Red Soil, Green Gold

Red Soil, Green Gold, Dark Secrets: Part One

The maté gourd empties and watches while the leaves fall into the garden land. There is A ring closed. Once claimed from the ground.

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And under the presidency of Mauricio Macri, with the return of the IMF-regulated policy tareferos differentiate light at the end of the tunnel that is economically troubled. A price was paid by the states for the Russian roulette game of its government together with the currency of the country. The Argentine peso was tied into the US dollar, along with an austerity package was imposed by the IMF. That bundle meant loosened labor rights, further privatization, and budget means for welfare sectors. And for a debt that never led to livelihoods workers paid the price in a province like Misiones. There was A whole nation taken hostage by international institutions and private banks, and when Macri turned into IMF for a $60 billion loan — history replicated.

Roque Pereira remembers the morning when his father, for the first time, brought him along to work. His father was a tarefero, a leaf picker — and from this day on, therefore was his son.

“I was eleven,” says Roque and opens the window in a damp and cool kitchen. He’s at ADT, in, Argentina, or Asociación p Tareferos’ headquarters. He allows in another heartfelt memory from the years on the plantations along with Saturday’s heavy rain. “Weekends equals bad luck for tareferos. No work, and no money. Nada.”
“But without my attempts, with no cuts in my hands and the sweat on my brow — no maté,” he states.
In 2011, then-President Cristina Fernández p Kirchner had Law 26.727 passed through the senate, procuring basic labor rights for approximately a million rural workers, many involved with maté production. These rights contained paternal leave for 30 days minimum wages, and a maximum of eight hours per day.
As also a member of the native and many poverty-stricken minority of Argentina, along with a Guaraní, justice has never looked longer than a word. A remote dream. The reality for those taraferos is that a life marred by cuts from branches along with also a body bent from mile after mile of carrying sacks of maté leaves. Life in the colour of development, an existence at the economic and political bottom.
A New World sprang forth from the ground, and a storm followed closely in its tracks.

Although tareferos started to organize themselves back the ADT union was formally founded in 2011. The Argentine neoliberal economic experimentation had ruined an entire nation and cast thousands, if not millions, of people into despair and temptation. The maté industry of misiones was weakened, and companies had to adapt to a new reality while famine struck the people. The households of tareferos, whose, were left with no livelihood.

“Appearance,” laments Roque,”We have heard plenty of sweet and concerned listeners concerning the welfare of tareferos throughout recent years. But in the long run, it has never been more activity than words.”
“Once more, we — then I refer to the working class of Argentina, and in particular workers in heavy industries such as the maté creation — needed to pay the price for this neoliberal dream that everything enhances, only if you liberate it all and throw it into the market. Well, twice as the turn of the century, facts have proven that the economics wrong.”

The following piece is the first of three installments concerning the creation of Yerba Mate and its cultural and economic impacts of Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay.
“For me, it started like it generally does in this job,” he explains. “After decades of cutting, dragging and carrying, you start to notice the downfall of back and knees. This is the second when my own father, along with other parents before and nowadays, decided he couldn’t provide for his family . He introduced me and had help. Many people don’t have any alternative, poverty in Argentina keeps many kids away from school.”
Roque leaves the window ajar while he collects his thermos out of a cabinet and lighting the gas stove . He pours cold water into the thermos before he fills the kettle. About ceremonies it is in the consumer’s private world, but in industrial practice and the farm areas it is all about roots. About political, cultural and social links that intertwine nature and producers, man and workers, poverty and prosperity. Remove, and the centre cannot hold.
The kettle on the stove steams and beeps. Roque Pereira pours fresh leaves into the gourd and sips using a bombilla, an iron straw. The kitchen fills while he sinks into memories. After a couple of sips, he looks upon the wall where there shows a present from his daughter — a drawing a tarefero with a bent back, carrying a sack of leaves. The burden is visible in the image, the glance Roque Pereira children’s eyes used to find within their family’s sole provider.
“But a lot of the claims of inspections and collecting information concerning the workers, to supply them with newspaper and legality, were never kept.”

For Roque Pereira, who underlines his luck at no more working out in the fields, but at the ADT Oberá headquarters, each accident involving a child is a remembrance of the industry damn roots.

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Pictures were taken and kindly supplied by the author, Klas Lundstrom. 
Three children died in 2013 when a truck carrying harvested and tareferos leaves on its way into a mill not far from Oberá. A nationwide outcry awoke, although it was not initially that kids died in maté nation. There were demands for stricter controls and regulations to crack down on child labor and modern slavery.

The pound paid tareferos, and delivery of maté leaves equals survival. Every sack weighs 200 lbs., which the tarefero carries on his back through thick flesh to a waiting truck. The truck is waiting to leave to get a mill owned by one of the industry’s big guns. The coming at the mill signals the conclusion of the contribution of the tarefero; at the mill, the branches and leaves are vulnerable to heat, dropped on liquid, and dried. The maté is aged for nine months prior to departure for shop shelves. One can purchase a pound of leaves to get a handful of dollars. The tarefero earns 80 centavos per kilo, or $0.01, leaving him with a daily salary of two dollars — assuming that the tarefero stipulates the truck with 2 full sacks.

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In the long run, when its new world order had been created by Colonialism, along with the spiritual mobility limited of the Guaraní, the shamans’ bones ended up six feet underground, in agreement with Christian tradition. In ancient missionary chronicles, the Jesuit priest António Ruiz de Montoya retells the Guaraní’s testaments of the buried shaman’s cries into the night:”Let me out, I can’t breathe down here!”

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“It is all about paving way to get a better tomorrow for our kids, the next generation,” says Roque. “But we can’t do it alone, we need new structures.”

Released at Sun, 01 Dec 2019 03:13:37 +0000

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ADT struggles to create the interests of the tareferos discovered from a situation at the rock bottom of a business. Public outcry in demonstration of skyrocketed maté prices sometimes make national headlines tarefero’s needs for better wages and improved working conditionsrarely make headway.
About the author: Klas Lundstrom (b. 1982) is a self-taught author and journalist based in Stockholm, Sweden.  He started writing as an eleven-year-old trying to cope with the passing of his father. Author of many nonfiction books on, e.g., the U.S. uranium business and its social and environmental impacts, Latin America’s deserted areas, and East Timor’s wander from Indonesian occupation to U.N. colony. He hopes his reporting about the industry will help consumers understanding the business, and so create aware and ethical choices about products, companies, and origin and is a yerba consumer and has lived in Brazil and Uruguay.
“In my family, child labor ends with me,” says Roque Pereira. “My kids are going to college, they educate themselves, and won’t ever function as tareferos. Instruction is the magic charm that’ll violate my family curse.”
The bones of deceased Guaraní shamans used to beautify forest pockets in pre-colonial times, when Mata Atlântica,”The Atlantic Forest,” still stretched out its arms across South America. From modern-day Arabian Argentina into the southern Brazilian coast, the”Atlantic Forest” supplied the continent’s First Nations with a lush diversity of ecoregions to explore, to roam and live in. They persuaded the natives to lead the way into the sacred grounds, After seventeenth-century Jesuit missionaries discovered about these spiritual temples.