MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Latin America update

Published by MAC on 2007-05-12


Latin American update

12th May 2007

Peoples' blockades were mounted last week against mining projects in both Peru and Argentina.

The Episcopal Conference of El Salvador has delivered a salvo of criticisms against the mining of precious metals.

A community plan is being proposed to cope with the apparently unremitting consequences of air pollution from the notorious Doe Run smelter in La Oroya, Peru.

A number of Colombian trade union and civil society organisations have expressed outrage at the laying-off of the entire workforce of privatised company, Minercol. Multinational mining giants, Barrick Gold, CVRD and Rio Tinto have all recently opened offices in the country. The magazine, CounterPunch, hammers home accusations of collusion with terrorism by US coal miner, Drummond Coal.

As predicted last week, Paraguay's newly promulgated neo-liveral mining law is already luring Canadian companies to the trough.

Brazil's federal prosecutor's office and Para state's environment ministry have called for Alcoa to be denied a licence on enviornmental grounds.


PERU

Government officials and Social Leaders Strive to Approve Contingency Plan to Address Health Crisis in La Oroya

Press release by Movimiento por la Salud de La Oroya/MOSAO y Mesa Técnica

www.todosobrelaoroya.org

8 May 2007. La Oroya, Peru. In a new socio-political climate, leaders of La Oroya have agreed on the need to approve a contingency plan to address the air pollution.

Dr. Hugo Villa, public health specialist and neurologist of ESSALUD Hospital of La Oroya, stated that the contingency plan would alert the population during periods of higher toxic emissions from the Metallurgical Complex. According to the national regulations for air quality, "The goal of the air quality alert system is to implement measures to prevent health risks and avoid the population’s exposure to toxic emissions,” said Villa.

Villa added, “In the Casaracra Program, we see children of who maitain lead-blood levels between 45 to 50 mg/dL, while the international maximum acceptable level is 10 mg/dL.” Of 60 children tested in the study, the majority showed levels exceeding 45 mg/dL. Five children demonstrated levels that exceeded 70 mg/dL, from the district of La Oroya Antigua, the area closest to the Metallurgical Complex.

Children receive eight hours of medical treatment and nutritional meals as a part of the program of the Ministry of Health in agreement with DRP. The program is located in garden of Casaracra, 9km from the children’s homes in La Oroya.

In October 2006, the Blacksmith Institute of New York named La Oroya one of the ten most contaminated places on earth. A study in La Oroya and Concepción regarding contamination conducted by Saint Louis University indicated that 97% of the population between birth to 6 years of age has elevated levels of lead in their bloodstream.

In this context, Rosa Amaro, coordinator of the Health Movement of La Oroya, and Aníbal Carhuapoma, secretary general of the DRP workers’ union, agree that the Contigency Plan should be approved soon. “With [a Contigency Plan] the population would be better informed to protect their heatlh,” said Amaro.

Mayor César Rodríguez stated that the social climate was more favorable to address the environmental emergency. “There is not as much fear of the company, or siding with the company as there was before with population. It is evident that people have made the decision to work on the enviromental concerns.”

On the other hand in 2006, the former Mayor of Yauli- La Oroya and the Multisectoral Comitee for Socio-Economic and Historical Vigilence questioned the implementation of the a Contingency Plan. DRP stated that the Contingency Plan would not respect the norms of PAMA and opposed any interuptions of company operations.

Carlos Rojas, executive secretary of the Central Andean Region of CONAM (National Council for the Environment), noted that the Contingency Plan would be approved this month if their were no delaying factors. The Plan is being analyzed and discussed by the directors council of CONAM.

Fausto Roncal, of the Ministry Health, gave another reason to move the approval of the plan forward. Since October there has been an alert system. A Ministry of Health official receives real-time information from 5 stations in the city. “However, without a Contigency Plan, we cannot announce the Alerts,” said Roncal.


Anti-Mining Demonstrators Blockade Peruvian Roads

By Craig C. Downer

PIURA, Peru, (ENS)

7th May 2007

At midnight on May 2, farmers from cities and towns across the northern Peruvian state of Piura began blocking major roads to mining concessions to demand the immediate suspension of all mining projects in some parts of the state and the declaration of a no-mining "red zone" in the Piuran Cordillera. On Friday, the main road between Sullana and Tumbes remained closed and there was a fierce battle between police and demonstrators in which hundreds were hurt.

A public prosecutor was taken as a hostage by protestors to exchange for other community protesters in prison. The exchange now has been completed and both the prosecutor and the prisoners have been released, according to eye-witness conservationist Alejandro Zegarra-Pezo.

The latest round of protests was triggered by a recent increase in pressure from mining companies, seeking gold, silver, copper, and molybdenum, particularly Monterrico Metals of London and its Peruvian branch Majaz, as well as the Peruvian government and President Alan Garcia-Perez. The demonstrators are demanding the immediate suspension of all mining projects in Piura's cloud forests and the treeless Andean alpine plateaus known as paramos.

They are also demanding the declaration of a no-mining zone in the Piuran Cordillera, with special protective status given to the habitat of the mountain tapir, a mammal listed as endangered by the IUCN-World Conservation Union. The roads to the Piuran towns of Tambogrande, Valle de San Lorenzo, High, Medium, and Low Piura, and Valle de Chira de Sullana, among others, remain blocked indefinately.

A legal team is inspecting the area to see how extensive the work done by Majaz has been. The communities remain adamant that they are not letting anyone enter their territories, especially miners. This people's movement is requesting the immediate presence and attention of the President of the Peruvian National Congress Mercedes Cabanillas Bustamante, Piuran state ministers, and other high government authorities to accommodate its demands.

Until these demands are met, all commerce in the agriculturally productive Piuran state will come to a halt, according to Zegarra-Pezo.

On May 2, Piuran farmers stopped all work for 24 hours. Apart from demands for higher cotton prices, this strike was a demand to stop proposed open pit mining projects in the cloud forest and paramo headwaters of major river systems serving Piuran farmers, including Monterrico/Majaz's Rio Blanco project. Six people were injured in the protest.

As of Friday, protesters were still stopping the entrance of mining vehicles into their concessions. In Ayabaca province, vehicle routes into the mountains are being guarded by locals to prevent mining ingression. The provincial capital of Ayabaca and Huancabamba have already declared their territories to be nature reserves, and many local communities such as Yanta and Segunda y Cajas located in the midst of the mining concession have done likewise.

Some of these communities, including Andurco, have forbade mining entrance into their territories for years, blocking roads and maintaining a constant vigilance to prevent strangers from entering. This firm citizen resolve has prompted Peru's recently elected President Alan Garcia-Perez to direct his attention to the Huancabamba region. In April, a military contingent entered Ayabaca and marched into the border area with Ecuador, most believe as a way of intimidating the deep rooted resistance to the mining industry's takeover in the area.

The president himself came to Piura where he gave talks promoting the mining projects. As expected, both the president and the mining companies proffer the carrot of money and modern progress by means of open pit and cyanide heap leach mining, while maintaining that such projects are environmentally and socially benign. Monterrico Metals is about to complete the environmental and social impact assessment for its Rio Blanco copper molybdenum open pit cyanide heap leach operation mining project. Early site preparation works are scheduled to start in 2008 and the target date for plant start up and commissioning is 2011, according to Monterrico.

This mine may be allowed to proceed in the heart of the Piuran Cordillera's last cloud forests and paramos, an area proposed for nature sanctuary designation.

If the Rio Blanco mine is permitted, conservationists predict a host of similar mining operations will also be allowed, including an adjacent concession of Newmont-USA, aimed at extracting millions of tons of copper, molybdenum, gold and other mineral ores at what they say would be a devastating ecological and social expense. To Monterrico Metals, Rio Blanco is a golden opportunity for profit. The company says Rio Blanco is "one of the largest undeveloped copper resources in the world today."

A February 2007 feasibility study done for the company shows a $1.44 billion total project cost, and a project payback period in the first four years of the mine's 20 year operating period.

A processing plant is planned next to the open pit mine, and the company plans to deposit tailings from the process plant in an adjacent valley. The copper concentrate would be transported to the port of Bayovar on the Pacific coast, some 800 kilometers (500 miles) north of Lima by truck or possibly by a pipeline yet to be built.

