MAC: Mines and Communities

The Scheme of Plunder

Published by MAC on 2005-12-10

The Scheme of Plunder

10th December 2005

On November 19, 2005, in the city of Gen. Roca/Fiske Menuco (Río Negro, Argentina), the Patagonia Coordinating Assembly - "For Life and Territory, Against Plunder and Pollution" - took place, uniting diverse social organizations of the Patagonia region. After public discussion, debate and interchange, the following statement was made public:

The Scheme of Plunder

[Document of the Patagonia Coordinating Assembly - For Life and Territory, Against Plunder and Pollution - City of Gen. Roca/Fiske Menuco (Río Negro, Argentina) 19 November, 2005]

Domination has always been carried out against the people, using at least two - combined or alternating - methods: brute force and negotiation, along with all imaginable sorts of in-between strategies. In the past 500 years, these forms of social control have been used to justify and maintain plunder, large-scale devastation and human exploitation. The European colonial system (and its followers, especially the USA), aggregated technical, scientific and psycho-social knowledge to these hegemonic methods. Colonialism has always paid special attention to collaboration, consent and complicity. For this, aside from using the armed forces, the system employs (and often prefers) political and cultural means, applied directly and indirectly.

However, the huge amount of expenditure in such areas proves that success is not always achieved. Broader strategies as well as language (technical, political, PR) need to be constantly adjusted, while State and private consultants compete with each other in their vain promises to wring water from stones.

In the present stage of capitalism known as "neo-liberalism", capitalist leaders in their striving for a scheme that works for their interests, announced "the end of history", and are now trying to transform the political life into a private matter. In an effort to take advantage of social disenchantment with the representative democratic system, the ruling classes, which have already found it convenient to both harass and, on the other hand, require privileged regulations from the state since the nineteenth century liberalism (later used for instance by Milton Friedman's apprentice and minister of Argentina's dictatorship, Martínez de Hoz, who used the slogan "Shrinking the State enlarges the Nation") are now trying to control rising social conflicts and contradictions by hiring experts in "social engineering", communications and PR-strategies for their funding agencies and NGOs (currently also called "civil society organizations").

In the 1990s, in concert with the privatization of key sectors of the economy all over the continent, this type of NGO boomed. This was not accidental, and this is why legitimate organizations, practices, discourses and international solidarity, should be distinguished from those which facilitate plunder, and further ruin people's life, thus intensifying well known financial debt traps.

The network of plunder spreads as it strives to co-opt, by merging with them, those organizations that have been created by society itself in order to face the various consequences created, precisely, by the capitalist system. But no matter how hard the plunder, NGOs try to camouflage themselves, or use pleasant-sounding words or flaunt noble causes as a window display, there are deeply grounded differences between the two types of NGOs. The above is just a general conclusion not aimed at criticizing any grass root project, nor offending their staff or intentions.

La Asamblea Coordinadora Patagónica - Por la vida y el territorio, contra el saqueo y la contaminación (Patagonia Coordinating Assembly -- For Life and Territory, Against Plunder and Pollution) stands for economic, cultural, social, human rights in general, and principles which are defined and debated in totally different ways.

It does not question what corporate foundations do with the money, but rather the mechanisms allowing them to get it in the first place. It also questions the way such corporate foundations grant themselves (or are granted by the State) a privileged position to intervene in communities at their whim, applying corporate management methods to control neighbourhoods, rural areas, the school system, the national science and technology structures, the justice system, the media, the institutions of a State that were previously - and even deliberately- disjointed for this purpose.

The Coordinating Assembly questions the State that is conceding a minuscule bunch of corporations free access to (and the exploitation of) common goods (telecommunication, energy, territories, watersheds and fields, the sea, minerals, biodiversity, transport, education, health).

Apart from the huge profits or - even worse - the speculative use of future profits hoped to be obtained through this sort of policies, the corporate environment even dares to demand social approval for these kinds of schemes, diverting public attention by means of "solidarity" tactics of remediation in irrelevant and minor amounts.

Among the many consequences of such kind of "private management" there is the formation of a "social market" in which its participants tend to compete with each other, even ferociously, in the production, accumulation and trade of political capital as a commodity.

We don't blame "evil people from abroad" who are "oppressing" us, but rather focus on the full circuit of material, cultural and political plunder, including all its objective and subjective components.

