Via Campesina COP16 Caravan Makes a Protest Pit Stop

Global Exchange’s Carleen Pickard & other delegation members are joining fellow climate justice campaigners, environmentalists and social justice advocates from around the world for COP16 in Cancun. They’re traveling with La Via Campesina organized caravans. En route to COP 16, the caravans are visiting communities in struggle and resistance, learning about the local effects of climate change and adding their voices of solidarity to communities working to construct a better future.

Ride along as caravan members share their stories from the road to COP16. Today, Irene Florez reports from the Mexican caravan:

Traveling with the Via Campesina caravan from Guadalajara to Cancun, this delegation is now picking up about 20 additional climate activists at every stop.

Converging through rallies, marches, and civil disobedience actions, the Via Campesina caravan members are meeting with allies in various towns and cities and alerting local populations about the Cancun summit, picking additional passengers up along the way. The first day this caravan added 30 new passengers. There are now over 150 climate activists from five different countries on the Guadalajara caravan.

Throughout the various public demonstrations, caravan participants are sharing information about the summit and working to garner support, while practicing public speaking, civil disobedience tactics, and alliance building.

Yesterday, our second day, the Guadalajara caravan met with the electric workers union who are battling to recover the jobs lost when the state took over their plant and terminated 44,000 jobs. These workers see their energy work as a critical component to climate justice.

The caravan then stopped in the Malinche neighborhood on the outskirts of Mexico City, where over 500 local activists welcomed the caravan with a rally for climate and citizen rights. Activists in Malinche are struggling against the proposed expulsion of 200-300 longtime residents and a green, public space in favor of a superhighway project.

Two young residents of Malinche who may be displaced soon, Kenia and Andrea

In Morelia, activists arrived in the large city on empty stomachs and with little sleep but this didn’t arrest their interest in making noise and vocalizing the importance of climate justice. Within about 20 minutes, a large march formed that quickly filled Morelia’s main streets with people chanting “Zapata vive, la lucha sigue” and “water and energy cannot be sold.”

Here are some related resources:

Visit Indigenous Environmental Network for articles, segments and live broadcasts of COP 16

Join one of the climate justice mobilizations organized around the summit

Listen to The Price of Nature: Buying Our Way Outof Climate Chaos

Check back here on our Climate Justice blog to continue following the caravan delegation members’ journey. If you’re on Twitter, follow @globalexchange for related COP16 updates from Global Exchange, and use hashtag #COP16 for general COP16 tweets.