A 175 kilometer (108 mile) power line would be constructed to link the project to Peru's national grid. The project would require the construction of 25 kilometers (15 miles) of new road connecting the project to the Pan American Highway. There is much opposition to the Rio Blanco project. For instance, the community of Yanta is suing Monterrico's Peruvian subsidiary Majaz for illegal invasion of its territority.

Peru's Defensoria del Pueblo, or Ombudsman, Dra Eugenia Fernia Zegarra, has just issued an official complaint to the Minister of Energy and Mines against the national government's allowing mining activities by Majaz in the Yanta community. Among other points, she cited the failure by Majaz to obtain a two-thirds approval of the citizens of Yanta for the Rio Blanco mining project.

International opposition is mobilizing, too. On April 3, some 100 protesters gathered in front of St. Paul's Cathedral in London, in Monterrico Metals hometown, to protest against Rio Blanco. Peruvian community leader Nicanor Alvarado Carrasco predicted major protests and social disruption if Rio Blanco is allowed to proceed. "The Peruvian High Amazon region is not suited for mining," he said. "With its fragile ecosystem of cloud forests and paramos, and its organic agriculture in the valleys, copper mining at the source of important rivers could leave disastrous, long-lasting effects. The development of the Rio Blanco project risks a severe escalation of the mining conflict."

This action was organized by the Belgian environmental group CATAPA and supported by several other Belgian, Peruvian and U.S. groups. Here the more southern and ancient Central Andes meets the younger, more volcanically active Northern Andes, creating diverse climatic regimes and supporting a great variety of species, including many found nowhere else on Earth.

In this area, there are 196 species of mammals, 25 of them considered threatened with extinction. They include such ecologically important species as the endangered mountain tapir, of which only a few hundred still survive in Peru and only a few thousand globally - all within the northern Andes.

One of the world's great centers of bird origin and conservation, this region is inhabited by 439 species of birds, of which 35 are endemic. Nearly one-quarter of them are considered to be threatened with extinction. Some 150,000 hectares (580 square miles) of the most ecologically intact Andean forest and paramo in the Huancabamba region is proposed by the Andean Tapir Fund as the Cerro Negro Nature Sanctuary.

This mid-elevation to high-elevation Huancabamba ecosystem is the headwaters for the Piura and the Chira rivers running to the west and for the Mara?on and the Amazon rivers running to the east. Thousands of farming families depend upon this river water to cultivate orchards of carob bean, mango, guava, chirimoyo, lemons and avocados, as well as rice, organic coffee and cotton, and many other fruits and vegetables.

These waters replenish major dams such as the Poechos, filled by the Rio Quiroz, and the San Lorenzo, vital for agriculture and hydroelectric power. In another threat to this ecosystem, the Andean glaciers are disappearing at an alarming rate and most of Peru's mountain slopes and valleys used for agricultural production depend upon their steady influx of melted waters.

The disappearance of these glaciers due to global warming is now predicted within decades. This will make the native forests and paramos of the Huancabamba region, as elsewhere, all the more important as water sources for future generations in this most fertile and agriculturally productive region of Peru.

The Rio Blanco mining project planned by Monterrico Metals and Majaz in the Huancabamba's remnant ecosystem could prove to be the tipping point leading to a large-scale ecological unraveling and desertification in northwestern Peru, as many other mining projects will likely follow.


Yanacocha's ore extraction cut in half

BNAmericas

By Pablo Gaete

9th May 2007

Ore extraction at the Yanacocha gold mine was slashed roughly in half on Wednesday afternoon after local contractors trespassed onto the site, interfering with operations, said Omar Jabara, director of media relations for Yanacocha majority owner Newmont Mining.

"Dozens" of outsourced workers arrived at Yanacocha's La Quinua pit Wednesday demanding additional work. As a result the company stopped activities at the pit to ensure the safety of workers on duty, Jabara told BNamericas. The incident is unrelated to the suspension of talks announced Monday (May 7) resulting from the Yanacocha workers union's rejection of a company pay offer.

La Quinua produces roughly half of Yanacocha's output, which in 2006 reached 2.62Moz/y of gold. The other areas of the mine remain unaffected, the spokesperson said. However, Yanacocha has still been producing gold at normal levels due to stockpiled ore, Jabara said.

Since the start of the incident, law enforcement representatives from Cajamarca department, where the mine is located, began negotiations with the trespassers, Jabara added.

The Peruvian mine is 51.3%-owned by Newmont, while 43.7% is controlled by local miner Buenaventura and 5% by the International Finance Corporation.


EL SALVADOR

LET US ALL CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME

Announcement by the Episcopal Conference of El Salvador over the mining operations of gold and silver

May 2007

http://www.iglesia.org.sv

Our small country is the place where God the Creator has called us to life. This is the part of the world that He has trusted us to care for and use according to His will: "Go to the earth and care for it" (Genesis 1, 28). But this blessed land which we love with all our hearts is suffering a growing and merciless deterioration. We are all responsible to conserve and defend the earth because the environment is the "home of all of us" -- of ourselves and of our future generations.

From this perspective of faith we would like to share with you our pastoral vision over a problem which concerns us deeply: The possibility of authorization of mining operations for precious metals, both open pit and underground, in the northern zone of our country.

The experiences that brother and sister countries who have permitted this type of mining exploitation are living through is truly sad and lamentable. The bishops of these countries have raised their voices. And we also want to lift our voices, before it is too late.

The reasons for our concern are the following:

1. It is more and more proven that this type of mining operation causes irreversible damages to the environment and nearby communities.

2. People suffer serious health problems principally due to the use of cyanide in large quantities for the extraction of gold and silver.

3. The water which is used in the process of extraction of these minerals is inevitably contaminated, setting forth an irreversible process of contamination of subsurface waters and of the rivers which little by little will cover a large part of the national territory.

4. The contamination will also cause grave impacts upon the flora and fauna, and extend to agriculture, livestock and fish.

5. In a country so small and populated such as ours, the negative effects will thus be multiplied.

For these reasons we affirm that because it is a danger to human life, and in spite of some economic benefits, the exploration and mining of precious metals should NOT be permitted in El Salvador. There is no material gain which can be compared to the value of human life.

We know that the Government has pronounced itself publicly to affirm that it will not authorize this type of operation. As pastors in service to the Salvadoran people, we support this position.

That God has given us this land so beautiful, we stand forth, so that all Salvadoran men and women will join together in the conversation and protection of life in this blessed earth.

With our blessings, we wish all the best in the name of Jesus Christ.

San Salvador, El Salvador, in the Day of the Cross, May 3, 2007


ARGENTINA

Silver Standard and Open Pit Mining on May 7 in Argentina

By El Chuño Press, Kolla Press #6

Jujuy, Argentina,

8th May 2007

Indigenous communities of the Pueblo Kolla, in the province of Jujuy blockaded two provincial routes yesterday to prevent the entrance of provincial and national government officials, mining companies and tourists, among others, on the National Day of Mining. In the face of provincial irresponsibility regarding the many experiences of environmental contamination in the past years, indigenous Kolla communities decided to blockade the two routes leading to the Pirquitas mine, site of the celebration that was to be carried out on the Day of Mining and Death in the territories of aboriginal people.

Silver Standard Corporation through its subsidiary Sunshine Argentina, plans to invest $150 million for an open pit mining operation in Kolla territory. In Liviara, over 60 persons, among them communeros (community leaders) and teachers, blockaded the route to demonstrate to society in general this violation of the rights of indigenous people. Stones were thrown at the convoy headed by the director of the Pirquitas Mine, a Mr. Sotelo, and they had to turn around and flee to where they came. This was the consequence of the lack of respect from the company Sunshine Argentina, which for the past two months has been underestimating, deceiving and operating with disdain for the community. Today the Pueblo Kolla is in a high state of alert and mobilization.

National senator Liliana Fellner, sister of provincial governor Eduardo Fellner, after insulting our brothers and sisters in the other blockade, located in the Coranzuli-Pirquitas-Coyaguayma crossroads (where eventually the vehicles were to pass), and due to the exodus of leaders, led the oficial ceremony in Mina Pirquitas in a hardly comfortable context. The senator passed through Liviara upon her return, and cried later that the communeros had in a friendly way made her see the reality of the Kolla communities, the negative environmental legacies and more than anything, the irresponsibility of the Secretary of Environment of the province.