To analyze what is behind the advertised promises and intentions, therefore, does not mean to create "divisions" but to make things clear.

Ultra-conservative and murky in their strategic cores and "progressive-critical" in their advertised outer edges, foundations and NGOs linked to corporations, subsidized with private access to common property (read: plunder), are easy to identify because they generally promote, either by inclusion or by their silence, one or more of the following aims:

* The notion of "sustainable development," which negates debate about the real consequences and contradictions of this expression and, together with it, the myth of unlimited, compulsory growth (we believe, on the contrary, that a different system is possible);

* The "legality" and legal warranty for the plunder policies, such as mining and oil, fishing, or telecommunications, including the regulatory frames backing the profits of privatized companies in general, by means of mechanisms such as the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), or other fake agreements. Their aim is to convince or force people, pushing them by means of reward-and-punishment, to adjust to laws that have been implemented by the representative democratic system, characterized by the precarious and dubious conditions, lobby pressures and congressional corruption which are publicly known, with no chance to question their legitimacy;

* The privatization of Nature (biodiversity, water, territories, seeds), and of the economy and culture in general;

* The faith in corporately-chosen technologies and criteria regarding what "environmental impact" really means, implying the disqualification of popular wisdom, alternative visions, opposed systems of values, unless these merely pay lip service to alternative ideas, eventually placing these views within the rules of the market;

* The concealment of evidence about the immense environmental and social consequences of their activities, the "externalities" which make possible their flimsy "success" in the stock markets, including the devastation caused by wars and by the environmental, human and cultural plunder that has been running for centuries;

* The trivialization of people's movements (the flip side of criminalization of dissent) and the confinement of people's movements to conveniently limited birdcages using fabrications such as the "third sector", in which the "opponents" can give vent to their frustrations without putting at risk current power relations. The corporate/State agenda is to let NGOs save their necks and squander their scarce energies, taking care of the multiple socio-environmental consequences of plunder, although never the deeper and multiple causes, and remaining as non-political small-scale actors ("stakeholders"), in order to have strategic decisions made somewhere else;

* The "articulation" of harmonic relations between companies, government and civil society, a catch-phrase that actually describes what is presented as a necessary condition of profit-guided governance, but is intended to harness the local political scene, therefore masking the concrete power relations;

* The image that "Man" [sic] (or mankind in general) pollutes the earth, so that we all feel guilty and nobody (especially not the ideology, rules and activities of the capitalist system) is held responsible;

* The short-sighted vision that problems arise only because, while most companies pursue and promise "socially and environmentally responsible" performance, others don't. The point is, however, that the catastrophic current conditions are caused by a system (in a structural and ideological sense), not just by the isolated behaviour of a specific company or a corrupted government official or government, conveniently selected as scapegoats.

This list is a summary of observations and experiences from the past few years of struggle against mining plunder in Argentina. It is necessarily incomplete: we thus invite every person or organization to complete and add facts and details based on your own experiences and collective analysis.

Additional Text:

"Coordinating Business? Declaration Regarding the Political and Business Interventions of the Avina Foundation in Patagonia"

In the face of the initiation of various actions by the AVINA Foundation in Patagonia, the Coordination Assembly of Patagonia - For Life and Territory and Against Plunder and Pollution - declares:

1) Based on the experiences of organization and action in the towns of Esquel (Chubut) and Jacobacci (Río Negro), we reject "the coordination between business, the State and civil society" which AVINA promotes ( in the region. Far from actually being coordinated or negotiable, the interests of foreign or "national" mining companies which operate in Patagonia are incompatible with the collective desires to live in a healthy environment, or to develop an economy which is sustainable and controlled by and for its people.

2) We reject self-regulation strategies, also known as "Social Responsibility" such as the "business codes of conduct" and the Global Compact (, ardently promoted by AVINA in Patagonia. For almost two centuries this has meant laissez-faire, laissez passer, or "Mind your own business, buddy." Far from being "socially responsible" our actual experiences tell us that the mining companies, eager to get rich extracting minerals in Patagonia, lie to us, buy support, extort and force the government in order to control our own territory.

3) We are watching with unease the media reports about the participation of Stephan Schmidheiny, founder of AVINA, and the Bemberg-Miguens group, one of the major mining firms in Patagonia (45% owner of the company Patagonia Gold), with the financial backing of the newspaper "La Nacíon". An association between AVINA and Bemberg-Miguens is a worst-case scenario for our region, and we cannot be optimistic about this at all.

