About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mennonites in the Chaco... and Those @#!*& Brits

Sombrero tip to Richard at MexFiles (as he himself likes to say) for this heads up on Mennonites in the Chaco in Paraguay. Says a journalist/blogger at the Guardian of Paraguay's Mennonites:
It seems they have moved from Biblical exhortations for stewardship of the Earth to outright exploitation and dominion. They have bought up nearly 2m hectares, worth, these days, in the region of $600m (£382m), made themselves fabulously wealthy from a $100m-a-year meat and dairy business, and are now in danger of totally destroying an unique ecosystem, indigenous peoples and all.
If nothing, let's give the Mennonites a hand for being consistently controversial for 500 years (and you can take that any number of ways). While I would point to Durango and Chihuahua where Mennonite land practices are quickly stripping the aquifer and the grass that grows in the high desert, I also want to point out that the Mennonites are doing what people from the Afro-Eurasian complex have been doing for over 10,000 years: dramatically altering their landscape for agriculture. While I oppose the destruction of the Chaco, I also have to agree with one of the feedback comments on the blog:
Let me see if I have this straight. A "journalist" from a paper headquartered in the most environmentally backward country of Europe decides that a tiny group of Mennonites in Paraguay are the bad guys?

And Vidal, if you want to be a serious journalist, why don't you stick to the environmental damage being done by the Brit military in Afghanistan or the environmental ruin demanded by the greedheads in the City every day.
I see that soya is the leading agricultural export of Paraguay... with China and the US being the largest non-Latin American trading partners. I think we can all agree that the demand of soy beans is driving an explosion in that expansion, and that perhaps we're going after Mennonites when rather we need to be listening to liberation theologians: this has more to do with a structural sin.

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