PARAGUAY

Canadian companies seek joint ventures

BNAmericas

10th May 2007

By Harvey Beltrán

Several Canadian companies are in talks with Paraguayan mining companies holding concessions in the South American country with the goal of creating joint ventures for mining development. "Three local companies hold concession contracts and we know they already have some important contacts with junior companies from Canada," Paraguay's deputy mining minister Héctor Ruiz Díaz told BNamericas.

The Paraguayans are: Minas Paraguay, which explores several gold areas in the Paso Yobai zone of Guairá department; Minera Guairá, exploring in the same department; World Mining, a gold explorer in southern Itapúa department.

The deputy minister believes that Canadian companies have chosen Paraguay thanks to the new legal framework and security offered by the mining law, which was recently approved by the nation's congress. The new legal framework creates a much more competitive scenario which aims to show that Paraguay has mining potential, Ruiz said.

"We have mineral resources and great prospects thanks to the strong evidence of metallic and non-metallic mineral deposits," he said. The country anticipates capturing high-risk investment in the best way possible, backed by the handful of clear rules and guidelines the investor demands, Ruiz said. "We hope that with all of these steps, the sector - which is stagnant - will manage to travel the same path that other countries in the region are taking."

Canadian companies already operating in Paraguay include diamond explorer Rex Diamond Mining and Morrison Mining, which has discovered areas with nickel and platinum.


COLOMBIA

URGENT! ILLEGAL FIRINGS OF ALL WORKERS AT THE STATE MINING COMPANY “MINERCOL LTDA.” ON MAY 1, THE URIBE GOVERNMENT LAID OFF ALL REMAINING WORKERS AT MINERCOL.

IN HIS INTERNATIONAL TRAVELS, URIBE SAYS THAT HE PROHIBITS CRIMES AGAINST UNIONISTS, THAT HE DOES NOT PERSECUTE UNIONISTS OR DESTROY UNIONS. MEANWHILE, HE FIRES ALL OF THE REMAINING WORKERS AT THE STATE MINING COMPANY, TRYING TO SILENCE THE VOICE OF OUR UNION. WE HAVE BEEN LEADING THE CAMPAIGN TO DENOUNCE THE FOREIGN MINING COMPANIES IN COLOMBIA AS THE PERPETRATORS OF A SIGNIFICANT PART OF THE MILITARY AND PARAMILITARY VIOLENCE AGAINST THE COLOMBIAN PEOPLE. WE CALL URGENTLY FOR SOLIDARITY FROM DEMOCRATIC, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND SOCIAL ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE WORLD. DO NOT ALLOW THIS NEW CRIME BY URIBE AND HIS MULTINATIONALS TO GO UNPUNISHED.

FACTS:

1.- Today is the 11th anniversary of our struggle for national sovereignty over our mining and energy resources, against the privatization of public enterprises, for the defense of Human Rights in Colombia. The cabal made up of Colombian President Uribe and the governments and multinationals of the developed countries decided to destroy our union, in an act typical of a totalitarian government.

2.- The campaign to eliminate us began in 1996 when the Mining Code proposal stated openly that the World Bank had ordered the closure of the state mining company. Thus began a period of intense struggle on our part to avoid this development. Our goal is to preserve our natural resources for the next generations, and to defend humankind from the depredations of the criminal model of capitalism, that has used corruption and violence to loot the resources, the lives, and the future of the inhabitants of the so-called Third World. Then the Canadian governmental agency CIDA, along with the NGO CERI, the Colombian government, and the CEMEX, HOLCIM, ARGOS, and Ladrillera Santafé cement companies, developed a new Mining Code proposal, and propelled its approval. The new Mining Code forced the closure of MINERCOL Ltda., and it has created major conflicts with peasant, Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities as it has tried to bury our country’s dream of establsihing political sovereignty over its mining and energy resources.

3.- As it has carried out its campaign for national sovereignty over our mining and energy resources, SINTRAMINERCOL has been the victim of the kidnapping of two of its officials, of 7 assassination attempts against its president, of death threats and continuing harassment against the members of its executive board, of searches and a bombing of its headquarters, of all types of violations of the fundamental and labor rights of its members, and of massive and illegal layoffs.

In addition to President Uribe and the former and current Mining Ministers, two Minercol officials have been behind many of these acts: Eduardo Arce Caycedo, the official in charge of the liquidation process, and Mónica P. Illidge, the Administrative Coordinator. These two individuals have violated the Constitution and the Collective Bargaining Law. They have threatened Sintraminercol’s leaders and begun illegal proceedings to speed up the closing of Minercol Ltda.

4.- The decision to fire all of Minercol’s remaining workers, ignoring their union rights, and without permission of a labor court, violates the express prohibition laid out by the Constitutional Court, which prohibits union leaders and workers protected by union guarantees unless ILO requirements are met. It shows total disrespect for the Constitution, the law, and ILO agreements. It shows the fascist direction in which the Colombian state is moving.

REQUESTS

We request that the Colombian state guarantee the respect for the Constitutional rights of all of Sintraminercol’s members, and the immediate reinstatement of all of Minercol’s workers. We request an immediate end to the criminal persecution being carried out by state security officials and agencies.

We request that the Colombian government and the representatives of the multinationals that exploit Colombia’s mineral resources halt their policy of extermination and dismantling of union organizations, that they respect the law and our country’s Social State of Law.

We request that the governments of Canada, Mexico, the U.S., and Switzerland, as well as civil society, the Congress and Parliaments of these countries, begin a Truth, Justice, and Reparations process to uncover the roles that these governments and their multinationals have played in the destruction of the social fabric of our union, Afro-Colombian, indigenous, and other organizations that have been the victims of these governments and multinationals.

A la Fiscalía General de la Nación para que investigue la todas las violaciones a la ley penal por parte de funcionarios estatales, de multinacionales y de los grupos militares-paramilitares, que han atentado contra los afiliados y la infraestructura de SINTRAMINERCOl; para que inicie investigación sobre las irregularidades que se presentan en la liquidación de MINERCOL LTDA., sobre las conductas punibles cometidas por MONICA P. ILLIDGE Y EDUARDO ARCE CAICEDO.

We call upon Colombia’s Attorney General to investigate all violations of the law by state officials, multinationals, and the military-paramilitary groups that have attacked Sintraminercol’s infrastructure and members. We further call upon the Attorney General’s office to investigate the irregularities committed in the process of Minercol’s liquidation, and the crimes committed by Mónica P. Illidge and Eduardo Arce Caicedo.

We call upon Colombia’s Public Prosecutor to guarantee respect for the Constitution and for Sintraminercol’s members.

That social organizations all over the world:

1.- Carry out peaceful protest actions against Colombian consular and diplomatic offices demanding an end to the repression against Sintraminercol, and the immediate reinstatement of the workers who were fired.

2.- Call for the suspension of imports and new contracts with the multinationals and the Colombian monopolies that are implicated in the repression against Colombian social organizations.

3.- We call upon the workers at these companies to carry out protest actions calling for an end to the repression against Sintraminercol and the immediate reinstatement of the workers who were fired.

4.- Demand that the U.S., British and Israeli governments halt all military aid to Colombia. The Colombian government is implicated in serious human rights violations, and the aid is aimed at protecting the economic interests of the donor countries’ multinationals.

ENDORSING ORGANIZATIONS:

SINTRAMINERCOL, SINTRAMIN, FENALTRASE, FENASINTRAP, FUNTRAENERGÉTICA, CUT DIRECTIVA BOGOTA Y CUNDINAMARCA, CUT DEPARTAMENTO DE DERECHOS HUMANOS, SINTRAELECOL COSTA ATLÁNTICA, SINTRADEPARTAMENTO ANTIOQUIA, UNEB, USO, ASOCIACIÓN ECATE, NOMADESC, ACACEVA, SINTRAENTEMDICCOL, CAMPAÑA PROHIBIDO OLVIDAR, SINTRAMIENERGETICA SUBDIRECTIVA EL PASO, ORGANIZACIÓN WAYUU MUNSURAT.

Bogotá, Colombia. May 2, 2007.

