ECUADORPublished by MAC on 2007-05-17
COMMUNITIES SAY NO TO MINING DIALOGUE IN ECUADOR CUENCA, ECUADOR
17th May 2007
National Coordination for the Defense of Life and Sovereignty
The so-called Mining Dialogue was rejected by the communities of Southern Ecuador belonging to the NATIONAL COORDINATION IN DEFENSE OF LIFE AND SOVEREIGNTY. Delegations from Molleturo, Abdón Calderón, Luz y Guía, Tres de Noviembre, Carmen de Pijilí, Tarqui, Victoria del Portete, Girón, Sigsig, Chordeleg, Gualaceo, Gualaquiza, and of the Campesino Popular Coordination, arrived marching to the CREA (Center of Economic Reconversion) of Azuay y Morona Santiago, and proceeded to take over the installations of this institution, from 11 in the morning till 4 in the afternoon this May 17, prevented a scheduled "Dialogue" from being carried out. This wrongly-called dialogue is in reality a strategy of legitimation by the invading transnational mining firms, and an intent to bring the communities to negotiate with them.
After a gathering in the Free Marketplace, the march advanced to the CREA, and in peaceful manner, the over 500 demonstrators took over the entrance of the building and remained there, holding banners and posters and singing in rejection of the transnational mining.
The communities demanded the annulment of the mining concessions on the grounds that they are unconstitutional. The very Minister of Mining and Energy has recognized, according to an article published this May 16 in the newspaper Expreso, in Guayaquil, that 99% of the concessions have been given without previous consultation, which in itself is absolutely required if the government is to use the Constitution it is entrusted to enforce to protect the rights of its people against the expansionist goals of the transnational mining firms, to whom the government has already handed over 20% of Ecuadorian territory.
One incident occurred when delegations of Molleturo arrived. The mounted police who were guarding the CREA tried to prevent their entrance, which provoked a reaction of the demonstrators, who confronted the mounted police.
Provincial authorities such as the governor of Azuay, Oswaldo Lariva, were present, as well as representatives from the Ministry of Mining and Energy, but the decision of the demonstrators was to not dialogue with anyone, and they took the lead, and then withdrew in a peaceful manner. Once the objective of impeding the carrying out of the Mining Dialogue was achieved, the demonstrators withdrew in a triumphant march. The decision of the National Coordination is to convocate the communities affected by the megaprojects together in a National Grand Uprising.