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Let's be like Sydney Possuelo

Let's be like Sydney Possuelo


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By Pablo Cingolani

If I learned something from Possuelo these days from having him here with me, it is what Drummond said and what the Talmud also said in his own way: a man, any man, are all men. Possuelo worked 43 years sacrificed in the jungle and the mark of the environment and its people, the mark of the centennial trees and the Indians -the happiest beings in the world he once said-, it shows, it flows inside him, it it crosses and it exceeds it.


We do not need money, or rather, it is not money we need, it is not even power, we only need what is acquired with power and cannot be acquired without it: the calm and solitary conscience of force. - Paraphrasing Fedor Dostoevsky

In the night between the hills and the communion that wine fosters, the man began to sing. In a fertile torrent, her voice so melodious, let us hear an unrepeatable testimony of being, knowledge and popular American feeling. It was Violeta Parra and it was her Thanks to life. Diamond soul, heart of the heart of the jungle, the Amazon and the one that we all carry or should carry inside: Sydney Possuelo.

I am not going to write in this text about the man who defended and imposed the principle of No Contact for the relationship of respect and reciprocity that should prevail between Isolated Indigenous Peoples and the rest of the dominant society. Nor of the man who undertook the feat of leading the demarcation of the largest indigenous territory in the world, that of the Yanomami, or the one who created, in a single year, more indigenous territories than in the entire history of Brazil. I'm going to write about the person inside that man. I am going to write about the human being named Sydney Possuelo.

I am going to write about the Possuelo-human since, now that it has been revealed to me after a week of living together here in Bolivia, I believe that it is the only way to understand how someone has committed their entire life to a single cause: the unrestricted defense of the human rights of the indigenous people of the Amazon; And how that, like that example of life and struggle, like that testimony of coherence and seamless dignity, can become his best legacy, something that can not only inspire us but definitely teach us something worth knowing.

And to know that this is the secret of life and no other: the audacity to live it, forging a path where one can never get lost because the heart guides him and the feeling of love for others, for our fellow men, even if they are isolated, scared and harassed in the middle of the jungle, illuminates it.

I once wrote about Possuelo who was "the last real world hero." Not only is he, literally, and still is, and his figure will continue to subscribe to legend and genuinely earned glory. But now I want to write that Sydney, the man, the human being, is the most moving and most endearing public person I have ever met in my life - and I met many; someone so pure, so hard and at the same time as fragile as the rarest crystal in the universe, someone capable of moving to tears and moving everyone around them, someone who knows what few know: transmit a message, say something meaningful , convince and move with what he expresses, and not only with his words, but with his gestures, his penetrating eyes, his gift of transmitting.

Possuelo worked 43 years sacrificed in the jungle and the mark of the environment and its people, the mark of the centennial trees and the Indians -the happiest beings in the world he once said-, it shows, it flows inside him, it it crosses and it exceeds it. For this reason, he does not speak as a “bronze” giving a lecture on how he won his battles one by one (although he won them all); He speaks like a tapir, or like a hummingbird, like a being that knows the most hidden corners and secrets of the forest, the caresses of the moon in the middle of the extreme solitude of the mountain, the joy of finding fresh water, the tenderness of a hug with someone who waited 5,000 years for him, the smile of an indigenous boy from the forest. He speaks with the beauty of the one who carries within himself the most shockingly beautiful of all: knowing himself alive and aware of what he has experienced.

Possuelo came to Bolivia invited to give some talks and participate in some meetings with indigenous organizations but he surprised us all, me especially: in fact, he came to bring joy to our hearts, to tell us vehemently that the path of life only ends travel with the feeling and that without love, there is nothing and nothing can be built.

Life lesson size. So far it's hard for me to digest it fully. That is why I write. Because in front of a humanity like that of Sydney that was always open, that was shared without measure, that vibrated and shone to infinity, memory and words can be small, they may be unable to say what should only be felt and keep it deep down the bottom of the heart. But, sometimes, one also forces oneself to transmit it to others, out of faith and community conviction.


I insist, just for that, I write.