Because of this:

-We reject the presence of AVINA in Patagonia

-We alert all social organizations in the region about this situation

-We invite all persons and organizations allied with AVINA, especially those who receive funding from them, to review their principles, reformulate their programs, and reconsider their sources of funding.

We are against this series of projects based on the extraction of common goods and resources, which will transform forever the economy, the landscape and culture of our region, causing environmental damages which could last for many years after the interested companies leave. We seek solidarity and friendship of the social organizations of Patagonia, in order to create more effective tools and approaches.

This assembly of citizens and neighbours calls on the above mentioned organizations to sign on to this declaration, and we await information and ideas which will contribute to a deeper understanding and analysis of the situation

(Thanks to Luis Claps and Andrés Dimitriu for the English version of this statement)

An eternity of misdeeds

Stephan Schmidheiny is, along with brother Thomas, the most prominent member of the Swiss eponymous family that founded (through their grandfather Ernst) the cement- asbestos company Eternit and later Holcim – the world’s third biggest cement producer. Holcim was controlled up until 2003 by Thomas Schmidheiny. Though giving up the chairmanship that year, he continues to hold onto a directorship and a considerable number of Holcim shares.

Stephan is best known as a “philanthropist”. The term has covered any number of deeds and misdeeds since the age of the “robber barons” in nineteenth century USA. It was Stephan who founded the Business (later World) Council for Sustainable Development, during the first United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. According to some, this was a strategy – designed with the assistance of Canada’s Maurice Strong – to dislodge the United Nations Center on Transnational Corporations in its move towards an enforceable rules governing the operations of multinational corporations..

At around that time Schmidheiny also set up AVINA, the charitable foundation which, by 2004, had disbursed some US$291 million for “sustainable development” partnerships. (Earlier this year Stephan’s personal fortune was estimated by Forbes magazine to be US$2.8 billion - sunk in various “investments” - thus making him the 210th richest person in the world). True to his newly-found form as a doyen of “sustainability”, in 2000 Schmidheiny also established the Batelle initiative to “green” the cement industry.

Ironically AVINA’s largest single tranche of funding goes to projects in Brazil (75 out of a total of 269 in 2004). The irony rests in the fact that, in 2004, a court in Sao Paulo found Eternit (ie. the Schmidheinys’) guilty of causing massive damage to the health of workers at its asbestos operations, awarding the aggrieved and their dependants not only compensation but the right to sufficient medical care. The final settlement could equal what AVINA has already paid out in “good works”in Brazil.

Eternit’s operations cover many decades, with an historic liability that stretches around the world (in Europe and South Africa as well as Latin America). Six months ago, eight of its former executives were sentenced to a total of more than 23 years imprisonment for putting former employees at risk in Sicily. One of the indicted was Leo Mittleholzer, in charge of the Eternit plant between 1984-1986 when the duty of care and corporate responsibility went straight to the Schmidheiny’s comfortable door. Until this year, according to the International Ban Asbestos Secretariat, Mittelholzer was Managing Director of Siam City Cement, Thailand's second largest cement company - and itself a subsidiary of Holcim.

.In September 2005, Holcim was recognised as a “leader of industry” by the Dow Jones Sustainable Development index, primarily for its efforts at mitigating adverse climate change, caused by its cement manufacturing. Of course the award delighted Holcim and surely also Stephan Schmidheiny and his family as the architects of the company. One assumes that the thousands profoundly affected by Eternit, who are only now getting some redress, may think otherwise.

Sources: Schmidheiny and the WBCSD: www.minesandcommunities./org/Charter/rio+10.htm; Schmidheiny’s personal fortune: Forbes magazine, 10/3/2005; Schmidheiny and the Batelle initiative:; Schmidheiny and asbestos claims in South Africa: ;
Dow Jones “award” to Holcim: Holcim press release, 13/9/2005

[Nostromo Research, London December 9 2005]


by Laurie Kazan-Allen
International Ban Asbestos Secretariat

28th June 2005

Eight former Eternit executives were found guilty of “intentional homicide” by an Italian tribunal on May 27, 2005. The charges related to life-threatening health and safety offences which took place at an asbestos cement factory at Contrada Targia, a small seaside town on Sicily. The lives of up to 730 former Eternit employees were put at risk by exposure to hazardous levels of asbestos over an extended period of time; as a result many contracted asbestos-related diseases. Prison sentences of more than twenty-three years were passed on the accused which included a sentence of 2 years and 4 months for Leo Mittelholzer, head of the factory between 1984-86; Mittelholzer is now the Managing Director of Siam City Cement 1. Thailand's second largest cement company.

