MAC: Mines and Communities

Latin America Update

Published by MAC on 2006-03-29

Latin America Update

29th March 2006

This week's Latin American update focuses on Guatemala, where indigenous peoples and farmers organised a national march for land and against mining. The International Labour Organization (ILO) has upheld a claim, made in early 2005 by the Guatemalan Central Confederation of Rural and Urban Workers (CFTCC), that the government did not carry out consultations with local communities when awarding exploration licenses to mining companies in the department of Izabal (Guatemalan President, Óscar Berger Perdomo, is personally connected to people directly involved in those projects).

Also Sandra Cuffe, from Rights Action, raises doubts about the so-called war on drug trafficking in mining districts, comparing the Plan Colombia in South America with the current situation in San Marcos. She highlights the participation of United States military forces in searches for weapons and opium poppy crop fumigations in the same region where the People of Sipakapa maintain their resistance to Canadian-US company Glamis Gold’s Marlin gold mine.

While the community at Esquel celebrated the third anniversary of the mining referendum of March 23, 2003, organizations throughout Argentina and Chile met recently in Mendoza province to carry out the "First International Forum on Mining, Health and the Environment", to unify their struggle against the Andean mining projects at Pascua Lama and Veladero.

And Peru's front-running presidential candidate Ollanta Humala pledged to charge a royalty on mining companies currently exempt from the levy: "The extraordinary profits mining [companies] are currently enjoying must be taxed," said Félix Jiménez, Mr Humala's top economic aide".

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