4 Jul 2009

Colombia, 6/143 in Happy Planet Index?

Latin America tops the Index with Costa Rica the 'greenest and happiest' country. Nine of the ten highest-scoring nations are Latin American

However I am not quite convinced by the figures here from the New Economics Foundation

Colombia comes in at number six on the happy planet index out of 143 countries...yet death squads commonly clear peasants from the land for biofuels. Doesn't sound that good a place to me.

One of the workers, Eustaquio Polo Rivera, told BBC Mundo that he lost his land after an incursion by right-wing paramilitaries in 1996.
"We used to produce what we needed for ourselves: bananas, corn, rice. But one day, soldiers just arrived and took our land. They destroyed everything in the community," he says.
"They told me they needed the land to fight the guerrillas, but we soon realized that the point was to take our land.
"We tried to resist, but the armed men warned us they would take no responsibility for the families who decided to stay.

"When we tried to go back, our land was planted with palm trees," he says.
"In my own community, there are between 30 and 40 hectares of palm trees.
"The government hasn't shown any interest in returning our land because the paramilitaries carry on moving from one location to another and the big companies have powerful allies."
Fidel Mingorance is chairman of Human Rights Everywhere (HRE), one of several NGOs denouncing the forced displacement of communities, often of African descent, to make way for palm trees.
"It all started in Tumaco, in South Colombia, and now there are all sorts of violations - forced displacement, assassinations, property invasion," he says."

Most of Europe's biofuels come from Colombian palm oil, its production is also killing the rainforests, will the NEF report give Colombia a false glossy as a green state?

I hope not.

1 comment:

Alejandro said...

Dude, don't talk about the reality of a country if you haven't lived there. I'm colombian, and believe me, despite all problems, we're happy people. Really happy. This is paradise.Destr