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Greenpeace ignores call to help save Venezuela's nature reserve

By Aleksander Boyd

London 10.05.05 | Since the subject of the illegal confiscation of nature reserve Hato Piñero has hit the headlines again I would like to share an exchange of emails between me and Greenpeace. Ilona Groen is purportedly the person in charge of international campaigns of Greenpeace's in its headquarters in Amsterdam and her details were kindly provided by Janice Harron of Greenpeace UK. It must be said that Greenpeace is very well represented among the crowd of callous campaigners that spend their spare time in the high streets, sort of talking unlearned people into the necessity of giving money to protect the environment, stopping climate change and other impossible goals. Reality, as ever, is much starker for when the opportunity to do some real work and make a difference materializes Greenpeace's ship and activists are nowhere to be found nor are they willing, it seems, to collaborate in the effort of protecting nature. One has to imagine that they are too busy climbing the roof tops of politician's houses...

-----Original Message-----
From: Aleksander Boyd
Sent: Monday, March 21, 2005 12:16 PM
To: Janice Harron (Janice.Harron@uk.greenpeace.org)
Cc: hatopinero@branger.com
Subject: Urgent action to save nature preserve and biological station in Venezuela
Importance: High

Dear Janice,

Please find enclosed a letter penned by Andrés Branger, owner of Hato Piñero. I am copying him in this message so that we can all communicate with respect to potential undertakings. My contact details are at the end of this message in case Lee wishes to contact either of us.

Janice Harron wrote:

Dear Aleksander,

Thank you for your email.  I have forwarded this to my colleagues at Greenpeace International & they will respond to you directly.

Kind regards,

Janice Harron.

-----Original Message-----
From: Aleksander Boyd
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 2:02 PM
To: Janice Harron
Subject: Re: Urgent action to save nature preserve and biological station in Venezuela

Dear Janice,

Have you heard anything regarding the Hato Piñero issue?

I spoke to Ilona Groen on March 24 and she said she would look into it. Please let me know whether a decision has been reached.

Kind regards,

Aleksander Boyd

Janice Harron wrote:

hello Aleksander,

I haven't heard anything but I've forwarded your message to Ilona.

best wishes,

Janice.

-----Original Message-----
From: Aleksander Boyd
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 2:42 PM
To: Janice Harron
Subject: Re: Urgent action to save nature preserve and biological station in Venezuela
Importance: High

Hi Janice,

Could you please send Ilona's email address?

Thank you.

Janice Harron wrote:

Here it is Aleksander: 

ilona.groen@int.greenpeace.org kind regards,

Janice.

-----Original Message-----
From: Aleksander Boyd
Sent: Friday, April 08, 2005 16:50
To: Ilona Groen (ilona.groen@int.greenpeace.org)
Subject: Re: Urgent action to save nature preserve and biological station in Venezuela
Importance: High

Dear Ilona,

Have you got any news regarding the Hato Piñero issue?

Has any decision been reached after our conversation of March 24?

Please let me know whether Greenpeace will help with an awareness campaign in that respect.

Kind regards,

Aleksander Boyd

Note: On the 8th of April I also sent the article "The illegal grab of Venezuela's Hato Piñero: owners speak up" to Ilona Groen

Ilona Groen wrote (11.04.05):

Dear Aleksander,

My apologies in the delay of my response - it is a very busy time here. I am checking with the campaigners working on the forests issue if there is something they can do to help.

As I said before, it is slightly problematic that we do not have an office in Venezuela, as national offices are usually more able to deal with national issues like the Hato Pineiro, at Greenpeace International we need all our resources to try to stay focused on coordination of global campaigns and supporting the national offices. If we had the possibilities we would work on every issue everywhere but we have to make choices, and see where we can make the most difference with the least resources....

So, I'm sorry to say that to be honest, from experience I don't think there is a lot we can do for you but let's see what the forest people say....

All the best,

Ilona

Aleksander Boyd wrote (11.04.05):

Dear Ilona,

Many thanks for your response. It is very sad indeed that the involvement of Greenpeace in raising awareness about this issue correlates to whether or not the organization has got offices in the country of question. As stated in our conversation it is very little that it can be done at the local level in Venezuela, where all relevant entities have been already informed.

Hato Piñero's preservation as an exemplary biological reserve depends, almost entirely, on the pressure, that at an international level, can be made in that respect by informing the environmentalist community and other activists of the situation. This can, without a doubt, shed light upon the matter thus helping the rightful owners to continue with their conservationist activities that benefit the world at large. It is in cases such as this that the clout of Greenpeace can make a difference.

In any case I thank you for being so frank.

Cordially,

Aleksander Boyd

Ilona Groen wrote (20.04.05):

Dear Aleksander,

Hope you are well. Again, I am sorry that our possibilities of helping you in this matter are very limited. Please do not misunderstand my email - you must understand that if we had the choice we would help out wherever and whenever we can. Unfortunately we are inclined to take on too much work at a time as a standard, so we are at the moment already forced to look at potential cuts or shifts in the work we had planned for this year. Work that is part of strategies that we have carefully been developing over the last years. I am very sorry, but we absolutely do not have the resources to take on extra work!

If you need further clarification please do not hesitate to contact me. I sincerely wish you all the best in your work for the Hato Pineiro.

Best regards,

Ilona

Aleksander Boyd wrote (21.04.05):

Dear Ilona,

Many thanks for your message. I fully understand Greenpeace's position, truly I do. However I can not bear the thougth that the best ecoreserve of Venezuela and the incredible things that have been accomplished after 50 years of careful planning and sustainable development are going to disappear and without Greenpeace raising the alarm.

I never expected anymore than an article or an "urgent action alert" from Greenpeace. Both things can be done without incurring in extra costs or having to deviate funds destined to other projects. Think Amnesty International tactics here. I am sure Greenpeace has a very large database of people, spreaded all around the world, who have subscribed and lent support to the organization over the years. I am sure you can imagine the impact that asking them to contact newspapers and other concerned bodies at a local level would have to raise the awareness of the issue. Other possibility is that of writing a press release to be sent to Greenpeace's press contacts around the world.

It does not take much really, just an email or a press release. Should you feel that this goal could be attained I am, together with the owners of Hato Piñero, at your disposition to help out in the drafting of the press release.

Best regards,

Aleksander Boyd

End of messages

The last email was not replied by Ilona Groen.



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