MAC: Mines and Communities

English translation of introduction:

Published by MAC on 2004-10-15

English translation of introduction:

On 9 October 2004 a gathering was held in the indigenous Wayúu community of San Miguel on the banks of the River Maché in the state of Zulia in north western Venezuela. About 100 Wayúu people came down from their homes in the mountains around the Socuy and Maché River Basins. About 150 others people attended from elsewhere in the region. Thye decided to gather again in Caracas at the seat of government (Miraflores) in the first quarter of 2005 to tell President Chavez and his government: No to Puerto America, no more coal mining in La Guajira or Perija. There is already resistance in the Socuy and Maché River Basins because by the end of 2005 some 350 Wayúu families will be evicted to make way for coal mining by Carbones del Guasare (owned by Anglo American and RAG Coal), Carbones de La Guajira (Inter-American Coal Holdings, N.V.), Carbonífera Caño Seco (an Irish company) and Venezuelan company Carbones del Socuy. The gathering issued a declaration.

(The declaration deals with the impacts of planned coal mining projects on the waters of the region and notes that part of the purpose of the development is to enable multinationals working in Colombia to export coal to the south eastern United States via newly constructed roads and port facilities in north western Venezuela, all to the detriment of local Indigenous Peoples, small farmers and fishers. It states that these projects will compromise national sovereignty and calls of the government of President Chavez to pull out of its agreements with multinational mining companies and abandon the project.)

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