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Photo: Matheus Otterloo, Puno 2009

The Borderless Encounters are one of the richest traditions of the Pan-Amazon Social Forum and express the character of the PASF as a living process that seeks to articulate the distinct expressions of Amazon resistance and construct unity within the diversity of the Pan-Amazon peoples.

Organised since the first PASF, the Borderless Encounters are an opportunity for social movements, organisations, networks and representatives of peoples separated by borders to meet, identify common problems and coordinate joint struggles.

Currently being organised, the fifth Brazil-Venezuela Borderless Encounter will take place on the 29th, 30th and 31st of July in the city of Puerto Yacucho, Amazonas state, Venezuela, and will also be attended by delegations from Colombia and the Cooperative Republic of Venezuela. Another Borderless Encounter going from strength to strength is the one in Rio Madeira, which brings together comrades from Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. This encounter will mainly focus on confronting the environmental disaster caused by large hydroelectric projects, from the perspective of the struggles for compensation, as in the case of the Jirau and Santo Antonio dams in the Brazilian territory, and the struggles to stop construction plans, like those taking place in the Inambary and Paitzpatango regions in Peru. At the end of the Borderless Encounter of Rio Madeira, the participants will go by boat on a five-day trip to Santarém, towards the fifth Pan-Amazon Social Forum in November, further strengthening a tradition of the PASF: the river caravans which are spaces of co-existence, learning, discussion and knowledge.

The theme of large hydroelectric projects will also be central to the Meeting of the Four Rivers, which will bring together movements for the protection of populations living in the regions of Xingu, Tapajós, Madeira and Teles Pires, which will be held in Itaituba next August. Also planned is the Preparatory Meeting of Amazon Women, scheduled for September in Altamira, also in the Brazilian state of Pará.

The regional and gender-specific Borderless Encounters will approve campaigns, plans and proposals for actions which will be discussed at the Fifth Pan-Amazon Social Forum, constituting one of the pillars of a Forum that seeks to be an encounter of various forms of resistance and a springboard for joint struggles of the peoples of the Pan-Amazon.

Translated by Hilde C. Stephansen