Please send messages to the Colombian authorities, the multinationalis, and the Embassies of Colombia, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, and the United States, with a copy to Sintraminercol.

Ambassador of Canada en Colombia
Carrera 7 #115-33 piso 14
Telf: 57-1-6759800 Fax: 57-1- 6579912. E-mail: bgota@international.gc.ca

Ambassador of Switzerland in Colombia SR. Thomas Kupfer
Carrera 9a No. 74-08 piso 11. Bogotá Colombia. Teléfono 57-1-3497230. Fax 57-1-2359803.

HOLCIM (Colombia S.A.) Calle 114 No. 9-45 Torre B piso 12 Bogotá Colombia. Teléfono (57-1) 6295558 o al Fax (57-1) 6294629.

The Chief Executive, HOLCIM, Hagenholzstrasse 85, CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland.

CEMEX
Calle 99 No. 9 A-54 Piso 7
Teléfono: 57-1-603 9000
Fax: 57-1-646 9000

Ladrillera Santafé
Cra. 9 No. 74-08 Of: 602
Teléfono: 57-1-319 0330
Fax: 57-1-2118766
E-mail: santafe@santafe.com.co

Presidencia de la República
Dr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Cra. 8 No..7-26, Palacio de Nariño, Santa fe de Bogotá.
Fax: (+57 1) 566.20.71 E-mail:

Vicepresidencia de la República
Dr Francisco Santos E-mail:fsantos@presidencia.gov.co

Ministro de Minas y Energía
Dr. Hernán Martínez Torres, Transversal 45 No. 26-86 Bogotá. Teléfono (57-1) 324 5262 email: minas.energia@minminas.gov.co

Ministro de Protección Social.
Dr. Diego Palacio Betancourt
Carrera 13 No. 32-76 Piso 22 Bogotá D.C. Teléfono 57-1-3365066 Fax 57-1-3360182. E-mail: Dpalacio@minproteccionsocial.gov.co

Procuraduría General de la Nación
Dr. Edgardo José Maya Villazón. Carrera 5 No. 15-80 Bogotá. Fax: (+57 1)342.97.23. E-mail: reygon@procuraduria.gov.co anticorrupcion@presidencia.gov.co

Fiscal General de la Nación.
Dr. Mario Iguaran. Diagonal 22B #52-01 Bogotá, Fax: 57-1-5702000 ext. 2017 o 2019. e-mail:

Defensoría del Pueblo
Dr. Volmar Antonio Pérez Ortiz. Calle 55 No. 10-32 Bogotá. Fax: (+571) 640 04 91. E- mail:secretaria_privada@hotmail.com

Permanent Mission of Colombia at the United Nations in Geneva
Chemin du Champ d'Anier 17-19, 1209 Geneva. FAX: (+4122)791.07.87; (+4122)798.45.55. E-mail mission.colombia@ties.itu.int

SINTRAMINERCOL: (New address) Diagonal 33 No. 13A-26, Bogotá. Phone and Fax (57-1) 5612829 e-mail: sintrami@telecom.com.co


Taking It to Drummond: Paramilitaries and Mining Companies in Colombia

May 5 / 6, 2007

By STEPHEN F. JACKSON

Counterpunch Weekend Edition

http://www.counterpunch.org/

He in his signature "guayabera" and me in my gringo cowboy shirt, we perch in the salubrious, tropical breeze of the Caribbean night in Cartagena, palm trees rustling over the veranda of the colonial restaurant. Gabriel Garcia Marquez tells me that "Colombia is immersed in a holocaust of Biblical proportions."

Valmore Locarno would attest to that. Victor Hugo Orcasita would attest to that. Gustavo Soler would attest to that. The problem is the Colombians are all deadslain, execution style. Assassinated in 2001 by the right wing paramilitary because they were union leaders at the coal mines of Drummond Limited in northeast Colombia. A controversial civil lawsuit charges that the hitmen were hired by Drummond ---or at least that is what a Washington, DC labor attorney claims. His cross-town rival, from James Baker's law firm, begs to differ.

"If you hire the Mafia and they kill someone then you are responsible" is the common sense approach, posits Terry Collingsworth, a Colombia labor union lawyer based at the International Labor Relief Fund in DC. Drummond is mired in the tar baby called Colombia. Chiquita Banana got out -shaking off the tar, and paying a hefty price- $25 million. Drummond is sinking, sinking deeper into the Colombia quagmire, ironically piling up record profits from its worldwide coal sales, Israel its number one customer. Domestically, the Southern Company is one of numerous US energy customers of Drummond. Generous campaign donations from Drummond to both presidents---Bush and Alvaro Uribe of Colombia---will probably not stave off the inevitable---an embarrassing and revealing jury trial for wrongful deaths in a US Federal Court in its corporate hometown set July 9. Labor's legal weapon is the recently resurrected 1789 Alien Tort Claims Act which permits foreigners to sue US corporations and citizens for alleged wrong acts abroad.

The first week of May in Washington, both president Uribe and Colombia's special prosecutor are in town. Uribe seeking US funds and support for a free trade agreement and Plan Colombia. The independent prosecutor, Mario Iguaran, seeking to inform US officials about his investigation of alleged ties between the Colombia-outlawed, left-wing and right-wing cadres---both deemed terrorists by the US. Iguaran is particularly interested in the rampant---with impunity---killings of Colombia unionists and the nexus between the right-wing paramilitary, the Colombia government and military, and US multinationals, especially the Chiquita Brands case and the murders of the Drummond Three.

The Colombia government March 20 announced an investigation into charges that the Birmingham, Alabama-based Drummond "aided and abetted" paramilitary to kill the three union members in 2001. "What we are seeing is some private businesses that recruit paramilitaries, aware of their conduct to kill," Iguaran tells journalists in Bogota. That same day in a US Federal Court in Alabama, the judge permitted the deposition of the Colombia Canary to go forward if the key witness is not murdered first.

"I saw Drummond's top man in Colombia, Augusto Jiminez, pass a briefcase full of about $200,000 to the right wing paramilitary headed by Jorge 40 (Rodrigo Tovar Pupo) with the orders to kill the two workers ," Rafael Garcia told a LatinAmericanPost.com journalist from his prison cell in Bogota. Garcia is doing time for manipulating computer date in his former job as a Colombia government intelligence official. Garcia is singing and swearing.

"I know the relation of Drummond with the Bloque Norte paramilitary," claims Garcia, a former Colombia intelligence officer, imprisoned for erasing computer data on right wing paramilitary. "Drummond paid the Bloque Norte to supposedly guard its transportation of coal from the mine to its Caribbean port. Drummond paid a terrorist group for safe passagefor protection! "The paramilitary has secret employees at Drummond's La Loma coal mines," continues Garcia in his private prison cubicle where he is enduring fears of being rubbed out. "Drummond knows who they are, but the other workers do not. "Drummond also hires private security who are members of the paramilitary and Drummond knows they are part of the paramilitary," avers Garcia under oath . Drummond, Garcia charges, in cahoots with the Uribe administration, also was involved in the questionable takeover of a nearby oil concession from Llanos Oil.

"I can also tell you that there were two times that the paramilitary affixed shipments of cocaine to the bottom of the boats used by Drummond to send its coal to Europe, Israel, and the US," offers Garcia, adding, " I will go to hell to testify if provided protection for me and my family."

"Liesdamnable lies" is the tag put on the allegations by Drummond attorney Willliam Jeffress, Jr, also on the legal team of Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Jeffress' Baker-Botts law firm was rebuffed by the US State Department where it sent Ignacio Sanchez to lobby State to have the federal killings case dismissed on grounds of political action theory and international comity, unsuccessfully arguing a public trial could have an adverse effect on US foreign policy. He vows, if Drummond loses, to take the case to the US Supreme Court to test the constitutionality of the erstwhile obscure ATCA. Washington's Plan Colombia -millions in US aid- is a lurking issue in the Drummond predicament. The intrigue surrounding the case begs the specific application of the Leahy Amendment. Sources expect a closer look by the Vermont Senator, alarmed by the fact that Drummond has admitted in a deposition that it pays the Colombia military for security at its coal mines, nicknamed Camp Drummond due to the military and security build-up.

