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U.S. Foundation Awards Environmental Prize To Imprisoned Campesino Leader Who Opposed Logging In Guerrero State

LADB Article ID: 53922
Category/Department: Mexico
Date: 2000-04-12
By: LADB Staff

The California-based Goldman Foundation has awarded its prestigious Environmental Award to imprisoned campesino leader Rodolfo Montiel Flores, who has defied efforts by multinational paper company Boise Cascade to cut down several tracts of forest in the western state of Guerrero. The award, one of six presented annually, is intended to give environmental activists the "recognition, visibility, and credibility their efforts deserve," the foundation said. In 1998, Montiel formed the Organizacion de Campesinos Ecologistas de la Sierra de Petatlan y Coyuca de Catalan (OCESPCC) to prevent Costa Grande Forest Products, the Mexican subsidiary of Boise Cascade, from cutting down forests in a region of the Sierra Madre del Sur known as Filo Mayor. Flores said the OCESPCC became concerned because massive logging was causing area rivers and streams to dry up. To protest the cutting of the forest, members of the OCESPCC began to form human chains to block logging trucks, sometimes threatening to burn the vehicles and their cargo of old-growth pine and fir. These actions of civil disobedience slowed Costa Grande's logging operations but infuriated wealthy landowners, who were deprived of royalties.

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