An Admirable Struggle in Costa Rica! Fabián Pacheco According To the Voice of Fellow Environmentalists

    Silvia Rodríguez of the Biodiversity Coordination Network and renowned environmental activist, Flora Fernández Amón, detail Fabián Pacheco's nomination and the actions that continue to threaten Costa Rica's biodiversity.

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    In Costa Rica, there are still “many environmental issues that need to be addressed”, emphasized the well-known environmentalist and writer Flora Fernández Amón, who joined forces for the nomination of the fighter Fabián Pacheco for the award “Contributions to the Improvement of the Quality of Life”.

    Both Flora and Fabián have been involved in the environmental defense of Costa Rica, she has been his student in organic agriculture courses and is involved in the use of solar energy.

    Fernandez is an admirable woman, who from a very young age has been interested in everything related to the environment: not to waste watershe has rainwater harvesters in her home, solar panels to heat water, she rejects single-use plastic and separates organic waste that goes to the compost of the revaluable. She has a watchmaking business, repairing, restoring, and recovering watches that do not work in a watchmaking workshop to prevent them from going to the garbage in his house she has a small vegetable garden, and she only eats fresh food -preferably organic- to avoid generating garbage such as cans and plastic containers. 

    Why nominate Fabián?

    For Flora, Fabian Pacheco, besides being a great friend to his family, is a man full of integrity and impressive fighting determination, capable of integrating people from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds, of all cultural, ethnic, and gender origins, able to harmonize everyone to work with the same purpose.  He has outstanding executive and managerial capabilities, but above all, he is a human being of great courage, warmth, empathy, and gentleness that makes anyone who approaches him feels good. I have always said that when I see Fabian, the day lights up for me,” She said.

     Because of the support she gives to Fabián’s struggle and knowing his honest work, Flora joined the criteria of approximately 30 environmental organizations to nominate him for the “Contributions to the Improvement of the Quality of Life” Contest she was in charge of sending the document to the representatives of the Defensoría de los Habitantes/CONARE (the Ombudsman’s Office/CONARE): “I have the honor to nominate the Master in Environmental Agrobiology, Agronomist and Ecologist: Fabián de Jesús Pacheco Rodríguez as a candidate for the Award “Aportes al Mejoramiento de la Calidad de Vida” (“Contributions to the Improvement of the Quality of Life”), as a natural person for being a person dedicated for many years to improve the quality of life of people in various aspects”.

    In Costa Rica, situations that continue to affect the environment must be addressed…

    The environmentalist Flora Fernández referred with concern to the actions that are not favorable for the biodiversity of Costa Rica, among them: “the contamination of water resources that Fabian has denounced -it seems to me the most important-, secondly, the cultivation of food organically and without pesticides, because there is no point in cultivating land organically if the water is already contaminated. Finally, extractivist seems to me to be harmful and causes more damage than the wealth that can be obtained since the wealth is taken by those who extract it, while the damage remains and can be everlasting, the Crucitas case at this moment is the most eloquent, and we do not see that the authorities, nor anyone has done anything about the prevailing environmental damage”.

    In this sense, Silvia Rodríguez, also an environmental activist and member of the Biodiversity Coordination Network (RCB), added that everything derives from tacit or explicit regulations, not always fair or equitable, at the level of decrees and national laws, as well as international treaties and agreements with a higher status than national regulations.

    It is worth noting that RCB has been focusing not only on wild biodiversity but also on agricultural biodiversity for 25 years. “We are interested in the problems of national parks and wildlife, as well as their forms of use and grabbing. We are closely concerned with the problems of farmers, indigenous peoples, and fishermen who have been frequently dispossessed of their lands and territories, or whose rivers and atmosphere have been poisoned with pesticides and plastics,” said Rodríguez.

    The organization is one of the 30 that supports the candidacy of Fabián Pacheco and regarding the trajectory of the Costa Rican environmentalist, who was part of the Network, they assure that he has had fundamental participation in the fight against the adhesion of the country to the Convention of the Union of Plant Varieties (UPOV), which grants a type of intellectual property to the so-called “breeders” of plants as a condition to incorporate them to the Free Trade Agreement United States-Central America and Dominican Republic.

    In this way, according to Rodriguez, representative of the RCB, Pacheco has supported 100% of the campaigns against legislation that promotes the privatization of seeds.

    Silvia Rodríguez has been fully dedicated to environmental issues in Costa Rica for 43 years. In 1980, after finishing a Master’s degree in Rural Sociology, she became interested in Forestry Engineering, Environmental Education, and Wildlife Management.

