By Jonas Seufert
The room is full to the last seat as Alberto Acosta enters the stage. At the wall, people sit on the floor, another row was improvised directly in front of the stage. Around 250 have come to the ‘Hygiene-Museum’ in Dresden in order to learn about the Buen Vivir by one of its best-known political representatives.
‘Grupo Sal’ is in charge of the framework program for the night, a band made up predominantly by Latin American musicians, who accompany the 20-minute- inputs by Alberto Acosta with music from different regions of Latin America. Indigenous melodies from Bolivia are part of the program as well as afro-peruvian chansons and salsa rhythms from Cuba. ‘Grupo Sal’ want to convey an impression of the cultural influences on Latin America. These come from the continent itself but also from Europe and Africa due to the age-long yoke of colonialism.
Colonialism is Acostas topic as well. The concept of the ‘Good Life’ has its roots in the indigenous world-view of the Andes. Its peoples suffer from the Western model of development until today. The fundament was laid during the colonisation of the continent. Today, the extractivism continues as the mantra of consumption requires steady production and innovation. This is how economic growth is generated, under the precondition of natural depletion and the isolation of the individual in a society of competition.
Buen Vivir, however, is the refusal to that model of development. Harmony with humans and the nature are central values. The human being is more than a simple consumer, he/she is a social being and shapes society. Also, he/she is part of a natural equilibrium and not designated to shape nature according to his/her will.
The Yasuni-ITT- Initiative was supposed to be an expression of these ideas which are included into the Ecuadorian constitution. Contrary to the logic of the markets, the government of Ecuador offered to keep the oil in the national park under the soil in order to protect its biodiversity and the indigenous groups living there. In return they asked the international community for solidarity in the form of a fund. The project failed, also because the former German minister of development, Dirk Niebel, held back money from Germany.
Committed Ecuadorians did not want to put up with this and collected signatures in order to call for a referendum on the oil. The Yasunidos reached the quorum but the government declared the majority of sigantures invalid and applied repressive measures on the organization. Now, the group is organizing an independent referendum to put further pressure on the government and receives solidarity from all over the world.
From Dresden as well, where a small Yasunidos group has formed. They have organized this evening and explain the necessity of solidarity action, also from Germany. In the break, donations baskets are passed around, a foto of solidarity is taken outside. ‘Keep the oil in the oil’, one can read on the banners and ‘we are all Yasunidos’. This is also Acosta’s view: „we as society of human beings have to decide how we want to live together. When will we succeed in changing the world?”