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Small producers of San Miguel demand that Harvard halt its operations in the Iberá Wetlands
On Thursday, a group of small producers in San Miguel asked for the timber plantations owned by Harvard University President Drew Faust in the Iberá Wetlands to stop expanding. At the same time, they reiterated their demand that the Institute of Rural Development (San Nicolás Foundation) should remain in the hands of the producers of the communities of San Miguel and Loreto.
A group of farmers and environmental activists delivered a petition with their demands to government officials this morning.
Members of environmental organizations Ysyry San Miguel and Guardians of Ibera, accompanied the claims of residents of San Miguel, Loreto, Chavarria.
At the protest, they denounced the advance of the extractive timber plantation model and the hostile acquisition of territory.
Harvard University owns approximately 86,000 hectares in the departments of San Miguel, Concepción and Chavarria, which are dedicated to monoculture pine and eucalyptus plantations.
“This advance of an extractive business model creates serious environmental and community harm, with irreparable consequences. It’s also causing forced migration from the rural communities, fails to create employment, and increases the rate of poverty in one of the poorest provinces of the country,” they said.
Harvard students have recently released a report critical of what their own university has done with their land.
The conflict has also led to the loss of 3000 hectares of land belonging to the San Nicolás Foundation, which was a grant of land awarded to those who had none and wanted to work it for subsistence use.
“We demand respect for our rights to live in a healthy environment and have decent jobs, as well as for our own self-determination and respect for the will of our people,” the protestors said.