ChDI at COP25. In everything or nothing!
All it took was for the government of Chile, 12 days after the beginning of the popular uprising, to communicate its inability to hold the COP25 in Chile and the decision of the UN, the next day, to move the event to Madrid so that Chileans from Chile Despertó Internacional (ChDI) living in Europe could begin the preparations to have presence at COP25 that took place during the first week of December 2019 in the capital of Spain.
February 13, 2020
Dani (Barcelona) & Leo (Berlín)
The Conference of the Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is an annual meeting where government representatives of the participating States try to generate agreements and channel efforts to mitigate the effects of human action on climate change, mainly to set quotas for reducing CO2 emissions.
Parallel to the COP, as a social response, the Social Summit for Climate (SSC) is held, convened by groups such as: Fridays for Future, Climate Alliance, Extinction Rebellion, among others. During a week, several talks and workshops are held around six main axes 1) planetary limits and climate emergency, 2) economic and financial power, 3) social, environmental and economic justice, 4) political systems and institutionality, 5) intersectionality and 6) alternative actions.
This event takes place in a context where the great global powers continue with the exploitation of the Global South, through the neo-extractivism of energy, material and cultural sources. On a global scale, the exhaustion of natural resources, the loss of biodiversity and the alteration of the biogeochemical cycles that sustain life on planet Earth. For this reason, both the COP and the CSC are especially important events for Latin American organizations that have raised historical struggles related to environmental protection, positioning a close link between social justice and environmental justice.
The pre-COP coordination of Chile Despertó Internacional
All it took was for the government of Chile, 12 days after the beginning of the popular uprising, to communicate its inability to hold the COP25 in Chile[i] and the decision of the UN, the next day, to move the event to Madrid[ii] so that Chileans from Chile Despertó Internacional (ChDI) living in Europe could begin the preparations to have presence at COP25 that took place during the first week of December 2019 in the capital of Spain.
In the same way that the institutional delegations had to change their agenda, so did the CSC[iii]. From that point on and for three weeks, we carried out an intense coordination work between the different assemblies of Chileans abroad and the CSC organizing group. This coordination allowed us to plan in the best way possible: accommodation, meeting spaces, participation in forums, visibility actions (in official acts and in the street), and to create the network necessarily to have a political, cultural and environmental voice present.
Advanced groups began to meet in Madrid at the beginning of December. The first demonstration is carried out by the self-convened Colectivo Chilenxs assembly in Madrid[iv], this was a “funa” at the breakfast of the Minister of Environment of the Chilean government, Carolina Schmidt, outside the Westin Palace Hotel[v] [vi] [vii](5,6,7). Where we also expressed our repudiation of the Spanish governmental entities for hosting representatives of the Chilean government, who were allowing and supporting the systematic violation of Human Rights by the State of Chile.
ChDI takes the Climate March
The most important day was December 6th, at the Climate March. During previous days, collectives and individuals met around the General Workers’ Union (UGT) to prepare what would be our intervention. While we make canvases, banners, masks and the different protest songs that have characterized the struggle in Chile, the comradeship grew, we were all there for the same cause.
After 6pm that day, we went to the Atocha Station, the place where the demonstration began. Hundreds of thousands of people congregated under the slogan “The world woke up to the climate emergency” – in honor to the Chilean popular uprising – in order to 1) demand concrete measures from governments to stop global warming and 2) show solidarity with the people who suffer with special virulence the environmental and social degradation that the neoliberal policies have caused around the planet[viii].
The Latin American organizations, among them the Chilean ones, marched forming the first block[ix] [x]. Without a doubt, it was exciting to witness how various collectives, groups and individuals showed their solidarity with the struggle of the Chilean people during the march. Joining in our slogans, singing songs and raising their hands as a sign of support for the popular uprising in Chile.
Then, in the central act, we made two interventions. The first was to unfurl a canvas from the audience, between the stage where the world’s press was standing and the stage, just as Greta Thunberg was delivering her speech. There, we raised the slogan that declared and denounced that “The neoliberal model, is born and dies in Chile”[xi] [xii].
The second of our actions was to get on the main stage as one of the main organizations of the Social Summit for Climate. There, we sent our support by reading a Manifesto from Madrid to our people in Chile so that they would know that they were not – or ever will – alone, the Chilean who live outside are more united and mobilized for them, since decades. We denounced the violations of human rights, the failure of the capitalist model, the usurpation of natural resources (NR), we challenged the Spanish government for embracing a repressive government and we sent a final message: “… We express our solidarity and absolute support to the sisters and brothers who bravely take to the streets every day. We are here because of you! Thank you for your resistance! Thank you to the Front Line, hold on, you are not alone! From here, we say loud and clear: ¡Hasta que la dignidad se haga costumbre! ¡El Estado opresor es un macho violador!” (speech available in 10 and video in references [xiv]).