ECO - Alternative Voices of the Planet
No. 1, 27 September 1994
Letter from Argentina Read at Forum Opening
Letter from Argentina Read at Forum Opening
Two representatives of the Forum Organising Committee and a representative of the Autonoma University opened the Forum "The Other Voices of the Planet". The 400 seat auditorium was filled to capacity.
The opening address appealed to fight against the activities of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The audience was then surprised with a letter of support from Argentina. The letter denouncing the Bretton Woods Institutions was signed by 25 organisations, some Members of Parliament and journalists. The signatories wrote, "we want to add our Voices and efforts to the forces that stand up against injustice".
University representative Gil de Miguel emphasised the necessity of support from academics "to those voices that need being heard by the rest of the planet".
Art for the Other Voices of the Planet
In a show of solidarity with the Forum a group of sculptors are exhibiting their art in the Faculty of Medicin at the Autonoma University of Madrid (UAM).
Under the motto "Sculptures from the Other Voices of the Planet" artists including Carlos de Lucas, Palmira Mor�n, Pablo Peinado, Diego Canogar, Paloma Marggi, Maibel Ganso, Willa, Nieves Correa, Max Lucassen and others have been coordinated by Ana Zorita.
The exhibition is placed in the corridors of the Aula Magna, in the gardens and in the corridors leading to the Forum office where we also find a poster show that collects the experience of artist united for peace against the Gulf War and the 500 hundred commemoration.
The art work, that in some cases were specialy made for the Forum, include paintings, sculptures, instalations and experiences will be documented in video.
Times and places where you can get rid of your frustration about WB and IMF
On Sunday, October 2nd a huge demonstration against the World Bank and the IMF will take place in Madrid. It is an authorized demonstration organized by over 50 Spanish NGOs. It's titled "We don't want you here" (and nowhere else) and it starts at 11.30 am at the Plaza de Cibeles (Metro station Banco de Espana, Metro No 2) and goes to the Plaza Mayor. There are rumours about two more demonstrations - detailed information will be given in one of the next ECOs.
Regarding the NGOs Coordinadora Resignation
In response to the press release made public by the NGOs Coordinadora on 23 September the The Organising Committee of the Alternative Forum wants to say:
- that at no time did the Coordinadora inform the organising committee of its concerns about the presence of HB in the Forum.
- that in this Forum formed by 50 Spanish organisations, one of which is the Coordinadora, and 60 international ones it could never be thought that every organisation would support each of the other's policies; in the same way none of them can be excluded once it has accepted the general basis of the Forum.
- that the NGOs of the Coordinadora that are members of the Organisation Committee were not informed about the press release.
Finally it is our desire that more than a year of work to make possible this Alternative Forum will not be destroyed by belligerent attitudes.
In relation with Permanent Peoples' Tribunal, we still want it to take place even when we are afraid that the same organisations that have provocated the last events are interested in it's cancelation.
Forum Organising Committee,
25 September 1994, Madrid.
The other face of Chiapas
"In Mexico there is no democracy". With this and similar expressions Antonio Garcia, a member of the Organizaci�n Camp-esina Emiliano Zapatista, described the current situation of the Mexican government. Garcia was one of the speakers addressing the workshop "The native rebelion in Chiapas". The event was organised by Madrid`s Zapatista Rebellion Solidarity Collective.
It became evident that the situation there is far from being solved. Carmen Retama, member of the Fund for the Right of Food, goes even further by saying that after the presidential elections Mexico is in red alert. At any moment a civil war might begin. In fact, since the beginning of the rebellion on 1 February. this year, the government has sent 50,000 soldiers to Chiapas. Referring to this figure Retama relates the unique increase in Mexico's spendings directly to the high military activity.
The Zapatist Revolution is not an isolated incident in an isolated country as they have made us believe. Far from being a local phenomenom that affects just a single country, Chiapas is a symbol of the fight for Democracy and against "development". And as the Mexican government realises, it could easily spread to other countries like Guatemala or Haiti.
One of the Voices
Mr. Odour Ong'wen, staff member of The Bank Monitoring Unit in Nairobi came to the Forum to present evidence on the effects of World Bank projects in Kenya and in Africa in general. His NGO coordinated the 50 Years Are Enough Campaign in Kenya, which is made up of 37 NGOs, religious, women's and youth groups.
The Bank Monitoring Unit is a joint project of the African Water Network, Climate Network Africa, and Eco-News Africa. The Unit studies the social, cultural and environmental effects of projects funded by multi-lateral development agencies, such as the World Bank, African Development Bank, and Global Environmental Facility. The Unit works with effected people either to lobby the implementing agency to redesign the project or stop in completely. The Unit also does policy analysis on structural adjustment programmes, international trade, and debt issues.
Mr. Ong'wen will be participating in a workshop on Thursday at 16:00 - 17:00 and will screen a 13 minute video where ordinary people in Kenya talk about their experience with structural adjustment. He also has with him a 42 minute video called "To Be A Women" which focuses on women's experience with structural adjustment in Zambia and other countries. The video was produced by the All African Congress of Churches.
Mr. Odour Ong'wen,
Bank Monitoring Unit, (AWN), Box 10538, Nairobi, Kenya. Tel. 254-2-556943 or 555579. Fax: 254-2-555513. Home tel. 254-2-782752. Telex: 23240 ELCKE, Nairobi, Kenya.
Welcome to Madrid and to ECO - your daily conference bulletin. Having overcome some initial problems we will now supply you with the latest news on workshops, speakers and events of and around the Forum. Please help us keeping everybody up to date by informing our reporters about events and actions you are planning, or about changes in your scheduled activities.
We would very much like to receive short articles (maximum 300 words) about your NGO for our column �Who is here�. Our office is located in Semenario V in the university. We are also still looking for volunteers to join our team. So if you are interested in doing some journalistic work while attending the Forum, please come and meet us outside Seminario V at 2 pm. We wish you a successful forum and hope to contribute to it with ECO.
The accreditation office of the World Bank and the IMF is open. All journalists who tried to get an accreditation and did not get a response from the institutions should go and see if they are on the list. There are two NGO rooms and a special desk for NGO press releases. Any NGO which wants its press releases to be put there and do not have an accreditation should look for someone with accreditation to do this for them.
Facultad de Medicina,
Universidad Aut�noma of Madrid,
c/ Arzobispo Morcillo 2-4.
Room: Seminario V.
Tel/Fax: (+34-1) 397 53 40