MAC/20: Mines and Communities

ECUADOR

Published by MAC on 2007-06-15

ECUADOR

Fourth Day of the National Uprising: NO To Mines and Hydroelectric Projects of Death

It appears that the Government has decided to use the traditional methods to try and solve the mining conflicts that the local populations are confronting. Is it that they cannot, or that they don't want to seek other solutions?

8 June 2007, Ecuador

As previously announced, at dawn of June 5, 2007, members of communities affected by mining concessions began the National Uprising for the Defense of Life and Sovereignty. Women and men of Victoria del Portete, Tarqui and Molleturo in the province of Azuay met with the repression of hundreds of police. The police forces fired tear gas bombs, even into houses. Several persons were arrested and others injured. Being that these are practices that tend to be common only within repressive governments, our organizations were surprised by this unexpected show of force.

Although the police repression was intended to demobilize the population, to prevent the blockage of the highways - they have achieved the opposite. They have managed to exacerbate the matter.

The communities affected by mining carried out a series of actions of the uprising previously announced, to demand that the government respond concretely to the constant offers which come from within the Ministry of Mining and Energy and the very President of the Republic, who, despite having shown openings to listen to the demands of the communities, have not been clear at all in making their proposals concrete.

The below signed organizations, through this communication express our solidarity with the struggle of the affected communities by mining, and with the mobilization called by the National Coordination for the Defense of Life and Sovereignty. We call upon the government to seek concrete and adequate solutions which defend and guarantee the Life and Sovereignty of the communities, preventing companies from continuously trampling their rights.

The communities have taken these methods after a large process of dialogue, of presenting their complaints in many different cases, after sending communication after communication, after involvement in countless meetings. These actions, without the necessary political will and clarity, will only end up uselessly wasting time and energy of the communities.

We do not doubt the willingness of the Government to hear the demands of the communities, but in reacting with the police and their brutal repressive actions only undermines the good intentions that the Government has publicly pledged.

We consider that the mining dialogue proposed by the Government is not the best path to define policies regarding the protection of our invaluable natural heritage, as it is not real nor legitimate to take into consideration the points of view of actors lacking social legitimacy such as in the case of transnational mining companies. These companies have demonstrated themselves to show no respect whatsoever for our campesino, indigenous and afroecuadorian communities. To the contrary, their forms of intervention have injured our national sovereignty.

We are now waiting for governmental decisions which will created a truly open dialogue with the populations and which will satisfy their just demands. We aspire that the Government apply methods found in our Constitution to solve the innumerable conflicts generated by mining intervention. The President has announced that "not one drop of blood" will be spilled on behalf of the mining companies.

Do your job, Mr. President!

ASAMBLEA DE LA FLORESTA - ACCIÓN ECOLÓGICA - ASOCIACIÓN DE CAFICULTORES RIÓ INTAG - ASOCIACIÓN DE CAMPESINOS AGRO DE INTAG - BOSQUE PROTECTOR EL CHONTAL - COORDINADORA ZONAL DE INTAG - COMISIÓN LEGAL DE LA COORDINADORA ZONAL DE INTAG - CONSORCIO TOSÍAN - CONSEJO DE DESARROLLO DE LAS COMUNIDADES DE GARCÍA MORENO - CDHU - CAES

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