On the second afternoon of our stay in Cobija, the capital of the battered Bolivian department of Pando –the one of the jungle, blood and looting, I renamed it until peace between brothers and social justice prevailed-, María, Rabi, Lucio and Manuel presented Sydney with a plate in the shape of a plate that was inscribed:

The Confederation of Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia (CIDOB), the Central Indigenous of the Amazon Region of Bolivia (CIRABO), the Central Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon of Pando (CIPOAP) and the Bolivian Forum on Environment and Development (FOBOMADE) They acknowledge and declare SYDNEY POSSUELO A FRIEND AND DEFENDER OF THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF THE BOLIVIAN AMAZON for his lifelong struggle and for his permanent solidarity in defense of the Isolated Indigenous Peoples of our jungles. It is given in Cobija, Amazonía, Bolivia, on December 15, 2009

Sydney said it there and repeated it to me ad nauseam, so that it shines like a beacon of hope beating within me: I have been given, she said, prizes and gifts by kings, presidents, prime ministers, the united nations. But, he clarified, I will never forget this honor: that the indigenous peoples of Bolivia give me this recognition, it is more important and more meaningful than all the others.

Manuel Lima cried with emotion when he had to speak to him in front of the much-deserved tribute. He cried, as a man who fights and as a man that he is, for everyone. We are all shipwrecked in Manuel's crying because we feel the shock and encouragement that any sensitive man feels in front of the immense human figure of Possuelo. How not to be moved!

Drummond D'Andrade wrote a poem where he warned that one man is all men. I say: that a man who cries for the emotion that makes us communion in the struggle, is also all men. And Manuel cried for all of us who continue to feel that the world can be changed and that the jungle can be saved. As Possuelo he did it all his life and Manuel came in the most beautiful way to ratify it.

I also cry now, when I write down these words. Why not do it if the same energy shakes me as when I lived them? Why not be moved to the end knowing that if we want to save the jungle and change this shitty world we must not only wipe away the tears but warm the blood, prepare to lose everything if necessary and more, give much more than what do we feel and what we always assumed we are, to undertake such a task?

There are only ordinary people who are asked for extraordinary things in dire circumstances, ”Timothy Mo noted in an exceptional novel whose title says it all: The Redundancy of Courage.

That central and uncompromising value for the defense of life, that value that is put to the test by those other values ​​that configure us as a human species (freedom, dignity, respect) is what produces these "unknown heroes of dialogue" , as awarded by the United Nations, which, in short, are those ordinary people - like Sydney, as we should all be - who will always take the first step, who will always be there giving the best of themselves, their gift, their availability to do the world, a kinder and less foolish place, a more humane place less dominated by forces that are alien to us.

If I learned something from Possuelo these days from having him here with me, it is what Drummond said and what the Talmud also said in his own way: a man, any man, are all men.

Save a man and you will save humanity. Feel what beats inside you and you will feel the cosmos.

The meaning, the sense and the secret of life: the conversations that I brought from Colombia and with Restrepo. The three S: the meaning, the meaning and the secret of life.

They teach us when we are children about unfathomable mysteries - a man died two thousand years ago on a cross for us all -, they repress us and they anguish us - the state, private property and the family, Brother Engels would say - they overwhelm us and They impose on us issues that are not our own - consumption, advertising, frivolity and hypocrisy as the norm, violence and war as the rule - and we, those of the south that also exist, those of the jungle, the plains and the Sacred Andes, all of them sacred and vital, perplexed and self-absorbed - we are good people, after all, we have not yet lost humility or naivety - all of us, asking ourselves, in good faith, what are we doing? What do we do in the face of all this, tragic and dark, that I am raising?

Well, my friends, my colleagues, my brothers from all over the world, I want to tell you: let's not get too crazy. 42 years ago, when the world moment cried out for a revolution that with arms in hand would destroy the old and forge a new world of new men, Fidel Castro, in memoriam of Che, who blew himself up by shooting in Bolivia, said that the only thing What was needed to do so was to follow Che's example, it was to be like Che.

And the best of a South American generation followed that example and also blew themselves up and we treasure them in the bottom of our hearts because they are our martyrs, and our brothers in the wounded but never surrendered soul of our peoples.

Today, now, in this moment that you read, that the only thing we want as humanity lacerated by all powers is to save from the world the good and the beautiful that it has always had, its ecosystems and its native peoples, and then we agree that world We want to share with everyone, those from the south and the north, those from the countryside and those from the cities, the formula is simple: we must be like Possuelo, we must follow the unique and transparent example of a person called Sydney Possuelo, a clear conscience and lonely force.

The world cries out for a new paradigm: believe in me when I tell you that Possuelo is a paradigmatic being, a rare bird, one of the few that remain and resist. Defend the Indians, save the jungle. Let's be free, let's be consistent, let's be worthy as Sydney Possuelo is. The rest, really, nothing matters.

Pablo Cingolani, Río Abajo, Bolivia, December 19, 2009


Video: The Toll Chapters 1-3 (July 2022).


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