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  1. #1
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    Greetings "Green Team" and all environmentalists!
    This my maiden voyage with you all....
    I am currently living in Santo Domingo, from Canada, on a 3 year contract as high school principal of an International School.

    I want some responses to the following correspondence I have had recently with a for-profit organization out of Los Cocos. I have copy/pasted it directly here.
    Lynn Williams, Director “Mama D.O.C.” Inc.,
    434 NE Buffalo Street
    Portland, Oregon 97211 USA
    25 November 2005
    TO the Director of Definpro, Puerto Plata office:
    FAX: 1- 809 – 320 – 3132
    Telephone: 1-809 - 695 – 8163

    TO WRITE, by courier: BANCO CENTRAL, Republica Dominicana, Officina DEFINPRO a Puerto Plata, Carretera Sosua-Puerto Plata, Playa Dorada, Puerto Plata, Republica Dominicana.

    Central Bank Main Office: Calle Pedro Henriquez Urena, Esq. Leopoldo Navarro, Santo Domingo, Republica Dominicana. Apartado Postal 1347. Tel: 809-221-9111 Fax: 809-686-7488

    Dear Officials,

    “Mama D.O.C.” Inc. is a US federally registered non-profit (NGO).

    As director of this organization, I affirm that we have been operating in the small costal village of Boca Nueva, the Dominican Republic, and its satellite community, Los Cocos. I affirm the small community of Los Cocos to be worthy of a designation as a “World Cultural Heritage” site. Boca Nueva is a thriving typical rural Dominican village of 4,000 people. It is a “Heritage Village” in that families have lived there for generations, the houses are mostly handbuilt, it is a walking village with few vehicles of any kind, and is beautifully and lovingly landscaped, with gardens, ancient fruit trees and a self-constructed potable water system.

    As an anthropologist I affirm that the people of Los Cocos, who number less than 50 at this time, are living a true Indigenous Costal Taino Life-Style culture, albeit impacted recently by the neighboring Latino-Carib culture (Monte Llano, Puerto Plata). To this comminuty we have donated the pipes for a water system, a bridge which has been rebuilt many times, and other amienities.

    It would appear that the large extended family of Los Cocos has been isolated in this area for some time, insulated from much interaction by a mosquito infested Mangrove Swamp. They were completely adapted to their dune ecology up until a few years ago, when they lost their basic subsistence food: the fisheries, (to overfishing by foreign ships). During these years of my study, they were an endangered culture, faced with degradation of their habitat.

    Today they also face elimination of that habitat, and forced displacement. Along with these people and all their knowledge of rare and endangered medicinal plants, will go the entire ecology, which includes both wet and dry costal zones, and all the wildlife therein. There is no more of this ecology left intact, and it supports animals in abundance, such as the many types of land crabs, food for the rare and beautiful Guaco. A sighting has even been reported of the almost extinct Solenodon, known there as “Uree” or “Oori”.

    In the six years I have been conducting my study, many American invitees have been privileged to visit Boca Nueva and Los Cocos either as teachers or as anthropologists. All have been enchanted. The people are warm and kind to visitors; the ecology, both physical and social, is truly “Dominicana Tipica”. True tourist development is eminently possible without displacing these communities. With the growing interest in more nature-oriented tourism, the gentle development of the eco-zones can happen without destroying them.

    We ask that you respect the rights of the people of Boca Nueva – Los Cocos. We ask that the residents – all of them – be honorably dealt with. If they must be evicted for tourism to progress, then they must be justly compensated.

    Every house should receive a house, and title to that house and the land it stands on, so the people may continue on with their lives in a productive and stable manner. The fruit trees and gardens and yards and natural setting they will lose, need to be compensated for adequately, either by a fair amount of money, or better, lands for household gardens, such as they had before.

    Please show us by your actions that you are an honorable member of the international community under Dominican Law and the Constitution, as well as under CAFTA and The UN Charter on Human Rights.

    Most sincerely, Lynn Williams



    Cc:
    The fraud branch of the World Bank

    The fraud branch of the Dominican Government

    Lionel, the President of the Dominican Republic

    Amnesty International

    World Wildlife Fund

    The International Fund for Indigenous Rights

    Human Rights International, and other human rights and wild animal rights organizations


    end of letter.

    I am interested to hear what "non-interested" parties might think or know about this situation. I would like to get my students from my school involved in this project, but I have some concerns that it may be too politically hot for my school. Then again, the radical in me thinks it may offer the exposure our young people need.

    regards,
    deb

  2. #2
    "Believe it!"
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    Deb, I moved your post to its own thread, so that it doesn't become lost in the long Green Team thread.

    Best Regards,
    Keith R
    Environment Forum Moderator
    & Green Team leader

  3. #3
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    no doubt it will be a hot political issue. Money, especially tourist money, seems to overcome good sense and compassion every time. I truly hope that if these people are forced out, they will be compensated accordingly. It seems that so much of the environment is being destroyed in pursuit of the all mighty dollar, without any consideration for the long term impact for the people and environment.

  4. #4
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    “Mama D.O.C.” ? does she have any relation to 'Papa DOC' ?, Haiti's infamous dictator Francois Duvalier, and 'Baby DOC', his successor, and promoter of the caos Haiti finds itself in today?


    Like Los Cocos, you will find countless quaint, bucolic little villages all around the DR, especially in the southwest, that seem untouched by modern civilization. Once a community is eyed by developers and tourists, there is little any mortal can do to protect it. Actually, paying too much attention can hasten their demise, like declaring them "World Cultural Heritage" by UNESCO. Look at what happened to Los Congos de Villa Mella, and their community Mata Los Indios, where a quasi-religious ceremony was turned into a commercial circus sideshow?
    Development along with the onslaught of tourism is like tsunamis or Cat 5 hurricanes for primitive communities. There's no way of stopping them, and when its over, no member of the community is ever the same.

  5. #5
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    Mirador, I am not surprised that the name Mama DOC conjures allussions to the infamous tyrants, Papa and Baby DOC. I don't know why she has chosen this name. I am certain this was not without knowledge of the lineage to the name.

    Your summary of the history of lost communities in this country validates my sense of the socio/political climate today. I find your point that "attention can hasten their demise", most relivant.

    I am not ready to accept your fatalist conclusion that "There's no way of stopping them." Yet, I will agree that "when its over, no member of the community is ever the same". I will sight Rick's most recent article in the Green Team thread, "The DR & Organics: A Cafecito Story". Is this story not a testimony of how people can effect positive change within the commercial areana?

    regards,
    deb

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