04 November 2006

The Wall

The Gualeguaychú Environmental Assembly has gone a step further in its protest against the cellullose and pulp mills to be installed on the Uruguay River. During this weekend they've erected a wall blocking International Route 136 that goes from Gualeguaychú, over a bridge, to Fray Bentos in Uruguay. The wall is 1.8 meters tall, made of hollow bricks, and one of its sides is covered by a poster that reads EI SELLULOOSA - NO TO THE PULP MILL (in --probably bad-- Finnish and in English). In Montevideo, the 16th Iberoamerican Summit is being held and the head of the Spanish government José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is trying to get Kirchner and Tabaré together for some talk, although the Uruguayan president has already said that he won't speak about anything while the road is blocked.

As mostly anybody around here thinks that this protest has spiralled out of control and rationality, I wonder why the government doesn't do anything to fix it. I'd be the last to suggest that the protesters' claims are baseless or exaggerated, but some kinds of protest actions should only be used for media effect for a very short time -- blocked roads are not something that authorities should ignore.

I found some reading from the other side of the border which I though I could share, From Uruguay -- like this one, a blog in English written by a native Spanish speaker, and several times dealing with the issue. I agree with part of the reasoning, though I can't agree with the idea that ecology in developing countries is a luxury we sometimes can't afford. I'm usually pragmatic, but then, we've all been pretty fucked up by that kind of pragmatism, and by its inherent assumption that things will eventually be OK for us to take care of the details.


  1. We are in no position to ignore ecology or view it as a luxury - it is not a new handbag or a bottle of expensive wine. If we do not learn from past mistakes and start (however late it already is)respecting our surrounding and envoironment, we are the ones eventually getting hurt.

  2. pdf, thanks for you comment, I've already commented back in the same post, feel free to add your views on it.

    Don't get me wrong but imho to prioritize only the ecological aspect of the problem, and to leave behind the social one is not an answer, in particular, in our countries, where we seek ways of development for our economies.


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