Lawyers representing the families of 44 deceased workers and 300 ex-workers, who have doggedly pursued this claim over the last nine years, were delighted with the judgment; Silvio Aliffi said: “As the tribunal decided that health and safety measures had been voluntarily neglected by these executives, we can now take action against those at the very top of the Eternit organization.” Prosecutor Andrea Palmieri commented:

“This judgment is unique. This is the first time that an Italian tribunal has succeeded in proving the culpability of company executives for voluntary negligence on health and safety issues.”

The verdict for the Italian plaintiffs validates legal actions currently being taken by Swiss Eternit workers in Niederurnen and Payerne and the on-going efforts of Asbestopfer2 and CAOVA,3 NGOs representing injured workers in German and French-speaking communes in Switzerland,

The Sicilian factory, built by Eternit, Belgium, was acquired by Stephen Schmidheiny (Eternit, Switzerland) under whose ownership it operated from 1974-86. When the factory closed in 1993, due to Italy's ban on asbestos, the machinery was discreetly exported to North Africa. Neither the factory nor its environs have been decontaminated; asbestos cement waste continues to pollute the coastline.

1 Siam City Cement is a subsidiary of Holcim, the Swiss multinational cement firm.
2 Asbestopfer website:
3 CAOVA website:


by Laurie Kazan-Allen

A recent landmark decision by a court in São Paulo State has been greeted with overwhelming relief by Brazilian campaigners. Fernanda's Giannasi, a Factory Inspector and founding member of ABREA, the National Association of Asbestos Victims, says:

“After nine years, a Brazilian court has finally recognized the negligence of Eternit S/A for exposing its workers to asbestos. For decades, asbestos production and processing in Brazil produced a steady stream of profits for asbestos stakeholders. Throughout this time, the welfare of workers, consumers and the public was of little concern. The Brazilian asbestos legacy can be seen in the lungs of our people and the contamination of our landscape.

ABREA's members, many of whom were loyal Eternit employees, are paying the cost for their employer's behaviour with the loss of their health and even their lives. The decision reached on August 26, 2004 recognizes not only that Eternit is responsible for the damage to these people but also that it is liable to pay equitable compensation and ensure appropriate medical care for the injured.”

The legal action was instigated by the Public Ministry of the State of São Paulo against Eternit S/A on behalf of thousands of asbestos victims. Judge Teresa Rodrigues dos Santos of the 18th Civil Court made five basic findings:

1. Injured workers are entitled to compensation from Eternit for occupational exposure to asbestos. The judge specified that claimants should receive a lifetime pension proportional to their financial loss; this could range from US$45-$360 per month.

2. The company is liable to pay "moral damages" from 50-300 times minimum salaries (equivalent to US$4,500-$27,000).

3. The details covered in these sections specify how and when compensation is to be paid and set out guidelines on the medical care which Eternit must provide for the injured.

The implications of this ruling are significant; it has been estimated the judgment could cost the company US$160 million. Since the legal action was proposed, the media coverage has adversely impacted on Eternit's ordinary share price; another effect of the negative publicity is the refusal of the São Paulo Stock Exchange to include Eternit on a new index of forty socially responsible corporations chosen from Brazil's wealthiest 150. The listed companies enjoy beneficial contracts with the International Financial Corporation of the World Bank.

Brazilian justice, until now, has been notoriously slow in dealing with asbestos-related personal injury claims as well other litigation. According to época magazine, a legal action can take 12 years to work its way through the Brazilian legal system; the Supreme Court has 160,000 legal actions pending. One such case is that of João Batista Momi, a former Eternit worker, who in 1998 was awarded more than 150,000 reais (US$50,000 today but in 1998 equivalent to US$150,000) by Judge Alexandre David Malfatti of the 27th Civil Court of São Paulo for “reparations for moral damages and material damages for medical care and a monthly pension of a quarter of his final salary, calculated by his attorney at 1,200 reais (US7$410).” Momi has asbestosis contracted from occupational exposure experienced over a period of thirty-two years with Eternit. The company appealed Malfatti's decision; to date Mr. Momi has not received a penny of compensation.

In Switzerland, the Eternit Group is facing compensation claims stemming from operations at its asbestos-cement factory in Casale Monferrato, Italy, and its mines and factories in South Africa.2. Italian victims' representative Bruno Pesce told a Swiss journalist that three meetings with solicitors representing Thomas and Stephen Schmidheiny, Eternit's owners, took place in July, 2004; more discussions are planned this month (September). Although the Italian victims have not yet made their financial demands public, decisions by the Italian judiciary awarding the sum of 500,000 euros (US$601,600) to claimants suffering from asbestos diseases are pertinent to these negotiations.

In South Africa, claims are being made by people exposed to asbestos at Eternit's crocidolite (blue asbestos) mines3 and asbestos-cement factories.4 It is alleged that during the asbestos heyday, Eternit exposed over 40,000 employees to significant quantities of crocidolite fibre in their mines and mills. South African lawyer Richard Spoor alleges that hundreds of ex-workers have died of mesothelioma and thousands more have contracted asbestosis. Having been to Switzerland for negotiations earlier this year, Spoor is hopeful that a settlement will be reached in the foreseeable future.

1 According to Eternit, medical care is costing the company US$270 per person per month.

2 Italians who worked at Eternit asbestos factories in Switzerland and contracted asbestos-related diseases when they returned to Italy are also seeking compensation.

3 These mines were operational from 1960 until 1981. Eternit was South African's third largest crocidolite miner after Cape PLC and Gencor. Its two crocidolite mining subsidiaries were Kuruman Cape Blue Asbestos (KCB) and Danielskuil Cape Blue Asbestos (DCBA).

4 Eternit's subsidiary, Everite, was South Africa's largest asbestos cement producer from the 1940s until the early 1990s.

In 2004 a detailed report on the corporate crimes of Eternit was delivered at a conference organised by IBAS:

La trama del saqueo

El 19 de noviembre de 2005, en la ciudad de general Roca/Fiske Menuco (Río Negro, Argentina), se constituyó la Asamblea Coordinadora Patagónica - Por la vida y el territorio, contra el saqueo y la contaminación - que incluye diversas organizaciones sociales de la región patagónica. Luego de una jornada pública de debate e intercambio se dispuso, entre otras cosas, hacer público lo siguiente:

La trama del saqueo Documento de la Asamblea Coordinadora Patagónica - Por la vida y el territorio, contra el saqueo y la contaminación Ciudad de general Roca/Fiske Menuco (Río Negro, Argentina)

19 de noviembre de 2005

La dominación siempre incluyó por lo menos dos modos de intervenir en la vida de los pueblos, dos formas que se combinan o alternan: la fuerza bruta y la negociación, con toda la gama imaginable de estrategias intermedias. En los últimos 500 años, esas formas de control social intentaron justificar y garantizar el saqueo, la devastación en gran escala y la explotación humana. El sistema colonial europeo (y quienes les siguieron, especialmente los EEUU) agregó saberes técnicos, científicos y psico-sociales a esos métodos hegemónicos. El colonialismo prestó y le presta especial atención a la colaboración, al consentimiento y a la complicidad. Por eso, aparte de armas, usa (y por momentos prefiere) medios políticos o culturales, directos o indirectos.

La enormidad del gasto en esos rubros indican, sin embargo, que no siempre tienen éxito, que necesitan acomodar estrategias y lenguajes, y que sus empresas consultoras o expertos estatales también compiten entre si, prometiendo sacarle agua a las piedras.

En la actual etapa del capitalismo conocida como "neoliberalismo", y en su desesperación por encontrar el método adecuado, sus timoneles quisieron decretar el fin de la historia y privatizar la política. Aprovechando el desencanto social con el sistema representativo (que por otro lado les conviene jaquear como pinza para obtener ventajas ya desde el liberalismo del siglo XIX o el "achicar el estado es agrandar la nación" de Martínez de Hoz), los sectores y clases dominantes intentan controlar las contradicciones y los conflictos sociales contratando especialista en "ingeniería social", comunicación y RRPP para sus fundaciones y ONGs (que en este momento prefieren llamar OSC, organizaciones de la sociedad civil).

En la década de los 90, junto a la privatización de sectores estratégicos de la economía en todo el continente, creció explosivamente el número de ONGs. No es casual y por eso mismo es necesario distinguir solidaridad internacional, discursos, prácticas y organizaciones legítimas de las que provienen del saqueo y endeudan a los pueblos. La que proviene del saqueo es una trama extendida que intenta cooptar y se mezcla con las organizaciones que son creadas por la misma sociedad para enfrentar las múltiples consecuencias generadas, justamente, por el sistema. Por más que intenten mimetizarse, usar términos agradables a los oídos o usar causas justas como vitrina, hay diferencias de fondo. Es una simple constatación que no tiene por objetivo criticar proyectos de base ni ofender a su personal o sus intenciones.

La Asamblea Coordinadora Patagónica - Por la vida y el territorio, contra el saqueo y la contaminación - defiende principios y derechos (económicos, culturales, sociales, humanos en general) definidos y debatidos de una manera totalmente diferente. Tampoco cuestiona lo que las fundaciones corporativas hacen con el dinero sino los mecanismos que permiten, en primer lugar, que lo tengan y luego se arroguen, con apoyo del estado y no pocas veces de organismos como las Naciones Unidas, el privilego de intervenir a su antojo y con métodos gerenciales en las comunidades, desde los barrios o zonas rurales hasta el sistema educativo y de ciencia y técnica, la justicia, los medios de comunicación, las instituciones de un estado deliberadamente fragmentado. Asamblea Coordinadora Patagónica cuestiona que el estado les garantice el acceso y la explotación de bienes comunes (telecomunicaciones, energía, territorios, cuencas, el mar, los minerales, la biodiversidad) y que, con la gigantesca renta obtenida o - peor todavía - a cuenta de ésta, encima pretendan generar aprobación a este tipo de esquema o desviar la atención pública con planes "solidarios" o de remediación en escalas irrelevantes.

Una entre muchas de las consecuencias de este tipo de "gestión privada" es que favorece la creación de un "mercado social" en el que sus participantes tienden competir entre sí - incluso ferozmente - por la producción, acumulación y tráfico de capital político.

No acusamos a "los malos de afuera" que "nos oprimen" sino al circuito completo del saqueo material, cultural y político, con todos sus componentes objetivos y subjetivos.

Analizar qué hay detras de las promesas e intenciones publicitadas, en consecuencia, no es "dividir" sino poner las cosas en claro.

Ultra-conservadoras en sus riñones estratégicos y "progresistas" en los bordes, las fundaciones y ONGs vinculadas a las corporaciones subsidiadas con acceso privado a bienes comunes (el saqueo) promueven, por inclusión u omisión, uno o varios de los siguientes objetivos:

. La idea del "desarrollo sustentable", descalificando el debate acerca de las contradicciones y consecuencias concretas de esa metáfora y, junto a ésta, el mito del crecimiento ilimitado y obligatorio (creemos, por el contrario, que otro sistema es posible);

. la "legalidad" y seguridad jurídica para las políticas de saqueo, como las de la minería, el petróleo, la pesca y las telecomunicaciones, incluyendo los marcos regulatorios que sostienen las ganancias de las empresas privatizadas en general, por medio de mecanismos como el ALCA, el AGCS (Acuerdo General de Comercio de Servicios) u otros seudo-acuerdos. Intentan, por medio de premios y castigos, que los pueblos se adapten a leyes votadas por el sistema representativo, en las condiciones de precariedad, presión lobbista y corrupción parlamentaria que son de público conocimiento, sin posibilidades de cuestionar su legitimidad;

. la privatización de la naturaleza (la biodiversidad, el agua, los territorios, las semillas) de la economía y de la cultura en general;

. la fe en sus tecnologías (y criterios de lo que significa "impacto ambiental"), que implica la descalificación de los saberes populares, de visiones alternativas, de principios y escalas de valores opuestos, a menos que éstos digan una cosa y hagan otra, es decir que al final terminen sometiéndose las reglas de éste tipo de mercado;

