[acn-l] [nia-net] BIOD: Darien Gap Road (fwd)

peter.unmack at ASU.Edu
Wed, 03 Dec 1997 11:54:26 -0700 (MST)

Of interest

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 02 Dec 1997 19:15:39 -0200
From: Paulo A. Buckup <buckup at omega.lncc.br>
To: nia-net at inpa.gov.br
Subject: [nia-net] BIOD: Darien Gap Road

James Albert has been posting several articles to this list that I generally
wellcome, even though they are not directly related to ichthyology. I
generally agree with the conservationist viewpoints expressed in those
articles, including those on the destruction of the Amazon forest which
occurs in my country. However, I strongly disagree with the one below. I
think that it is a great shame for our society and humanity in general that
North and South America must remain isolated from each other by 54 miles.
Yes, the road may cause havoc in that stretch of the Neotropical world, but
that's insignificant compared the impact that such a connection would have
in all our lives and on everyday life in the Americas. Perhaps a few
thousand people might move into the area between Panama and Colombia, but
think of how many hundreds of thousands may die or live happier depending on
whether underdeveloped countries like Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and other
Central, South and North American coutries remain isolated by land. Just
consider which fraction of the hundreds of millions of people may be
affected by a free road connecting our continents... It's a shame that a
conservationist flag is raised to justify the maintenance fo isolationism
among societies. ... If I am not wrong, Panama and Colombia were once a
single country. If societies can justify destructing the Chagres river and
nearby lands to interconnect two oceans (How much biodiversity was lost
there?), why is it so difficult do connect two continents?

This is not meant to start a discussion. I just want to express an opinion
on something that might otherwise receive on one view.

Paulo Buckup

>Date: Mon, 1 Dec 1997 15:15:36 +0900 (JST)
>To: nia-net at inpa.gov.br
>From: albert at nms.ac.jp (James Albert)
>X-Sender: albert at pop.nms.ac.jp
>Subject: [nia-net] BIOD: Darien Gap Road
>Sender: owner-nia-net at inpa.gov.br
>Reply-To: albert at nms.ac.jp (James Albert)
>Potential Darien Gap Road Threatens "Motherload of Biodiversity"
>Cable News Network reports on the threat to the forests of the Darien Gap
>-- 3 million acres of unspoiled wilderness separating Panama and Colombia.
>Completing these last 54 miles of the Pan-American highway will attract
>thousands of poor immigrants looking for land, and all but guarantee the
>clearing of the remaining forest. Leaders of indigenous Indian tribes in
>the gap fear the influx of immigrants would destroy them
>economically and culturally. JSA
>Title: Pan-American Highway's missing link, Controversy surrounds
> effort to extend road
>Source: Cable News Network
>Status: Copyrighted, contact source for reprint permissions
>Date: November 25, 1997
>Byline: Gary Strieker
>The Darien Gap is said to contain a "motherload of biodiversity."
>DARIEN GAP, Panama (CNN) -- Here, where Central and South America come
>together, lies a rain forest containing one of the richest ecological
>regions on Earth. It's also an obstacle to the completion of the Pan-
>American Highway, more than 16,000 miles of continuous road from
>Alaska to the tip of South America.
>The only missing link is a 54-mile stretch through two national parks
>-- one in Panama, the other in Colombia -- that contain the Darien
>Gap's more than 3 million acres of unspoiled wilderness.
>The region is a "motherlode of biodiversity ... (and) ... one of the
>most important tracts of forest remaining in the Americas," says
>Hernan Arauz of ANCON, a private, non-profit organization dedicated to
>the conservation of Panama's natural resources.
>Road completion debated
>Supporters of the highway cite both symbolic and economic reasons for
>completing it. It's outrageous, they say, that at the dawn of the 21st
>century the Americas are still not united because of a few miles of
>missing road.
>But it's an argument ANCON opposes. "We don't need this road," says
>Juan Carlos Navarro, another member of the group. "We don't want it,
>and we will never have it."
>Completing the Pan-American highway here, say conservationists, would
>attract thousands of poor immigrants looking for land and guarantee
>annihilation of the remaining forest. Leaders of indigenous Indian
>tribes in the gap fear the influx of immigrants would destroy them
>economically and culturally.
>Conservationists also point to the nearest stretch of the highway,
>already completed as far as Yaviza, Panama. The area, heavily forested
>only 20 years ago, is now mostly stripped of timber for miles on both
>sides of the highway.
>Many local farmers seem unconcerned by the controversy, saying they
>just want the existing road improved so they can use it in the rainy
>season to get their produce to market.
>Panama's government in no rush
>Latin American diplomats have called for completing the highway, but
>Panama's government, concerned about political and drug-related
>violence moving north from Colombia, seems to have given the project a
>low priority.
>In fact, many Panamanians are comforted by having the Darien Gap as a
>buffer zone on the Colombian border.
>Other factors working in favor of highway opponents:
>* Many Panamanians are comforted by having the Darien Gap as a buffer
>zone on the Colombian border.
>* There's no money for building the road anytime soon, and the United
>States is no longer interested in financing it.
>* Good travel alternatives, especially coastal shipping.
>"The people who still talk about a highway between Panama and Colombia
>were passed by history ... They're dinosaurs," Navarro says.
>So the Pan-American Highway may remain incomplete for some time to
>This document is a PHOTOCOPY for educational, personal and non-
>commercial use only. Recipients should seek permission from the
>source for reprinting. All efforts are made to provide accurate,
>timely pieces; though ultimate responsibility for verifying all
>information rests with the reader. Check out our Gaia Forest
>Conservation Archives at URL= http://forests.org/
>James Albert
>Nippon Medical School
Dr. Paulo A. Buckup Tel.: (021) 537-2679
Dept. de Vertebrados (021) 994-0223
Museu Nacional/UFRJ (021) 567-8676 ramal 211
Quinta da Boa Vista FAX: (021) 568-1352 ramal 232
20940-040 Rio de Janeiro, RJ buckup at omega.lncc.br
Brasil http://www.ufrj.br/museu/buckup.htm