    Details of the Contributions to the Improvement of Quality of Life Award

    The Contributions to the Improvement of the Quality of Life Award, for which environmentalist Fabián Pacheco was nominated, is a recognition granted by CONARE and the Ombudsman’s Office.

    Among the people and organizations that nominated him are: The Council of Elders Brörán Traditional Authority of the Brörán People; Kifah Sasa Marín, deputy resident representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNED); Laura Martínez, director of the Semanario Universidad of the University of Costa Rica (UCR); Jorge Arturo Lobo Segura, professor at the School of Biology of the UCR; Patricia Mora Castellanos, former president of the National Women’s Institute (Inamu) and former congress woman of the Republic; Laura Chinchilla Alvarado, communicator, professor and researcher at the UCR; Mariana Porras Rozas, president of the Biodiversity Coordination Network, among others.

    A Trajectory Of Many Challenges, Efforts, And Achievements

    Every achievement in life comes with many efforts, those that have not been lacking to the ecologist Fabián Pacheco, known for his path of struggles in which he has maintained a commitment to the environmental defense of Costa Rica and the promotion of agroecology in different indigenous and peasant communities.

    Pacheco has been the victim of pressure to stop his struggle to defend the water sources for human consumption; in fact, he is the founder of the Cipreses Cartago Ecologist Front.

    “This year has been very difficult; I have had to face different pressures at work, which are born from people who have come to raise slander about me to my bosses at work, trying to shut me up for my work in defense of the water sources in the North Zone of Cartago. The administrator of the ASADA of Cipreses (claiming to be a lawyer) came to ask for an account from my boss, questioning my work in defense of the water of Cipreses and speaking bravely, saying that “someone has to stop it” referring to my work as an ecologist in defense of the springs… Days later a letter arrived from a lawyer to the INA presidency requesting information about me. They are trying to silence and harass me. But my work and that of the Frente Ecologista de Cipreses de Oreamuno is clean and crystal clear. We defend our constitutional right stipulated in Article 50 of the Political Constitution of Costa Rica,” he stressed.

    Environmentalists have raised their voices on several occasions because thousands of people are being affected by the contamination of degraded agro toxins from the fungicide chlorothalonil; thanks to the management, insistence, and perseverance of Fabian, the AyA had to distribute water in tankers to the affected communities. 

    Regarding the issue of chlorothalonil, the Costa Rican environmentalist has already won two appeals before the Constitutional Court, which places him as a true defender of the quality of life of the people.

    He has also remained firm in his fight for the construction of GMO-free territories and in municipal declarations for the protection of peasant native seeds, which has had an incredible impact: 74 cantons in the country ratified municipal agreements to protect these seeds, which are Costa Rican cultural heritage. Pacheco had a very important role in the promotion and construction of declarations of free municipalities of fumigation with agrochemicals in public areas.

    Government Excludes Environmentalists

    A few days ago, it became known via decree, that President Rodrigo Chaves excluded the Biodiversity Coordination Network from the National Biosafety Technical Commission (NBioTC), and in exchange, introduced the National Chamber of Agriculture and Agroindustry (NCAA). 

    All this was through Decree No. 44020-MAG published in Gazette No. 105 on Tuesday, June 13, which also amended Article 112 of the Regulations of the State Phytosanitary Service.

    Such action was considered by the environmental activists “as a serious decision made without prior consultation”. The fact of reducing citizen participation and increasing the influence of private interests over a fundamental decision space that regulates agricultural biotechnology. 

    According to environmentalists, by eliminating representation from the environmental sector and adding the participation of the NCAA, they are giving way among their ranks to the large agrochemical and transgenic transnational.

    You can’t cover the sun with a finger! Thanks to the participation of members of the Biodiversity Coordination Network and the Environmental Federation in the NBioTC, in 2012 the Costa Rican population was alerted about the request made by Monsanto’s subsidiary, Delta & Pine Land Semillas Ltda., to plant GM maize in Chomes de Puntarenas. This was received as a threat to the corn culture, which is very present in the area. Thanks to this alert, social and environmental organizations organized different actions, such as the Walk in Defense of Corn, managing to stop Monsanto’s corn and thus protect native or peasant seeds from possible genetic contamination.

    Finally, between 2013 and 2015, about 92% of the municipalities adopted declarations of GMO-free territories. So far in 2023, the cantons of Los Chiles and Paraíso de Cartago have been added. In total, 74 of the 81 existing cantons have issued municipal declarations declaring themselves free of transgenic crops.

    Resonance Costa Rica
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