Thursday, September 17, 2009

SERPAJ, and Why Central America is Sinking

As noted in Patomaki and Teivainen's piece, Critical Responses to Neoliberal Globalization in the Mercosur Region, SERPAJ was one of the only organizations that has provided continuous aid to Argentina. They have worked in conjunction with other groups to promote Christianity and human rights in Latin America since the its formation in 1974 by its president, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, who won the Nobel Prize for peace six years later. For blog entry numero dos, I decided to look further into this group.
They operate in many countries throughout the region, including Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Colombia, El Salvador and Uruguay. Their program called Education for Peace and Nonviolence aims to "disseminate the methodology of nonviolent action for individuals, sectors and communities to achieve a break liberating oppressed and groups of people originating with capacity to transform their reality." They are funded by churches and other local rights-relief groups. So whats the problem?
In the spirit of neoliberalism, the economic actions of individuals are (supposedly) largely based on self-interest. By this logic, the contributions that come to groups like SERPAJ are from those who expect some sort of reparation. Non-profit groups in their nature pass along their earnings to the underprivileged, the lowest shelf, people who don't have the resources to contribute to such groups. This explains means two things; that eventually those donors will realize their actions have no positive repercussions, and that Central/South America is doomed. With a near-defunct political climate and multinational corporates controlling just about every corner of industry, groups such as SERPAJ can only fight so much before they cannot afford to operate any longer.
Of course, this is all assuming that neoliberalism keeps it's hold on the region, or that the principles under which it operates are even true. Our best hope is for international support. For more information visit Here you can contact the organization, make donations, and save Argentina.

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