Washington also comes in to play with the involvement of warring factions in Colombia's interminable civil war and in the volatile tensions surrounding Drummond coal mines. Both the right wing paramilitaries and the left wing Communist insurgents are officially declared "terrorists" by the US government. "We are under constant threats from the paramilitary and 'sicarios' (hired assassins) while Drummond has the Colombian army---backed by US funds---guarding its La Loma facilities and we (union members) are left to fend for ourselves," says Omar Estupinan, a union local officer.

Fernando Leyva Duran , publisher of LatinAmericanPost.com in Bogota, says Colombia is in the midst of a severe political crisis involving collusion and corruption by government officials and the paramilitary. "If it is not the narcotraffickers that destabilize Colombia, it is the left-wing armed guerrilla," says Leyva. "And now it appears the right wing paramilitary is causing great damage to our society.

"We need to find a way for this surge of multinational corporation investment to work to the advantage of all Colombians," says Leyva, "or Colombia will fall under the sway of Chavez."


Govt: Mining law changes seek to free up land

BNAmericas, By Harvey Beltrán

4th May 2007

Modifications that the Colombian government is making to the country's mining law aim to free up areas that are being used for speculative purposes, the country's mining director, Beatriz Duque, told BNamericas. The changes affect 18 articles and seek - among other things - to apply a royalty payment at the time land is requested, expand technical and financial requisites and strengthen auditing procedures, the executive said.

The government decided to apply the measures as there are often no areas available when companies express interest in exploration as the land is in the hands of speculators who keep the property inactive. "As a government, we want to avoid that. We want companies that are truly interested in exploring the territory and then moving to develop mining projects," Duque said. The changes are also focused on improving labor conditions, clearing up some issues regarding construction materials and expanding public works.

As to what will happen to areas that were awarded and have not been developed, Duque said that "the issue will be resolved with time."

INSTALMENTS

The bill has already been submitted to Colombia's congress, which will hold talks to allow for broad discussion of the proposals among all sectors.

"We hope to organize at least two discussions about the bill during the first half and additional talks in the second half of the year," Duque said.

INVESTORS

There are currently several mining companies that wish to invest in the country and Brazilian mining and metals group CVRD recently opened an office in the country, as did London-based senior Rio Tinto and Canada's Barrick Gold, according to Duque.

In 2006, Colombia's mining sector picked up 32% of foreign investments in the country with close to US$2.1bn, "and we know that a large amount of that figure is being tagged for exploration," Duque said.


BRAZIL

Prosecutor states that impacts caused by Alcoa in Pará are serious

By Renata Gaspar

7th May 2007

Link: http://www.amazonia.org.br

During a meeting today with the Pará State Secretary of the Environment, Valmir Gabriel Ortega, the State and Federal Public Prosecutors Offices requested cancellation of the environmental license granted to Alcoa to mine bauxite in the municipality of Juruti. In an exclusive interview with the Amazonia website, the coordinator of the State Public Prosecutors Office (MPE) Environmental Center, Prosecutor Raimundo Moraes, explained that the decision to request suspension aims at averting a violent reaction by the local population, which wants the company to leave at any cost, and also to conduct a rigorous review of the license.

Although mining operations are only scheduled to begin in 2008, during public hearings held on May 2nd and 3rd, the community claims that it is already suffering impacts from construction of lodgings for employees of the multinational, a port and a road.

Moraes said, "the impacts are so obvious that Alcoa has not denied any of them. Alcoa said it was correcting the problems and recognized that it does not enjoy good relations with the community". Moraes, however, stated that the problems run deep and will not be set straight with just repairs.Impacts One of the main complaints raised at the hearings is contamination of the waters in rivers that flow through the town.

Technical studies detected the presence of feces coliforms in Jará Lake, which supplies water to the municipality, and data from the municipal health department show that cases of viral hepatitis, caused by ingesting water contaminated by human feces, jumped from 26 in 2006 to 121 in the first four months of this year. The community accuses Alcoa of not performing proper treatment on sewage from the lodging of its employees. Moreover, Incra representatives present at the meetings presented pictures and other documents that prove that the company is conducting deforestation in areas not authorized inside the Juruti Velho and Socó Agro-extractivist Settlement Projects.

Another complaint is the increased expenses of public agencies, which are faced with increased demands for health, education and infrastructure. "If, after the review is conducted, Alcoa can act correctly, alright, otherwise it would be best for them to leave, as we do not need to bear these costs. It is unfair that they keep the riches produced here and we keep the burdens", says Moraes.

The prosecutor believes that the population has shown its lack of trust in the company and accuses the multinational of trying to upset the hearings. "They tried to co-opt leaders, offering 10 jobs to each community".

License

The preliminary license for installation of the Alcoa plant was granted by the State Environmental Council (Coema) in 2005. At the time, the representative of the State Public Prosecutors Office (MPE) voted against the authorization. Soon afterward, the agency, together with the Federal Public Prosecutors Office (MPF), filed a class action suit petitioning for the suspension of the company's activities in the region.

The hearings this week were attended by the coordinator of the MPE Environmental Center, Prosecutor Raimundo Moraes and Federal Attorney Daniel César Azeredo Avelino, who commands the (Federal Public Prosecutors Office (MPF) in Santarém. Members from both agencies also visited the affected locations.


PERU

Yanacocha suspende actividades en zona de la Quinua debido a protesta de pobladores de Río Grande, Cajamarca

| CPN RADIO 09 may| La minera Yanacocha anunció la suspensión de actividades en la zona de la Quinua (Cajamarca), debido a la toma de su campamento por parte de 300 pobladores del caserío de Río Grande, quienes exigen obras de desarrollo valorizadas en 15 millones de soles anuales.

Entre las peticiones se encuentran el asfaltado de carreteras de integración, trabajo a los pobladores jóvenes, quienes viven en los alrededores de la mina, así como una mayor capacitación a los obreros de la zona. Ante las acciones de fuerza, llegó hasta dicha compañía, ubicada en la región Cajamarca, un nutrido grupo de efectivos policiales para resguardar el orden. En tanto, los directivos de la minera Yanacocha decidieron que su personal deje de laborar el miércoles a fin de evitar algún roce con los manifestantes.

Pobladores de Río Grande invaden campamento minero y Yanacocha pierde S/. 3.5 millones diarios

Cajamarca, may. 09 (ANDINA).- La empresa Yanacocha pierde tres millones y medio de nuevos soles por la suspensión de sus operaciones en el campamento La Quinua, que ha sido invadido por unos 200 pobladores del centro poblado Río Grande, informó hoy el gerente de Asuntos Institucionales de la minera, Felipe Ramírez. Señaló que unos pobladores, encabezados por su alcalde Carlos Rojas Rupacho, invadieron el campamento a las 16:30 horas de ayer (21:30 GMT). Esta tarde el número de revoltosos se incrementó a 200.

Ellos piden a la minera, entre otros puntos, que contrate más personal de la zona, que ejecute el asfaltado de una carretera y la inversión anual en Río Grande de 15 millones de soles.

Ramírez señaló que ninguna de las exigencias “arbitrarias” de los invasores forma parte de los compromisos asumidos por Yanacocha y que aceptó una reunión con los pobladores de Río Grande siempre y cuando desocupen el campamento minero.

Respecto a la demanda de más puestos de trabajo, el representante de la minera refirió que actualmente hay 24 contratados en las dos concesiones que operan allí, pero los invasores pretenden tener más de 60 plazas.

“Ninguna empresa contrata más trabajadores de los que realmente necesita. Lo que podemos decirles es que tenemos esos 24 puestos y que ellos decidan si son rotativos o no”, manifestó en diálogo con la agencia Andina.

Agregó que los trabajadores del lugar se dedican a labores manuales de nivelación del piso o al resembrado de ichu en las zonas que están en recuperación.

El representante de la Defensoría del Pueblo en Cajamarca, José Luna, llegó al campamento La Quinua, con el fin de invocar al diálogo y que los manifestantes depongan su medida de fuerza. Los invasores señalaron que no desocuparán la zona hasta que lleguen los funcionarios de la minera Yanacocha.


EL SALVADOR

CUIDEMOS LA CASA DE TODOS

Pronunciamiento de la Conferencia Episcopal de El Salvador sobre la explotación de minas de oro y plata

Mayo de 2007

http://www.iglesia.org.sv

Nuestro pequeño país es el espacio donde el Dios Creador nos llamó a la vida. Esta es la porción del mundo que él nos ha confiado para que la cuidemos y la usemos de acuerdo a su voluntad: "Llenen la tierra y gobiérnenla" (Gén 1, 28). Pero esta tierra bendita que amamos entrañablemente, sufre un deterioro creciente e inmisericorde. Todos somos responsables de conservarla y defenderla porque el medio ambiente es "la casa de todos": de nosotros y de las futuras generaciones.

Desde esta perspectiva de fe deseamos compartir con ustedes nuestra visión pastoral sobre un problema que nos preocupa profundamente: la posibilidad de que se autorice la explotación de minas de metales preciosos, a cielo abierto o subterráneas, sobre todo en la zona norte de nuestro país.

La experiencia vivida en países hermanos y vecinos nuestros, que han permitido la explotación minera de oro y plata, es verdaderamente triste y lamentable. Los obispos de esas naciones han alzado su voz. También nosotros deseamos pronunciarnos, antes de que sea demasiado tarde.

Las razones de nuestra inquietud son las siguientes:

1. Está demostrado que esta clase de explotación causa daños irreversibles al medio ambiente y a las comunidades circundantes.

2. Las personas sufren graves problemas de salud debido principalmente al uso de cianuro en grandes cantidades para la extracción de oro y plata.

3. El agua que se utilizaría en el proceso de extracción de estos minerales, se contaminaría inevitablemente, iniciándose así un proceso irreversible de contaminación de las aguas del subsuelo y de los ríos que poco a poco abarcaría gran parte del territorio nacional.

4. La contaminación tendría también graves consecuencias en la flora y la fauna, extendiéndose asimismo a la agricultura, la ganadería y la pesca.

5. En un país tan pequeño y poblado como el nuestro, el efecto negativo se multiplicaría.

Por todo lo anterior afirmamos que, al estar en peligro la vida del ser humano, aunque se puedan obtener algunos beneficios económicos, no debe permitirse la explotación minera de metales preciosos en El Salvador. Ninguna ventaja material se puede comparar con el valor de la vida humana.

Sabemos que el Gobierno se ha pronunciado públicamente afirmando su decisión de no autorizar esta clase de explotación. Como pastores al servicio del pueblo salvadoreño, apoyamos esa posición.

Que el Dios que nos entregó esta tierra tan bella, nos asista, para que todos los salvadoreños y salvadoreñas velemos por la conservación y protección de la vida en esta bendita tierra.

Con nuestra bendición les deseamos todo bien en Cristo Jesús.

San Salvador, en el Día de la Cruz, 3 de mayo de 2007

+ Fernando Sáenz Lacalle
Arzobispo de San Salvador
Presidente de la CEDES

+ Rodrigo Orlando Cabrera
Obispo de Santiago de María
Vicepresidente de la CEDES

+ Romeo Tovar Astorga, ofm
Obispo de Santa Ana
Secretario General de la CEDES

+ Eduardo Alas Alfaro
Obispo de Chalatenango

+ José Adolfo Mojica Morales
Obispo de Sonsonate

+ Elías Samuel Bolaños Avelar
Obispo de Zacatecoluca

+ Miguel Angel Morán Aquino
Obispo de San Miguel

+ José Luis Escobar Alas
Obispo de San Vicente

+ Luis Morao, ofm
Obispo electo de Chalatenango

+ Gregorio Rosa Chávez
Obispo Auxiliar de San Salvador


ARGENTINA

Silver Standard y la Minería a Cielo Abierto el 7 de Mayo en Argentina

Por Prensa el Chuño, Prensa Kolla N°6

Jujuy, Argentina, 8 de mayo, 2007

Comunidades Aborígenes del Pueblo Kolla, en la provincia de Jujuy, cortan ruta provincial para impedir la entrada de funcionarios provinciales y nacionales, empresarios mineros y turísticos, entre otros, en el Día Nacional de la Minería.

Después de los diagnósticos de contaminación ambiental de los últimos años y de las irresponsabilidades provinciales ante dicho tema, Comunidades Aborígenes del Pueblo Kolla deciden cortar dos rutas que comunican con la mina Pirquitas, frente al festejo que se realiza en el Día de la Minería y la Muerte en los Territorios de los Pueblos Originarios.

Silver Standard Corporation a través de su concesionaria Sunshine Argentina Inc., planea invertir u$s 150 millones para la minería a Cielo Abierto en Territorio Kolla. En Liviara, más de 60 personas, entre ellos comuneros y maestros, cortaron la ruta para manifestarle a la sociedad en general la Violación de los Derechos de los Pueblos Originarios. El encargado de Mina Pirquitas, Sr. Sotelo, y otros vehículos, fueron apedreados. Tuvieron que dar media vuelta y regresar por donde vinieron. La falta de respeto de la empresa Sunshine Argentina Inc. tuvo como consecuencia tal reacción ya que desde hace varios meses la empresa canadiense fue subestimando, engañando y menospreciando a la comunidad. Hoy, el Pueblo Kolla se encuentra en estado de alerta y movilización.

La Dra. Liliana Fellner luego de insultar a los hermanos que se encontraban en el otro corte, ubicado en el empalme Coranzuli-Pirquitas-Coyaguayma (por donde los vehículos pasaron finalmente) y de correr a dirigentes, propició el acto en Mina Pirquitas en un contexto poco acogedor. Dicha Senadora paso por Liviara en su regreso y lloro luego de que los Comuneros amablemente le hicieran ver la realidad de las Comunidades Kollas, la falta de participación, los pasivos ambientales negativos y sobre todo la irresponsabilidad de la Secretaria de Ambiente de la Provincia. Tales lágrimas dieron como resultado el espacio de consulta y participación en la Mesa Provincial donde los representantes territoriales de los Pueblos Originarios se sentaran con funcionarios de la provincia para debatir y buscar soluciones plurales en el marco del Derecho nacional e internacional sobre Pueblos Indígenas.

Aborígenes cortaron acceso a Pirquitas en el Acto por el Día Nacional de la Minería

Jujuy, Argentina, 8 de mayo, 2007

http://www.diariojujuy.com

En Mina Pirquitas se realizaron los actos centrales por el Día Nacional de la Minería. Las actividades se cumplieron de acuerdo a lo previsto, pese a que integrantes de comunidades aborígenes de la Puna cortaron el tránsito en la ruta provincial 74, en Peña Blanca, a 20 kilómetros de Pirquitas, y en la 84, a la altura de Liviara, por los daños socioculturales y ambientales que dicen sufrir en todo emprendimiento minero.

Ayer, poco después del mediodía, arribó a Pirquitas una comitiva con autoridades nacionales y provinciales, encabezada por Jorge Mayoral, secretario de Minería de la Nación, el vicegobernador Walter Barrionuevo, el ministro de Producción Hugo Tobchi, el gerente de la Mina Pirquitas Robert Quatermain, el secretario de Medio Ambiente Guillermo López Salgado, además de autoridades de provincias como Santa Cruz, Chaco y Catamarca, entre otras.

En su breve alocución, Mayoral destacó que Mina Pirquitas es uno de los establecimientos emblemáticos en el desarrollo del plan estratégico minero, que lanzó el gobierno nacional a principios de 2004, y que en los próximos años hace prever inversiones por casi 40 mil millones de pesos, exportaciones por casi $20 mil millones y 88 mil empleos directos.

A su turno, Quatermain destacó que con el gasoducto que ya comenzó a construirse, se favorecerá los trabajos en esa mina y en todos los emprendimientos similares que se harán en la Puna, señalando que todas las obras tienen el correspondiente estudio de impacto ambiental. Finalmente, Barrionuevo dijo que la estabilidad fiscal y la seguridad jurídica de la que goza el país hacen posible estas inversiones, poniendo también de relieve el respeto que los emprendimientos tienen hacia las comunidades aborígenes. Minimizó la protesta de los aborígenes, que obligó a las autoridades a tomar un desvío por Coyaguaima para llegar a Pirquitas.

Los Pueblos Indígenas y el Día de la Minería

Por Consejo de Organizaciones Aborígenes de Jujuy (COAJ)

Lunes 7 de mayo, 2007

http://www.coaj.org.ar

Desde siempre, guardianes protectores de su madre tierra (Pachamama), los pueblos indígenas no dudan al expresar su parecer sobre la actividad minera, sobre el daño socio-cultural que ella produce y las consecuencias, en algunos casos irreparables para con la vida de nuestros hermanos y nuestra cosmovisión. En el marco del día nacional de la minería, resulta más que oportuno llevar a todos los sectores de la sociedad el punto de vista de los pueblos indígenas sobre esta actividad y su creciente promoción.

Desde hace un buen tiempo hasta aquí, hemos venido expresando nuestra postura contraria a las legislación actual que proporcionan, a los empresarios mineros, beneficios en lo impositivo y ambiental, con el objeto de desarrollo económico para la región, un camino al desarrollo que, al menos para las comunidades aborígenes, no ha tenido destino alguno y que ha ocasionado severos daños en lo ambiental, social, económico y cultural.

Particularmente, los pueblos indígenas que habitan las regiones de Quebrada y Puna, se hallan constantemente perjudicados por este tipo de actividad, ya que son muchas las comunidades asentadas en territorios de gran riqueza mineral. Varias de ellas ya han tenido experiencia suficiente de lo que puede llegar a pasar cuando en ella se realizan este tipo de actividad, así los daños ocasionados a la cosmovisión de los pueblos indígenas pueden reflejarse en:

• El equilibrio del estilo de vida de la comunidad como una unidad, se ve perturbado por el cambio en el entorno generado por la actividad minera.

• La pureza de los cultivos, que luego será utilizado tanto para la alimentación de los miembros de la comunidad, como para su utilización en ceremonias ancestrales, se ve amenazada no solo por la disponibilidad de agua, sino también por los efectos contaminantes de los residuos producidos en la actividad minera.

• El ganado y toda la fauna del lugar se ve perturbada y ahuyentada por el ruido y la contaminación del aire y el agua, lo que dificulta las tareas de pastoreo, junto a la siembra, actividad base de la comunidad.

• La unidad comunitaria se ve amenazada por estrategias de los empresarios, al tratar de dividir la comunidad, haciendo ostentosas ofertas a los miembros individualmente, a fin de conseguir el consentimiento para el inicio de las actividades mineras.

• El rostro visible de nuestra Pachamama se ve desfigurado por los continuos movimientos de tierra, apertura de caminos, desvíos de cursos de aguas, etc., daño incalculable y no debidamente considerado ni por los empresarios mineros, ni por el propio Estado.

La minería desarrollada por las grandes empresas, denominada minería a cielo abierto, produce impactos negativos al ambiente donde se lleva a cabo, casi siempre daños excusados por el empleo de mano de obra del lugar. Para los pueblos indígenas el desarrollo esta ligado estrechamente a la tierra, al permiso por su utilización y agradecimiento por sus frutos, gracias a ello los pueblos indígenas han sobrevivido por miles de años, y seguirán siendo asi mientras su conjunción con la tierra se lo permita, hasta aquí único tipo de desarrollo comprobable que es sostenible en el tiempo.

Pero los pueblos indígenas no están solos en la lucha. Una creciente reflexión del tema ambiental producto de las manifestaciones negativas del Cambio Climático, ha hecho que numerosos sectores de la sociedad se levanten contra cualquier tipo de actividad que amenace contra la inocuidad y preservación de su medio ambiente.

Pruebas de ello son las numerosas marchas en contra la instalación de emprendimientos mineros, denuncias por contaminación del aire, suelo y agua; además de los numerosos eventos de concientizacion ambiental que se vienen llevando a cabo. Los pueblos indígenas a tal efecto, han ratificado en estos eventos su apoyo al pedido de derogación del Código de Minería vigente.

Desde el estado se minimiza la cuestión, aludiendo a que solo son casos aislados, mientras se amplia la difusión de la oferta minera para las empresas internacionales. Siendo de público conocimiento la dirección de la política de estado en el tema medio ambiental, resulta contradictorio que no se midan coherentemente las consecuencias de lo masiva que se propone sea una industria minera. Es por ello que proponemos, en este día tan especial, una profunda reflexión y autocrítica de lo que se esta haciendo por la preservación del medio ambiente, a la vez que expresamos nuestro total rechazo a su promoción.

El hecho de que desde el gobierno quiera afianzar a la provincia en su posición como capital nacional de la minería sabiendo la posición de los pueblos indígenas para con esta actividad, refleja su escasa voluntad de avanzar con el efectivo reconocimiento de los derechos de los pueblos indígenas. En nuestra provincia se hallan asentadas más de 250 comunidades indígenas, es la provincia con mayor cantidad de comunidades de toda la Argentina, el gobierno provincial debería apuntar a la promoción de nuestra provincia como la capital nacional del cumplimiento de los derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, y asi remediar en parte la deuda histórica para con ellos.

La Capacitación

Desde una mirada visionaria el consejo de Organizaciones Aborígenes de Jujuy, hace mas de 2 años viene desarrollando programas de capacitación con profesionales relacionados con el derecho Ambiental, Biodiversidad y el Derecho Minero. El resultado se ve reflejado en las experiencias positivas de los representantes de las comunidades ante procedimientos irregulares por parte de empresas mineras que desean explorar sus territorios.


COLOMBIA

URGENTE!

DESPEDIDOS ILEGALMENTE TODAS Y TODOS LOS TRABAJADORES DE LA ESTATAL MINERA MINERCOL LTDA. GOBIERNO FASCISTA DE URIBE VELEZ DESPIDIO EL 1 DE MAYO AL RESTO DE LOS TRABAJADORES QUE AUN LABORABAN EN LA ENTIDAD.

MIENTRAS EN SUS VISITAS INTERNACIONALES DICE NO PERMITIR CRIMENES CONTRA SINDICALISTAS, NO PERSEGUIR A SINDICALIZADOS Y NO ACABAR SINDICATOS, DESPIDE A TODAS Y TODOS LOS TRABAJADORES QUE AUN LABORABAN EN LA ESTATAL MINERA, INTENTANDO ACALLAR LA DENUNCIA DE NUESTRA ORGANIZACIÓN SINDICAL, QUE HA SEÑALADO A LAS COMPAÑIAS MINERAS EN COLOMBIA, COMO LAS RESPONSABLES EN GRAN PARTE DE LA VIOLENCIA MILITAR-PARAMILITAR CONTRA EL PUEBLO COLOMBIANO; LLAMAMOS URGENTEMENTE A LA SOLIDARIDAD DE ORGANIZACIONES SOCIALES, DE DERECHOS HUMANOS Y DEMOCRATICAS DEL MUNDO PARA QUE ESTE NUEVO CRIMEN DE URIBE VELEZ Y SUS MULTINACIONALES NO QUEDE IMPUNE.

HECHOS:

1.- Hoy cuando cumplimos 11 años de lucha tenaz en defensa de nuestra soberanía nacional sobre los recursos minero-energéticos, la no privatización de entidades públicas, la defensa de los Derechos Humanos de las y los Colombianos, el gobierno de Uribe Vélez en contubernio con Gobiernos y Multinacionales de países desarrollados, ha decidido acabar con toda una organización sindical, en una acto de barbarie propio de estados fascistas.

2.- El primer intento se realizó en 1996 cuando de manera abierta se decía en el proyecto de Código de Minas, que el Banco Mundial ordenaba el cierre de la estatal minera, comenzó para nosotros un periodo de lucha tenaz para evitar la liquidación de la compañía estatal, la preservación de nuestros recursos naturales para las próximas generaciones y la defensa de la vida del genero humano afectado por el criminal modelo capitalista, que con corrupción y violencia saquea recursos, vidas y el futuro de los habitantes del llamado tercer mundo. Luego la agencia gubernamental Canadiense CIDA, con la ONG de multinacionales CERI, el Gobierno Colombiano y las Cementeras CEMEX, HOLCIM, ARGOS y Ladrillera Santafé, proyectaron e hicieron aprobar un nuevo Código que hoy en desarrollo de este entierra a MINERCOL Ltda. genera graves conflictos en comunidades campesinas, afrodescendientes e indígenas y pretende enterrar el sueño de esta nación, de tener una política soberana sobre sus recursos minero-energéticos.

3.- SINTRAMINERCOL en desarrollo de su política de defensa de la soberanía nacional sobre nuestros recursos mineros-energéticos, ha sido victima del secuestro de dos de sus funcionarios, de 7 atentados contra la vida del presidente del Sindicato, de amenazas de muerte, seguimientos, hostigamientos permanentes a miembros de la Junta Directiva, de la voladura de su sede sindical, atropellos de todo tipo contra los derechos fundamentales y laborales de sus afiliados, de despidos ilegales y masivos.

Además de Uribe Vélez del anterior y actual Ministro de Minas varias de estas acciones han sido tomadas por los funcionarios EDUARDO ARCE CAYCEDO y MONICA P. ILLIDGE Gerente liquidador y Coordinadora Administrativa, personajes que se han dedicado a violar la Constitución, La ley y la Convención Colectiva, que han proferido amenazas contra directivos de SINTRAMINERCOL y realizado procedimientos ilegales para acelerar el cierre de MINERCOL Ltda.

4.- La decisión de despedir a todas y todos los trabajadores sin respetar el fuero sindical, sin mediar el permiso de los jueces laborales, incluso bajo expresa prohibición por parte de la Corte Constitucional de despedir a dirigentes sindicales y personas con fuero sindical, si no se cumple los requisitos preceptuados por la OIT, es una muestra mas del total irrespeto y del desconocimiento a la Constitución, la ley, los pactos y convenios de O.I.T, y de muestra el grado de fascitizacion de la dirección del estado Colombiano.

SOLICITUDES

Al Estado Colombiano para garantice la vigencia y el respeto a los derechos Fundamentales de las y los Trabajadores afiliados a SINTRAMINERCOL, el reintegro inmediato a sus puestos de trabajo de todas y todos los trabajadores de MINERCOL LTDA, el cese inmediato a la persecución criminal por parte de funcionarios y organismos de seguridad del estado.

Al gobierno colombiano y a los representantes de las compañías multinacionales que explotan los recursos mineros en Colombia, para que cesen su política exterminio y el desmantelamiento de organizaciones sindicales, que actúan dentro del marco de la ley y el llamado estado social de derecho.

A los Gobiernos de Canadá, Méjico, E.U. y Suiza, a la sociedad civil, a los congresos o parlamentos de estos pueblos hermanos para que inicien un proceso de Verdad, Justicia y Reparación que aclare el papel de estos gobiernos y sus Multinacionales, en la destrucción del tejido social conformados por las organizaciones sindicales, afrodescendientes, indígenas etc., victimas del accionar de estos gobiernos y compañías transnacionales.

A la Fiscalía General de la Nación para que investigue la todas las violaciones a la ley penal por parte de funcionarios estatales, de multinacionales y de los grupos militares-paramilitares, que han atentado contra los afiliados y la infraestructura de SINTRAMINERCOl; para que inicie investigación sobre las irregularidades que se presentan en la liquidación de MINERCOL LTDA., sobre las conductas punibles cometidas por MONICA P. ILLIDGE Y EDUARDO ARCE CAICEDO.

Al Procurador General de la República, para que garantice la vigencia y el respeto a los Derechos fundamentales de las y los afiliados a SINTRAMINERCOL.

A las organizaciones sociales de todo el mundo a que:

1.- Inicien acciones de protesta pacífica en las delegaciones consulares y diplomáticas de Colombia exigiendo el cese de la represión contra SINTRAMINERCOL y el inmediato reintegro de todas y todos los afiliados.

2.- Impulsar decisiones de suspensión de importaciones y nuevos contratos contra las Multinacionales y los monopolios Nacionales, comprometidos con la represión a organizaciones sociales de nuestro país.

3.- A las y los Trabajadores de estas mismas empresas a que hagan acciones de protesta como paros y mítines, exigiendo el cese de la represión contra SINTRAMINERCOL y el inmediato reintegro de las y los compañeros despedidos con fuero sindical.

4.- Exijan a los gobiernos de E.U., Inglaterra e Israel el cese inmediato de la ayuda militar que estos países dan a los gobiernos colombianos, comprometidos con violación grave a Derechos Humanos y dirigida a proteger intereses económicos de Multinacionales de estas naciones.

ORGANIZACIONES QUE SUSCRIBEN:

SINTRAMINERCOL, SINTRAMIN, FENALTRASE, FENASINTRAP, FUNTRAENERGÉTICA, CUT DIRECTIVA BOGOTA Y CUNDINAMARCA, CUT DEPARTAMENTO DE DERECHOS HUMANOS, SINTRAELECOL COSTA ATLÁNTICA, SINTRADEPARTAMENTO ANTIOQUIA, UNEB, USO, ASOCIACIÓN ECATE, NOMADESC, ACACEVA, SINTRAENTEMDICCOL, CAMPAÑA PROHIBIDO OLVIDAR, SINTRAMIENERGETICA SUBDIRECTIVA EL PASO, ORGANIZACIÓN WAYUU MUNSURAT.

Bogotá, D.C. Mayo 2 de 2007.

Favor enviar comunicaciones a las autoridades colombianas, a las multinacionales y a las embajadas de Colombia, Suiza, Méjico, Canadá y Estados Unidos, con copia a Sintraminercol

Embajador de Canadá en Colombia.
Carrera 7 #115-33 piso 14
Telf: 57-1-6759800 Fax: 57-1- 6579912. E-mail: bgota@international.gc.ca

Embajador de Suiza en Colombia SR. Thomas Kupfer.
Carrera 9a No. 74-08 piso 11. Bogotá Colombia. Teléfono 57-1-3497230. Fax 57-1-2359803.

HOLCIM (Colombia S.A.) Calle 114 No. 9-45 Torre B piso 12 Bogotá Colombia. Teléfono (57-1) 6295558 o al Fax (57-1) 6294629.

The Chief Executive, HOLCIM, Hagenholzstrasse 85, CH-8050 Zurich, Switzerland.

CEMEX
Calle 99 No. 9 A-54 Piso 7
Teléfono: 57-1-603 9000
Fax: 57-1-646 9000

Ladrillera Santafé
Cra. 9 No. 74-08 Of: 602
Teléfono: 57-1-319 0330
Fax: 57-1-2118766
E-mail: santafe@santafe.com.co

Presidencia de la República / Dr. Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Cra. 8 No..7-26, Palacio de Nariño, Santa fe de Bogotá.
Fax: (+57 1) 566.20.71

Vicepresidencia de la República
Dr Francisco Santos E-mail:fsantos@presidencia.gov.co

Ministro de Minas y Energía
Dr. Hernán Martínez Torres, Transversal 45 No. 26-86 Bogotá. Teléfono (57-1) 324 5262 email: minas.energia@minminas.gov.co

Ministro de Protección Social
Dr. Diego Palacio Betancourt
Carrera 13 No. 32-76 Piso 22 Bogotá D.C. Teléfono 57-1-3365066 Fax 57-1-3360182. E-mail: Dpalacio@minproteccionsocial.gov.co

Procuraduría General de la Nación /'/ Dr. Edgardo José Maya Villazón. Carrera 5 No. 15-80 Bogotá. Fax: (+57 1)342.97.23. E-mail: reygon@procuraduria.gov.co anticorrupcion@presidencia.gov.co

Fiscal General de la Nación.
Dr. Mario Iguaran. Diagonal 22B #52-01 Bogotá, Fax: 57-1-5702000 ext. 2017 o 2019. e-mail:

Defensoría del Pueblo
Dr. Volmar Antonio Pérez Ortiz. Calle 55 No. 10-32 Bogotá. Fax: (+571) 640 04 91. E-mail:secretaria_privada@hotmail.com

Misión Permanente de Colombia ante las Naciones Unidas en Ginebra.
Chemin du Champ d'Anier 17-19, 1209 Ginebra. FAX: (+4122)791.07.87; (+4122)798.45.55. E-mail mission.colombia@ties.itu.int

SINTRAMINERCOL: (Nueva Dirección) Diagonal 33 No. 13A-26, Bogotá. Teléfono y Fax (57-1) 5612829 e-mail: sintrami@telecom.com.co

 

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