March 18, 2004
Seaboard Corp Publicly Revealed in Boston Area for Indigenous Rights Abuse in Argentina
Activists from Worcester and Boston, Massachusetts brought the voices of the Ava Guarani to the front steps and office doors of the Seaboard Corporation this afternoon. This action was part of an international coalition, Alerta Salta (www.Alerta-Salta.org.ar), which has formed to support the indigenous community in Salta, Argentina. This Ava Guarani community has been displaced and severely repressed at the command of the San Martin del Tabacal sugar refinery, which is owned by the US-based Seaboard Corporation.
Today’s action was planned to take place exactly one week after a 400 person march in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which was organized by Alerta Salta activists from unemployed workers movements, popular assemblies, and other activists moved by the Ava Guarani’s struggle for land, justice and autonomy. Following in the Argentine tradition of the "escrache" (public revealing), today’s creative and lively demonstration began with a visit to Seaboard Corporation’s penthouse office at 822 Boylston Street, Chestnut Hill and ended with a show of vibrant puppets, banners, and leaflets for the passing cars. Seaboard Corp and the locally-residing CEO, H. Harry Bresky was publicly revealed this afternoon to their neighbors and the public of Chestnut Hill, one of Boston’s wealthiest suburbs.
Upon delivering the letter to Bresky, the delegation demanded that he take responsibility for the situation in Salta, Argentina. An executive administrative official stated that he "bears no responsibility for the corporation" but since Bresky was not in the office today, he would "make sure Mr. Bresky will receive the letter and the message of concern for the community in Argentina." Two local newspapers also followed the delegation to the office and will be delivering the news of the visit to his doorstep in the morning.
The action was organized by the Worcester Global Action Network (www.WoGAN.org), which has had a long-standing campaign in solidarity with the inspiring social movements in Argentina. Their work, through the guidance of the argentina autonomista project (www.Autonomista.org), has included hosting US speaking tours, documentary film making, and solidarity delegations to Buenos Aires to work with, learn from and be inspired by the social movements in Argentina. The proposal for Alerta Salta came from an international encuentro in January 2004 in Buenos Aires, where Monica, the leader of the Ava Guarani community explained their situation and recent repression after re-occupying their native land. A week later, Monica greeted an international delegation of activists from Alerta Salta to her community with these words:
"We are nothing without land, we need it to live, we need it to strengthen ourselves, to develop our culture. For this, we need the land, and to live with dignity, to be independent, autonomous, and so that tomorrow the children can have a future. That is why I ask the organizations that listen to us, to support us."
The Ava Guarani community has faced several violent relocations over the past thirty-five years, the most repressive one occurred on September 16, 2003 shortly after their latest attempt to re-occupy the 5000 hectare piece of last remaining native forest, called "La Loma,". Almost all of the land in the area has been stolen from the indigenous inhabitants and is being used for monocrops, in this case sugar cane. One day soon they hope to return to the land, preserve it, grow their own food, and rebuild their community.
Today’s action was a first step in putting pressure on Seaboard that can not be ignored and supporting the Ava Guarani in their struggle for autonomy. Alerta Salta activists from Massachusetts are looking at a next timely opportunity for protest at Seaboard’s Annual Shareholder’s meeting in Newton, MA (at the Sheraton Hotel) Monday, April 26th, and would like to leave readers with the following message:
With your participation, we can win this struggle for justice in Argentina and against Seaboard Corporation.
Boston-area activists are taking the responsibility of having the brain of this corporation in our back yards, and are ready to turn up the heat and publicity on Seaboard’s bloody hands.
We are everywhere they are.
Our resistance is as global as their exploitation!
To get involved or for more information, contact Worcester Global Action Network:
Much more info here: