MAC/20: Mines and Communities

COMMUNITY LEADER IMPLICATES ASCENDANT COPPER IN DEATH THREATS

Published by MAC on 2007-07-11

COMMUNITY LEADER IMPLICATES ASCENDANT COPPER IN DEATH THREATS

Ecuador,

11th July 2007

http://www.decoin.org/

Polibio Perez, president of the Community Development Council, asked the District Attorney of Imbabura Province that Ascendant Copper Corporations employees be investigated in conjunction to the death threats he has received during the past few months. Mr. Perez suspects that the death threats emanate from Jorge Mantilla, CEO of Falericorp, a company contracted by Ascendant Copper Corporation in 2006, and Fernando Alba - also believed to be presently working for Falericorp. Mr. Alba and Mantilla have been seen in the Intag area in the past few weeks (Mr. Alba may be working for Honor and Laurel, a international private security firm).

The charges in part arise from an anonymous email sent to Carlos Zorrilla by what is presumed to be an ex-Ascendant employee, in which the person says that he has heard that the two persons named above and those of Ascendant were planning on killing Mr. Perez. In his charges presented to Imbabura Attorney General, Mr. Polibio Perez also mentions that during the December 2006 violence against the communities, and afterwards, that he received several death threats and felt unusually threatened. He presented as proof video and photographic evidence of the violence created by the so-called paramilitary force allegedly working under the guidance of Falericorp, and Mr. Alba. This particular extremely violent incident against the communities was financed by Ascendant Copper Corporation, who had hired Falericorp.

In the legal denouncement Mr. Perez charged that at one time Mr. Alba threatened him by saying: if you continue your opposition to mining we are going to have to kill you. Mr. Perez together with his lawyer, Edgar Merlo, asked that the authorities investigate not only the persons named in the lawsuit, but that the investigation include all company employees from Falericorp and Ascendant Copper Corporation.

FALERICORP, its important to point out, was also involved in the violent incidents of November 2006 when another paramilitary force tried to violently make their way into Ascendant Copper Corporation mining concessions in the vicinity of Barcelona. Several small children were tear-gassed in this incident. As in the December violence, the community was able to stop the incursion.

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