In recent years, there has been increasing tension around the use of haphazard landfills as residents nearby these toxic sites protest the serious short and long-term hazards they face.
“The most important thing is to remain loyal to the concept,” explains geographer Habib Ayeb who recently launched preparations for the Food Sovereignty Forum which will take place in 2017. “Without this loyalty, we cannot gain anything, we cannot make any progress. We cannot organize a forum on food sovereignty and demand financial support from Monsanto; Monsanto is a target for the Forum—Monsanto must be broken. Also we won’t work with USAID or AFD or GIZ—these are governmental organizations that try to impose their models on the Global South, and they are also targets of the Forum.”
While citizens and local authorities in a few regions have undertaken negotiations for employment and development, the government has yet to respond to protesters’ demands with a comprehensive strategy or solution. Instead, a union of the National Guard is implicated in the diffusion of fabricated images portraying violent protests, and police forces have begun to arrest young activists accused of “disrupting public order.”
“Winou el pétrole?”—Where is the oil? began to draw the attention of the media since the end of May when citizens hit the street with signs, and has gained considerable visibility since last week when demonstrations in the capital and the south of the country turned into violent confrontations between protesters and security forces. Furthermore, doubts regarding the movement’s beginning as a spontaneous social media campaign and uncertainty about the authenticity of its objectives have stirred controversy and warranted the response of the political figure and government officials.