure out what they have in common and work together to achieve changes that benefit all.

In the UK it would be like farmers and students coming together to talk about, for example, what privatisation of education and control of food prices by large supermarkets have in common, and from these commonalities coming up with political proposals and plans of action together to confront both. Like this, only with more social sectors involved and not just a vague distant dream of mine.

As we enter Villarica, people coming out of their houses to watch. The response by the mainly afrocolombian community varies from watching quitely from afar to clapping and cheering loudly to welcome the march. I assume most of the men are sugar cane cutters, as the village is in the green desert of Valle de Cauca. This work has been described as modern day slavery. There has been dialogue between the Minga and those sugar cane cutters well organised but they have not felt that they share a common agenda. It is tough work in tough conditions, but the spirit of Minga is to do this tough work. The idea is not to arrive with the solutions but through hard work to build them together. This week The Peoples Pre-Congress will take place in Cali, Cartagena and Bogota to continue doing this work, together.

It is a long ardous path ahead, to build a political proposal for the country that goes beyond regional and sectorial needs, to build a proposal that speaks to all Colombians. But at least they are on it. It is a path which we scarely know we need to walk in my homeland. A big sigh.

Thank you to the lovely family that thought nothing of letting me use a bedroom to write this article. Sharing and solidarity are so precious, beautiful and vital to resistance, to live with dignity.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Not the Climate for just Climate Justice Mobilisations in Colombia

A sunny morning in Colombia in 2009 in a well posh conference hall in Bogóta, Colombian flag behind the podium and no coffee allowed in the room cos it might spoil the wooden floor. Presentations began. M, from COSPACC , nervously took to the stage to share his tales of the impacts of BP in Casanare with other campesinos and indigenous from around the country. The occasion is an event to spark dialogue about if climate justice should be included in the agendas of the social organisations and if so, how?

Christian Aid initiated and funded the event as the political agenda of Christian Aid in the UK says to CA here that we want you to be working on climate justice as this is what our members and funders want us to be supporting. And so colonial power relationships continues to exist in Colombia.

Do the grassroots organizations already have this agenda or do they, while recognising that the debate is being pushed from outside, see the necessity to include climate justice in their agendas?

Climate Justice is barely visible on the mobilisation agendas of the social movements. It isn’t surprising. 381,000 people were displaced in 2008 alone, both the aim and the result of violence in areas rich in fuentes de vida, (sources of life). 1,177 members of the armed forces are currently under investigation linked with cases of extrajudicial killings, 

What does to mobilise mean, I am asked. Good question, in the UK to protest is culturally understood, but do we understand mobilise differently? Here's my take on it. To mobilise around climate change means to work over time with people to critically understand how the causes and impacts of climate change affect our lives, and from this, create proposals for how we might change this, and then to create space in society for these proposals to be heard and discussed, through workshops, assemblies, marches, occupations,......  

Unfortunately, here there is a wealth of options of what to mobilize around: water, energy, displacement, hunger, militrisation, war, education, housing…….. I feel that among social organisations there is a shared view that mobilising around climate change would not be effective as the impacts in communities can feel less severe and less urgent than the immediate pressures of daily life in a country at war against its own people.

Yet to take action against climate change, do we have to mobilise around climate change?

The Asociación de Cabildos Gernaro Sanchez spoke about how as their glaciers disappear , those who control the glacier streams have the power to decide who gets the water. If the water sources moves to private hands, those who can pay will get the scarcer water. If in the hands of an organised community, all will get an equal share. How are struggles against water privatization a struggle for climate justice?

The Comité Prodefensa de Taganga spoke about how as sea levels rise and warming sea temperatures threatens fish populations, the fisherman in the pretty seaside village of Tagana, organise against intensive tourism which threatens to further damage the fragile ecosystem and thus their livelihoods.

As BP, Repsol, Oxy continue to export Colombian oil to the global North, the community of Sogamoso in Santander fight against a mega-dam that will not only force 900 campesinos to leave their farms, but also threatens food sovereignty as will affect the fish population, the staple protein in the region. Struggles for the right to territory and food sovereignty are struggles for climate justice,

Listening to the presentations, I saw a pattern of how direct impacts of climate change are exacerbating already ridiculously tough living conditions. A clear consensus at the event was that both are caused by an imposed model of development that communities have been struggling against for five hundred years in defense of life, land and sovereignty.

