Chico Vive! Conference eBook

Chico Mendes

Chico Vive! Conference eBook

The Cambridge Institutes Press (CIP) is pleased to release the eBook Chico Vive!.  It is available for download in PDF form, free of charge.  Please click on this link CHICO VIVE! to obtain your complimentary copy.

This eBook is based on the Chico Vive! Conference, held in April 2014, at the American University in Washington, D.C. The Chico Vive! Conference brought together environmentalists, indigenous peoples, and ethnic minorities from around the world.  They gathered to commemorate the life of the assassinated leader of the rubber tappers of Brazil’s Amazon, Chico Mendes.   In December 1988, gunmen in the employ of large land owners, shot and killed Mendes, in a cowardly ambush in front of his wife and children at his western Amazonian home in Xapurí, Acre, Brazil.

Mendes’ only “crime” was defending the rubber tappers, their indigenous allies, and the forest in which they lived against the rapacious “development” program of the large land owners and government.  The landlords and their official backers were installing pasture and cattle ranches in the state of Acre after pushing out all of its inhabitants, often with violence, and burning the rain forest to the ground.  When Chico Mendes died, he had been leading a 15-year struggle to resist this brand of “developmentalism.”  With his allies among Indians, environmentalists, and members of the academic community, he was beginning to invent a new path for sustainable, inclusive development that would not devastate the Amazon’s original, forest dwelling inhabitants.  By 1988, his tireless organizational work and creative approach to envisioning the Amazon’s future was drawing world-wide attention to the rubber tappers and their plight, particularly in Washington, D.C.

At the conference, it became clear that Mendes’ struggle is similar to that of many other people around the world as they deal with the impact on their societies and environments of “developmentalism:” a form of development that takes into account neither the interests of people who already live in areas to be “developed” nor the environments that they inhabit. Mining, ranching, and logging are frequently the cornerstones of such developmentalism as well as large-scale hydro-electric dams. Representatives from these social movements convened in Washington, in April 2014, to remember Chico Mendes and to tell the world about similarly negative development patterns on virtually all the continents.  It is not that these movements are against development, per se, but they are in favor of participating peacefully and effectively in the decisions that affect them and doing their best to pursue development without destroying the natural environment.

Given the conference’s success, it may truly be said that “Chico Lives!” (“Chico Vive!”).  We are delighted, therefore, to publish, as a free eBook, the analyses, discussions, observations, and calls for solidarity that took place in Washington, in April 2014, and that continue.  This world-wide struggle for the future of the planet and its minorities is by no means over.

For more information please visit the eBook homepage on the CIP website here