Toronto Manifiesto

World Day for the Protection of the Esequibo

YES TO THE ESEQUIBO NO TO EXXON MOBIL!!
LET US UNITE TO PROTECT THE VENEZUELAN ESEQUIBO TODAY AND TOMORROW!

The land of the Esequibo is an area that has been in dispute for many decades between Venezuela and Guyana. It measures 159,500 km2 and 435 km of coastline on the Caribbean Sea.

The River Esequibo with a longitude of 1,010 km is the fourth longest river in South America and gives its name to the area. It is the home of the indigenous tribes of the akawaio, patamona, waiwai, makushi, lokonas, wapishana y kariña peoples, whose survival is precarious. The River Esequibo and its adjoining lands constitute a tropical ecosystem of extraordinary biodiversity and beauty. There are 300 fish species, 60 of which are original to the river. Its biodiversity includes 1,000 species of fauna including tapir, jaguar, turtles and innumerable birds.

Considering

• That in 2009 President Hugo Chávez warned in Copenhagen that “60% of ecosystems of the planet have been harmed” and that “climate change is, without a doubt, the most devastating environmental problem of this century”; (1)
• That the Fifth Objective of the Venezuelan National Plan (2013-2019) is “the preservation of the human species and of life on the planet” thus affirming the government’s engagement to caring for the environment;
• That the long term aim of Venezuela is to attain a future with a diversified economy that reduces the current dependency on exploitation of that valuable but non-renewable resource, petroleum;
• That the Venezuelan Constitution enshrines fully the human rights –both civil and social- of the indigenous peoples; that there is a recognized implementation of the same by the government administration, and in view of the intense political participation of indigenous peoples in Venezuela;
• That the Venezuelan efforts to preserve and protect the environment such as: the sowing 45 million trees in 6 years, forbidding GMO seeds, the establishment of a Ministry of Ecosocialism and the implementation of important environmental measures, being the first country in the world to forbid trawl fishing in its waters, having implemented programs to preserve endangered species such as turtles and crocodiles, and implemented laws to protect biodiversity;
• In view of the environmental enthusiasm of Communal Councils, Communes, workers, agriculturalists, students, environmental associations and thousands of volunteers of the civil society;

We therefore,

Believe that Venezuela is in an excellent position to be an effective steward to protect the important but fragile ecosystem of the River Esequibo and could tend its hand to Guyana so that it too can act to preserve the Esequibo area.

Considering that Exxon Mobil, the largest oil company in the world,

• Was one of the powerful forces behind the refusal of the USA to ratify the Kyoto Accord;
• Is responsible for the largest oil spill in the USA – the Exxon Valdez- which it has never fully cleaned up nor given compensation for;
• That it has attacked the majority of the scientific studies that warn about climate change;
• That has violated human rights with torture, deaths and rapes in Indonesia and Nigeria;
• That is responsible for the cruel deaths of hundreds of dogs in the Alaska sled races which it supports;
• That continues to do experiments on live dogs;
• Whose underwater explosions have killed countless number of Gray whales, of which there are only 100 left in the world;
• That is the corporation that most uses its profits to influence governments;
• That is encouraging the current government of Guyana to an aggressive stance in the border negotiations with Venezuela trying to provoke a war confrontation so that it can carry out unfettered oil exploration in the Essequibo ecosystem; (2)

We ask the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela, to continue its peaceful diplomatic efforts in this border dispute, that it stress its respect for indigenous rights, reaffirm its commitment to the protection of the Essequibo River ecosystem and that it not cease to protect it from the depredations of Exxon Mobil.

We ask the citizens of the world to sign this petition in favour of the environmentalist and peaceful Venezuelan efforts, to repudiate the most sinister oil company in the world whose intrusion in the Essequibo would be the death of a unique ecological area of the world and greatly harm indigenous life.

And we ask our brothers and sisters of Guyana, members of Our America, to repudiate the intromission of Exxon Mobil in the border negotiations between Venezuela and Guyana, and we ask them to unite environmental efforts of both countries to preserve the Esequibo as a zone of eco-tourism, parks and sanctuaries and a secure home for the traditional indigenous peoples who live there.

CB Louis Riel – Toronto, Canada
Maria Paez Victor, Beatriz Santiago, Francisco Suarez Abeleira, Alma Weinstein

Manifiesto de Toronto (Español)

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(1) Speech in Copenhagen, December 17 2009, citing the study of the United Nations, Evaluation of the Ecosystems of the Millennium

(2) http://www.knowmore.org/wiki/index.php?title=Exxonmobil_Corporation

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