Farmworkers Bear the Brunt of New Mexico Chile Crisis

In the late 20th Century, a large commercial chile industry boomed in the southern part of the state near the Mexican border, drawing in thousands of immigrant farmworkers who earned a seasonal if precarious living from hand-picking the spicy pods that delighted connoisuers everywhere. Nowadays, the fortunes of New Mexico’s cherished chile crop are on the downside. Just ask Jose Rocha. A veteran farmworker with nearly four decades of experience in the fields of New Mexico and the US, Rocha says he once worked “first class fields” in a wide swath of the borderland chile-growing belt.

Global trade and investment patterns, coupled with mechanization, are at the root of the troubles of Jose Rocha and his fellow workers.

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Peasant, Indigenous Organizations Reject Market Schemes for Global Warming

The UN Climate Conference (COP16) in Cancun is turning out to be both anti-climactic and anti-climatic.

Negotiators have given up on a binding agreement to limit emissions of greenhouse gases. Instead, they are seeking to expand schemes to allow contaminating industries and nations to continue with business as usual and add another lucrative area to their portfolios–trade in carbon offsets and credits.

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In Mexico City, a Message for Cancún

On Tuesday, as U.N. negotiations on climate change geared up in the Caribbean beach resort of Cancún, thousands of people marched through the streets of Mexico City to demand grassroots solutions to global warming—and to the slew of other crises they face.

The peasants and workers, students and environmentalists gathered here don’t draw lines around issues. Demands for rural development and the release of political prisoners mix with calls to stop global warming and save the jungles. Peasant farmers from the poor southern states of Mexico walk somberly down the Paseo de la Reforma in four straight lines, their silence broken by the occasional collective slogan. Their discipline and gravity are a far cry from the image of destructive “globalphobics” that the Mexican government has reportedly been warning Cancún locals about. The smaller groups of students and activists are rowdier, dancing down the streets, holding banners, and laughing along the way.

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Tear Down the Dam and Rebuild the Commons

Managing our water commons thoughtfully in an age of growing energy demand and climate change is a considerable challenge, especially when the World Bank ignores its own advice to wean ourselves off large dams. That study by the World Commission on Dams finds large dams inconsistent with environmental and human rights standards. A global movement, including activists from Our Water Commons, continues to press to rein in the dam industry, invest in truly green solutions and apply common sense principles for how we manage our water.

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Ecuador’s Attempted Coup and Threats to Democracy in the Hemisphere

The Sept. 30 attempted coup in Ecuador that killed three and held the elected president hostage serves as a warning. Democratic transitions remain fragile and incomplete in Latin America and some of the boldest moves away from colonialism and toward inclusive societies are being met with reactionary force. As the Ecuadorean police uprising shows, nations could lose the important gains that have been made over the past decades.

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Mexican Representative Says There Will Be No Climate Deal in Cancun

The Mexican representative for international climate change negotiations, ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, said not to expect a binding agreement at the Climate Change Conference to be hosted in Cancun this year. Many had hoped to finally achieve the goal of an agreement to commit the signatory countries of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce their pollutant emissions and prevent a global temperature rise of 2 degrees centigrade over the next few years.

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