MAC: Mines and Communities

Another Direct Intervention From Mining Companies In Public Education Systems And Curriculums

Published by MAC on 2005-08-05

Another direct intervention from mining companies in public education systems and curriculums

The Bolivarian University of Venezuela and the Subregion Guajira to change their educational curriculum

By Sociedad Homo et Natura

Venezuela, August 5, 2005

The Technical Training Group is the company contracted by General Carlos Martínez Mendoza, current president of Corpozulia/Carbozulia, to change the curriculum of the Bolivarian University of Venezuela (UVB) and the Subregion of Guajira, with the objective of strengthening "endogenous" projects of coal mining and the binational railway to the Gulf of Venezuela and Puerto América, now called Puerto Simón Bolívar.

The "endogenous" projects planned for the state of Zulia in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela have been structured and based upon the exportation of fossil fuels, therefore the mining, transportation and shipping of coal, and later, natural gas, will define the immediate future and life of the various inhabitants of the state, especially the indigenous Wayúu, Añúu, Yukpa, Yanshituu (Japreria) and Barí people of the border regions.

Anticipating this reality, transnational companies and the Venezuelan government, through the Corpozulia/Carbonzuila and private-state companies Carbones del Guasare SA and Carbones de La Guajira SA have joined together to hire the company Grupo Técnico de Capacitación (Technical Training Group) to initiate a process of changing the educational system in order to promote these changes in the "endogenous" model of production. The technology and industrialization of coal will now be the framework which rules the
educational system in the cities where coal is mined, processed and shipped, and where coke plants or coal-fired electrical plants are located.

But behind this political initiative is the embassy of Brazil, fervant defender of the interests of the company Vale do Rio Doce/Itabira Rio Doce Company Limited, whose president, Roger Agnelli, is a member of the Economic and Social Development Board of President Lula. This mining giant has clearcut hundreds of kilometers of forests, with the financial support of the National Bank of Economic and Social Development (BNDES), not only in the Sierra dos Carajás in the southeast of Pará (Brazil), but in various other countries, where their public relations consultants stretch the imagination by painting their projects with pretty names as "Garden Mines" (Minas Jardín) which General Martínez Mendoza is currently promoting in Zulia.

This company joined with Carbozulia to form Carbosuramérica, whose sole objective is to "promote mining activities in the deposits knows as 'Socuy' and 'Casigua', located in the coalfields of Guasare in the municipality of Mara, and in the municipality of Jesús Maria Semprún, both located in the state of Zulia."

To promote both their own interests and those of their contractors in Manao between Chávez and Lula and to favor of Vale do Rio Doce (Rio de Janiero, Brazil) to mine coal in the Socuy river basin, General Martínez Mendoza is now joining forces with the company representatives in the country as well as the Brazilian embassy in order to launch a media campaign to promote the so-called benefits of "endogenous" coal mining. The hiring of the company Technical Training Group, will be to coordinate the producing curriculum of higher and middle levels of educational system in the universities and schools of the Subregion Guajira as well as various training centers and religious colleges of Guana, Don Bosco and the Bolivarian University of Venezuela.

To General Martínez Mendoza and Roger Agnelli, it doesn't mean much that Venezuela isn't a strategic power of it's coal deposits, which in reality only contain only 8% of the 1.6% of the world's coal contained in South America and the Caribbean, in order to start a educational and economic system that will bury the potential for tourism, fishing and agriculture in the Subregion Guajira. Within 30 years, with freshwater exhausted and soils contaminated, and a society unemployed, with a mining-exportation mentality, it will be very difficult to return and start up these economic activities again.

The changes in the educational system that Corpozulia/Vale do Riio Doce are intending will achieve that even President Chávez will not recognize the order against coal mining which now contains the report that the President ordered, through the creation of a Presidential Comission headed by the Minister of Environment Jacqueline Faría, which stemmed from a march against the coal mining in Miraflores on Thursday March 31, 2005.

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