While European organisations goes crazy with the sense that Copenhagen is the last chance to save the world, Beru, an U´Wa Indigenous from Arauca calmly says “Copenhagen is not really important to us, we feel no urgency nor sense that this is the last chance, we have been living on the brink of genocide for 500 years, due to colonization that continues today.” Quite. Quite a different perspective than that of us panicking Europeans. And his sentiment was echoed around the room.

The whole history of Grassroots social organisations could be framed as taking action against climate change, if we understand the root causes of human caused climate change as capitalism that imposes itself through violence. 

The Minga for Community and Social Resistance, a broad base coalition of campesinos, indigenous, workers and students that has collectively created a five point proposal for which they are trying to bring together different needs of different movements. El pueblo unido jamas será vencido rings through me. Economic model, defense of life, failed agreements, sovereignty, land and territory, and lastly, the peoples agenda. 

I am excited by the potential for convergence, connections and solidarity between the global North movement against climate justice and the Minga. For me, it is clear that the Minga is mobilizing for climate justice yet within much more. And by being based in much more, there is much more potential to connect to the difficulties that people face in their daily lives

The Climate Justice Action network formed to coordinate action around Copenhagen has in its aims that it wants to amplify the voices of indigenous and people affected by climate change in the Global South. Those involved should listen hard and act in solidarity in these next few weeks, as the Minga mobilisations hits the streets.

One of the aim of Climate Camps is movement building. That should not be be limited to bringing more people in to act on climate change but rather expanding our understanding of what action on climate change means and linking across to other social grassroots movements. 

Friday, October 2, 2009

biofuels and begging

Here is a letter I have just wrote to Bristol City Council opposing a proposed biofuel powerstation near the city. I thought I would share it.

I wish to object to W4B’s planning application to build a 50 MW biofuel power station at Avonmouth Docks, which would burn 90,000 tonnes of vegetable oil every year.

I have been working in Colombia since September 2008 and see daily the impact of monocrops, such as palm oil, have both on people and the environment. Just two days ago I had a really intense sad experience that, above all, is what is motivating me to write to object to this biofuel plant. Waiting at the traffic lights on route to an event about Climate Justice here in Bogota, the captial of Colombia, an old man approached my taxi. He was dressed as smartly as he could, dark suit, a tie and a felt hat, but he didn't look like your average suited man., his clothes while clean and tightly ironed were old and shabby. And his old, sunweathered face, that makes guessing ages very difficult, showed such a sadness. He held a carefully handwritten sign in his hand, "Please help my family, god bless you. We are displaced from the Magdalena Medio”.

The Magdalena Medio is a low lying tropical region through which the river Magdalena flows. The relationship between paramilitarism and african palm is clear. In the Magdalena Medio the african palm expanded after the paramilitary takeover of the region. The paramilitary takeover of the region, through violence and the threat of violence, caused massive displacement, the result of which is thousands of old men like this begging at traffic lights. The fear of violence meant that opposition to palm oil projects has been small, and those who have opposed it live at risk.

In April 2009 I attended the funeral of Edgar Martinez, a farmer on the banks of the river Magdalena and community leader, who was killed after leaving a meeting with the mayor San Pablo. He strongly spoke out about the impacts of palm oil plantations on his farming community and opposed new palm plantations. The murder of Edgar is not an isolated case, but a systematic repression of those who try to oppose monocrops becuase of the damage to the environment, their culture and their livelihoods.

Palm from the Magdalena Medio is exported to Europe and the USA for both use in cosmetics, food and biofuels. Since the beginning of September, the network I work with has been accompanying a village which was violently evicted by riot police at the orders of a palm oil company which sells to the Body shop.

If the use of palm oil grows in Britain, people will continue to be violently evicted from their homes and forced to urban areas to beg at traffic lights.

Bristol City Council must consider the impacts of planning decisions, not only in Bristol but globally and take a lead in acting responsibily to protect lives wherever they may be. If this biofuels plant is granted planning permission, it is very likely that it will contribute to yet more violent displacement for Colombian people. Thus I ask you to reject this development.

If you feel motivated to write a letter and right  now (as decision day is Tuesday) go to : biofuelswatch action page 

In recent months Biofuel power plant applications have been rejected in Newport, Weymouth and London. Could Bristol be a fourth?