60 trees were planted by our primitive brothers and Activists for Peace
Lake Maracaibo, the largest in Latin America, one of the world's most petroleum-rich areas, was the scene of the First Encounter of the Children of Mother Earth in the state of Zulia, Venezuela; the five indigenous communities of the Zulian Region and the Global Embassy of Activists for Peace (GEAP), consolidated fraternal bonds by establishing commitments and actions in favor of the defense of the Rights of Mother Earth and of the Native Peoples.
At dawn, on July 18, native brothers from the Wayúu, Yukpa, Japreira, Añú and Barí communities welcomed Dr. William Soto and other Activists for Peace from Venezuela and Latin America to initiate a sharing of knowledge in environmental matters and in Defense of Human Rights and of Mother Earth as a living being.
A conscious and meaningful planting
The planting of 60 trees in the surrounding areas of the Lake and in honor of Dr. William Soto was carried out as a symbolic act of union. This action was carried out in groups composed of native brothers and Activists for Peace, who named each tree to adopt it as a child; in this way, to be a part of the process, and take care of it until it grows and is strengthened; an act representative of the union as brotherly peoples.
As the sowing of the first fruit, Dr. Soto, together with leaders of the Wayúu and Yukpa Community baptized the tree as Muloüü Abüsayi, Wayúu for "great", and the surname in Yukpa dialect that represents "provision"; in the words of the original sisters: the great tree for protection, which gives peace and the provision of raw material for the production of its goods.
During the planting, the indigenous leaders sang and spoke words to the tree; in this regard, they explained that they always do it this way because trees are living beings that will meet the needs of other living beings.
In relation to the act, Dr. Soto said:
"Trees are always a sign of life, as it is also a sign of life in the human being."
Getting to know each other better to defend our rights
At the end of the planting process, all those present met on the shores of the Lake to share the wisdom and experiences of the native brothers, their needs and proposals on environmental issues and human rights, as well as, the presentation of the “Children of Mother Earth" Project by the GEAP, with the purpose of establishing fraternal alliances that enhance the work for the preservation and respect of Mother Earth as a subject of rights.
To initiate the meeting, members of the Yukpa Community sang the Venezuelan National Anthem in their native language; there were various cultural events that were also carried out by the native brothers in which members of the GEAP International Board of Directors also participated.
Native Brothers made their voices heard
The ancestral representatives of the indigenous communities stated that the encounter constitutes a historic event by the act of harmoniously uniting the five tribes, each with their own worldview, language and culture, but united with the same purpose: that their rights and those of Mother Earth are respected.
"It is only in this way that we, the indigenous peoples, will transcend with our works, our labor, our contribution to Mother Earth," said Nerri Gómez, Líder Wayúu.
The Chief of the Yukpa People, Efraín Romero, stressed the importance of conserving nature for all; indigenous communities and other citizens. He also argued about the need for demarcation, specifically in the Sierra de Perija (the northernmost branch of the Venezuelan Andes), home to a great part of indigenous peoples, for the expansion and protection of it and other indigenous territories, and he indicated the responsibility of all peoples to work for Mother Earth.
"Five tribes plus the white people, that makes six already, we must create work commitments ... This should be a starting point, but we are going to show the works that we acquire in this commitment, both sides, all of us because it is not only one who will benefit and another who will contribute, but a commitment by all, "he said.
On his behalf, Aminta Achirogdoda, Leader of the Barí People, declared: "We are children of Mother Earth, that is why we are gathered here today, committed to working as a team ... Today we are indigenous peoples asking the Embassy to raise our voices at an international level, as a human right," he exclaimed. In turn, he referred to Article 119 of the National Constitution, which states:
The State shall recognize the existence of indigenous peoples and communities, their social, political and economic organization, their cultures, uses and customs, languages and religions, as well as their habitat and ordinary rights to the lands which they ancestrally and traditionally occupy and which are necessary to develop and guarantee their way of life.
Similarly, the Añú people had their intervention with Prof. Eberto Ortega’s right to speak, who presented an innovative and ecological way of making blocks from the recycling and processing of plastic. In that sense, he urged authorities to promote the creation of eco-blocks, as well as to support other ecological efforts of the Native Peoples.
In this way, each of the representatives had their right to speak, to express their requests; among them, the unanimous declaration: "No to coal mining!" This was authorized in the Venezuelan Guajira area after the National Decree 1,606 of February 10, 2015, Official Gazette No. 40,599.
In order to finalize the participation of the indigenous brothers, each of the people presented the requests expressed to Dr. William Soto in writing, and also granted gifts representative of each culture; among them, the presentation of the book "Indigenous Peoples and Communities of Venezuela", by the Deputy Lisandro Márquez, representative of the Indigenous Peoples before the Legislative Council of the State of Zulia.
Activists for Peace brothers of the indigenous peoples
The Activists for Peace, in their participation in the encounter, ratified their commitment to the defense of the Rights of Indigenous Communities and the Rights of Mother Earth in Venezuela and other nations.
"It is our interest, our desire to be able to meet with the 22 sectors to listen to the needs, particularly, and that this event does not remain as a simple event; that we move from mere words to action and we work with planning in mind so that everything that has been proposed in this meeting will materialize," said the General Director of the GEAP, Gabriela Lara.
As a closing to the family-oriented meeting, Dr. William Soto thanked the response to the call and said:
"We will take what we have been given in writing and we will be working for the Rights of the Indigenous Peoples of Venezuela and also of the other countries. We want the welfare of the Indigenous Peoples, children of our Mother Earth, and we will achieve success in all of these works, these works that we will be carrying out with you, so that Mother Earth is proud to have children who defend it in every moment."