MAC: Mines and Communities

Indigenous communities fight Irish coal mining co. over ancestral lands

Published by MAC on 2005-03-27

Indigenous communities fight Irish coal mining co. over ancestral lands

March 27, 2005

By Patrick J. O'Donoghue

Coal mining protestVenezuelan Wayuu and Bari indigenous from the Cachiri communities (Zulia State) have set up pickets outside the offices of the Irish Cano Seco Coal company offices in North Maracaibo's Uni Centro Virginia.

The company is mining coal on what the protesters consider ancestral lands. Brandishing placards saying No to Coal! and Go Home Transnationals!, protesters say they are prepared to fight to defend their lands like their forefathers did.

Cano Seco currently possesses concessions in 5,782 hectares of land in the Perija mountain range.

Environmentalists and indigenous leaders insist they will hold company representative, Irishman Brendan Hynes responsible for anything that happens to ethnic groups living in the Socuy area warning that the Wayuu vengeance code would be employed as a deterrent.

Homo et natura environmentalist, Lusbi Portillo accuses Hynes of threatening to use the National Guard (GN) to force entry into Socuy, if the Wayuu continue to deny access to company employees.

Environmentalists, Wayuu, Bari and Yukpa indians have announced a march in Caracas on March 31 to ask President Hugo Chavez Frias to wrest concessions from the transnational coal companies that want to ravage the Perija mountain range.

Wayuu indian, Jorge Montiel says the demonstration will show whether the President "prefers us or the transnationals."

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