Ecuador Approves Controversial Mining Law

Ecuador Approves Controversial Mining Law

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John Ahni Schertow
January 14, 2009
 

On Monday Ecuador’s legislature approved a controversial new mining law that gives companies eight years to pursue large-scale open pit mining anywhere in the country.

The decision comes just a few days after indigenous groups set up a series of blockades in a continued effort to prevent the law from being legislated.

Indigenous People, environmental activists, and campesinos alike, say the law will be a social and environmental disaster that will infringe on the human rights of local communities, contaminate water supplies with heavy metals, and irreparably damage the environment.

Simply put, “We can’t accept the law. It will affect our environment,” said CONAIE President Marlon Santi, who, following last weeks protests, called for a national mobilization to demand that the government convene a National Assembly of Peoples to discuss the legislation.

Set for the 20th of January, the mobilization marks “[a] commitment to carry out a revolution,” says the indigenous leader Blanca Chancoso.

It is not an effort to “destabilize the government,” but one to prevent the theft of land, and to strengthen laws that protect the environment and
ensure food security.

“If the government wants to demonstrate that it is truly revolutionary [it] will have to join the Ecuadorian people for the revolution by the people and for the people,” says Chancoso.

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