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Prominent Indigenous Environmental Leader Tom Goldtooth Blocked from U.N. Climate Talks

December 09, 2010

One of the most prominent North American indigenous activists attending the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Cancún was blocked from entering the summit on Wednesday, one day after he publicly criticized the U.N. process. Tom Goldtooth, the executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, who had received credentials from the United Nations, was denied entry and then removed from the summit grounds. [includes rush transcript]


This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: One of the most prominent North American indigenous activists attending the U.N. climate talks here in Cancún was blocked from entering the summit on Wednesday, one day after he criticized the U.N. process. Tom Goldtooth, the executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, was denied entry and then removed from the grounds of the Moon Palace resort. John Hamilton spoke with Tom Goldtooth after he was kicked out.

TOM GOLDTOOTH: It was just a crazy day today. You know, we took our delegation over to the U.N. forum and went through the security and swiped my — this card here. And all of a sudden, the whole computer started flashing red. I was suspended. And I’ve seen this happen before, but never thought it would be happening to me. You know, so we found out that, you know, because we were talking yesterday after a press conference, where we were just, you know, talking about what wasn’t happening here in these climate negotiations, and after that, our youth went out, you know, demanding climate justice and to lift up all the issues that we’re addressing — and also it was opportunity for one of the governments, Bolivia, Pablo Solón, who’s the lead negotiator, to come out and say a few words in support of the issues that we were expressing. So, of course, the media was asking, you know, what is the indigenous position on this? So I spoke, as well. It was one of those impromptu situations. It was — people were gathered on the steps of the building. And it was a time for us to talk about the truth. And I didn’t know there was anything that we were doing wrong at all, you know, but it’s something that really struck to the heart of the issues that we’re facing, you know.

Being kicked out of the United Nations climate meeting for telling the truth about the treachery of carbon trading and REDD — and that’s what we’ve been doing is talking about the insanity of the mitigation and solution to climate change based around a market-based system. You know, I’m being censored for telling the truth about the climate fraud being concocted by the United Nations. And how ironic it is that indigenous peoples, who can teach humanity on how to survive climate catastrophe, are being kicked out. And, you know, the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change is the WTO of the sky. So I think it’s that hard-hitting, that truth, that I and our delegation have been talking about. You know, there’s institutions, there’s financiers, the governments of the North — they’re all invested in a carbon market scheme. And here in Cancún, the United Nations climate meeting is selling the sky to the highest bidder, using indigenous peoples’ forests to soak up their pollution instead of reducing emissions at its source.

And the future of humanity is at stake. And the voices of truth are being censored so the world can be deceived. Freedom of speech has been assassinated at this Cancún climate summit. It’s not just me. It’s the youth that were herded up in buses and hauled out. And some of the La Via Campesina were there. We were there to support them and their voice. As indigenous peoples, we’re coming together with the people of the land, of the grassroots. And, you know, we have an emerging movement here in Cancún speaking up. And I think that’s what’s threatening to the movers and shakers of this big market system that’s being pushed down the throats of our communities throughout the North as well as down in the Global South.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Tom Goldtooth. He’s executive director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, was attending the talks until he was barred from re-entering the Moon Palace resort where these talks are taking place. He’s one of the most prominent indigenous leaders at this summit. He says he is headed on to Durban next year for COP17. That’s the Conference of Parties, the U.N. global warming summit, where we are broadcasting from right now.

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