. el ocultamiento de las inconmensurables consecuencias sociales y ambientales que hicieron y hacen posible los superficiales "exitos" en sus "bolsas de valores", ocultamiento que incluye las consecuencias del saqueo financiero, las guerras y la deuda ecológica, humana y cultural de varios siglos;

. la trivialización de las causas populares (la otra cara de la moneda de la criminalización de la protesta), y su ubicación en corrales convenientemente limitados, como el "tercer sector" e inventos similares, para que los "oponentes" puedan expresar frustraciones sin poner en riesgo las relaciones de poder. La intención es que las ONGs saquen las castañas del fuego, gasten sus energías ocupandose de las consecuencias (no de las causas profundas) socio-ambientales y se dediquen a la pequeña escala, para que las decisiones estratégicas se tomen en otra parte;

. la "articulación" entre empresas, gobierno y sociedad civil, en realidad una necesaria condición de gobernabilidad que intenta subordinar la vida política local ocultando, nuevamente, las relaciones de poder;

. la imagen de que quien contamina el mundo es "el ser humano" en general, pues de esa manera todos deberíamos sentirmos culpables... para que nadie (tampoco las reglas e ideología del sistema) sea responsable;

. la limitada visión de que si hay problemas es porque hay empresas "responsables" y de las otras, cuando lo que se cuestiona es el sistema (estructural e ideológico) que hace posible las catastróficas condiciones actuales, no solo las conductas individuales de alguna corporación y/o funcionario corrupto seleccionados como convenientes chivos expiatorios;

La lista, obtenida de la suma de observaciones y experiencias de los últimos años en la lucha contra el saqueo minero, es necesariamente incompleta, de manera que cualquier persona u organización social puede completarla o agregar datos y detalles desde su propia experiencia y análisis colectivo.

Texto adicional:

¿Articulando negocios? Declaración referida a la intervención política y empresarial de Fundación Avina en Patagonia

Ante el avance de la Fundación AVINA en diversos ámbitos sociales de Patagonia, esta La Asamblea Coordinadora Patagónica - Por la vida y el territorio, contra el saqueo y la contaminación - declara:

1) A partir de las experiencias de organización y acción de los pueblos de Esquel (Chubut) y Jacobacci (Río Negro), rechazamos la "articulación entre empresas, estado y sociedad civil" que impulsa AVINA - - en la región. Lejos de articularse, los intereses de las compañías mineras extranjeras o "nacionales" que operan en la Patagonia son irreconciliables con objetivos colectivos como vivir en un ambiente sano, o desarrollarse en una economía sustentable controlada por y para sus habitantes.

2) Rechazamos los códigos de conducta empresaria de aplicación voluntaria, como el Pacto Global - - o la llamada "responsabilidad social empresaria", que AVINA promociona en la Patagonia. Desde hace ya casi dos siglos eso se llama "no se metan en nuestros negocios". Lejos de ser "socialmente responsables", hemos comprobado que las compañías mineras con intereses en la Patagonia mienten, compran conciencias, extorsionan y presionan a los gobiernos para apropiarse de nuestro territorio.

3) Vemos con preocupación las versiones periodísticas sobre la participación de Stephan Schmidheiny, fundador de AVINA, y el grupo Bemberg-Miguens, uno de los mayores impulsores del negocio minero en la Patagonia (propietario del 45 por ciento de la compañía Patagonia Gold), en el rescate financiero del Diario La Nación. Una sociedad entre AVINA y Bemberg-Miguens es el peor escenario posible para nuestra región, y no podemos ser optimistas al respecto. *

Por tales razones:

- rechazamos la inserción de AVINA en Patagonia.

- alertamos a las organizaciones sociales de la región sobre esta situación.

- invitamos a las personas y organizaciones relacionadas con AVINA, en particular a aquellas que reciben financiamiento de ella, a revisar sus principios, reformular sus programas y reconsiderar sus fuentes de financiación.

Estamos en contra de una larga serie de proyectos extractivos que cambiarían para siempre la economía, el paisaje y la cultura de nuestra región, provocando daños ambientales que podrían permanecer por muchos años después que las empresas interesadas se retiren. Buscamos la solidaridad y amistad de las organizaciones sociales de la Patagonia, para generar más y mejores herramientas de incidencia.

Esta asamblea de vecinos llama a dichas organizaciónes sociales a suscribir la presente declaración, y espera aportes que contribuyan a profonduzar el análisis de la problemática.

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