HONDURAS: New Threats
Against Father Tamayo
TEGUCIGALPA - Catholic priest
Andrés Tamayo did not heed the threats of expulsion
from residents and logging businesses who demanded
that he leave the northeastern Honduran department
of Olancho by May 31.
The ultimatum took place in the town of Salamá, where
a week ago a partial ban was declared on the forests,
the preservation of which is the centerpiece of the
fight led by Tamayo, who was born in El Salvador but
became a naturalized Honduran citizen this year.
Honduran President Manuel Zelaya pledged to protect
the life of the clergyman, but the gesture was not
enough in the eyes of many activists.
"Tamayo's life is in danger and it is not enough that
the president says he is going to protect it. He must
investigate and apprehend those who are making these
constant threats," Bertha Oliva, of the human rights
organization COFADEH, told Tierramérica.
Salamá, where Tamayo has lived for the past 23 years,
is one of the areas most devastated by illegal logging
and lumber trafficking. Official figures indicate
that some 108,000 hectares of forest are cut down
each year in Honduras.
BRAZIL: Zoos Preserve
RIO DE JANEIRO - Experts called
for strengthening the role of zoos in the preservation
of biodiversity, during the 30th Congress of the Brazilian
Society of Zoos, which concluded in Brasilia on May
Zoos are crucial for the reproduction of species that
are extinct in their original habitats. One stand-out
case is that of the zoo in Brasilia, where a group
of antelopes (Tragelaphus buxtoni) that is no longer
found in nature is being reproduced, with sights on
future reintroduction in its African habitat.
"Zoos, whose first Latin American prototype was created
by the Aztecs more than 2,000 years ago, were sites
for contemplative entertainment. Twenty years ago
their objectives were expanded to conservation, research
and education, Raúl González, director of the Brasilia
zoo and organizer of the Congress, explained to Tierramérica.
Brazil has 127 zoos, more than all the rest of Latin
America, and the number is rising despite the scarcity
of resources, he said.
MEXICO: Award for New
MEXICO CITY - A highly efficient
and low emission wood-burning stove, designed in Mexico
for low-income populations, received one of the Britain-based
Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy.
"I hope this recognition, which is the most important
for those of us who work with sustainable technologies,
calls the attention of the authorities and draws their
support," Omar Macera, team coordinator for the winning
design, told Tierramérica. The stove is known as "Patsari",
an indigenous word translated as "the one who cares
In Mexico, 25 million people continue to use firewood
for cooking their food, which has grave consequences
for the environment and for their own health.
The stove is an initiative of the non-governmental
Interdisciplinary Group of Appropriate Rural Technology
and the Autonomous National University of Mexico.
The Ashden Awards, which include prizes of up to 60,000
dollars, will be presented on Jun. 15 in London.
ARGENTINA: Uranium Victims
BUENOS AIRES - A couple ill with
cancer were accepted this month as plaintiffs by the
Argentine judiciary, which is investigating charges
of uranium contamination of water near the Ezeiza
Atomic Center, in Buenos Aires province.
Two years ago, Beatriz Rodríguez, 62, was diagnosed
with breast cancer, and her husband, Antonio Rota,
65, with lung cancer that has metastisized in the
"The oncologist assures there is a direct relation
between the uranium and the cancer," Rota told Tierramérica.
In the first instance, a judge rejected the case,
but the Federal Chamber of Appeals accepted it. "This
will allow us to present evidence and experts," he
The couple lives near the atomic center, which is
under scrutiny by the legal authorities for the high
levels of uranium found in the underground water in
COLOMBIA: 20 Years for
the Green College
BOGOTA - With the support of
the Dutch government, the "Colegio Verde de villa
de Leyva", in the central Colombian department of
Boyacá, will celebrate its 20th anniversary June 5-6
with a seminar-workshop titled "Oversight of the responsibility
and social impact of environmental projects."
Margarita Marino de Botero, director of the College,
told Tierramérica that the seminar will include analysis
of eight environmental initiatives that are currently
under way in the country, with special attention to
studying the level of social appropriation of the
processes involved in them.
Some of the projects under scrutiny are the Regional
Citizens Agendas of the Comptroller General of the
Republic, and the Citizen Training School in northeastern
GUATEMALA: A Push for
GUATEMALA - Mango growers in
Guatemala seek to increase their crop, following the
200-percent growth of exports in the last decade.
The rise in sales generated some eight million dollars
in profits, said Monica González, spokeswoman for
the Association of Non-Traditional Product Exporters.
In 2004, 6.9 tons of mango were exported, rising to
14.2 million tons in 2005, and for this year the exports
are forecast to reach 14.5 million tons with the introduction
of the ataulfo variety, native to Mexico, González
Guatemala is the fifth leading exporter of mangos
in Latin America, and first in Central Ameirca, with
some 200 growers cultivating around 7,000 hectares,
according to the private Association.
The U.S. market absorbs 85 percent of Guatemala's
mango exports, says Eddy Martínez, manager of the
DFT packing company.