By Gina Spigarelli, 13 November 2013. Source: Upside Down World
Photo: Gina Spigarelli
“Queremos agua! Queremos maíz! Multinacionales fuera del país!” yelled the protesters on October 26th as they marched through the streets of El Carmen de Viboral in Eastern Antioquia, Colombia. The small town, about an hour east of Medellin, is located in a highly water-rich region of Colombia, and one where the local populations are fighting the threats of multinational companies taking over their territories. Around 1,000 people representing 60 grassroots organizations from 17 municipalities of the region traveled to participate in the fourth annual Water Festival, “for the autonomy, defense of territory, life and peace.”
Water privatization is the central theme of the annual festival, which intends to compile and share information about local social problems and human rights violations associated with the use of land for large scale multinational mining, electric, and water initiatives. The festival also serves to unite the communities from the various municipalities so they can struggle as a collaborative and united regional front against the threats to their territories.
Global Justice Ecology Project teams up weekly with Pacifica’s Sojourner Truth show hosted by Margaret Prescod to cover important news about the environment. Every Tuesday we produce an “Earth Minute” and each Thursday an “Earth Watch” interview segment with an activist from the front lines of the battle to protect mother Earth.
By Arij Riahi, 20 October 2013. Source: The Dominion
Montreal - For the first time, a Canadian mining company will appear in a Canadian court for actions committed overseas. Hudbay Minerals, Inc, will be standing trial for murder, rapes and attacks committed against Indigenous Guatemalans by security personnel working for Hudbay’s subsidiary, Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel (CGN). The court case is proceeding thanks to a precedent-setting decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, which ruled this past July in favour of the Mayan Q’eqchi’ people of Lote Ocho, near El Estor, Guatemala.
“It is a massive victory for our clients and for human rights,” Cory Wanless, an attorney with the Toronto-based Klippensteins law firm, told The Dominion. “Before this decision, no claim brought by individuals that had been harmed by Canadian mining abroad had ever gotten into Canadian courts at all. They didn’t even have the ability to forward their claims.”
Wanless represents the Q’eqchi’ plaintiffs in a lawsuit accusing the company of negligence in its ground management of the Fenix open-pit nickel mine project. They allege that security personnel—under the control of Hudbay—gang-raped 11 women, shot dead an Indigenous leader and outspoken critic of mining practices and left another man paralyzed from the chest down after sustaining a gunshot wound.
21 October, 2013. Source: Shadbush Environmental Justice Collective
At around 12:30pm, 10 protesters began a sit-in at the Allegheny County Courthouse, blocking the main hallway in County Executive Rich Fitzgerald’s office suite. The protesters called on Fitzgerald to drop plans to open up Allegheny County Parks for fracking. The County Executive’s office is currently reviewing proposals from natural gas drilling companies to lease the oil and gas rights under Deer Lakes Park for fracking.
The sit-in is part of a day of action against dirty energy to culminate the Power Shift conference. Over a thousand supporters from Power Shift participated in an un-permitted march to the County Courthouse to support the sit-in, following a rally on the North Shore’s Allegheny Landing earlier this morning. The marchers arrived shortly after the sit-in began and filled the courthouse courtyard, with dozens joining the occupation of the County Executive’s office. No one was arrested.
“Fitzgerald is trying to cut a deal with the natural gas industry without seeking formal input from the residents of Allegheny County on this issue. There is no public participation process, so we have to create it and that’s what we’re doing today with this sit-in. We are bringing our message straight to Fitzgerald that the residents of Allegheny County do not want fracking in our parks.” said Ben Fiorillo of O’hara Township. Continue reading
By Hannibal Rhoades, Oct 9, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Photo by Paul Anderson
Offering solidarity to Indigenous Nations, last month five Carvers from the Lummi Nation House of Tears set out on a journey up the Pacific North West Coast hoping to send a message of Kwel’Hoy, or ‘We Draw The Line’ to the resource extraction industry. With them, lain carefully on the flat bed of a truck, the Lummi carried a beautifully-carved 22-foot cedar totem pole for Indigenous communities to bless along the way. Their journey gained international attention as a pilgrimage of hope, healing and determination for the embattled Indigenous Nations they visited.
The rich prairies and clear streams of Otter Creek, Montana, land of the Northern Cheyenne, were the first stop on the Totem Pole’s profound journey. Both the Lummi carvers who made the 1,200 mile trip inland and the Northern Cheyenne who received them, currently face major, interconnected threats from proposed coal mining developments. Bound by this common struggle the meeting of these Peoples resonated with a deep significance that replicated along the rest of the Lummi’s spiritual trail. Continue reading
Deadly attack on family of miner leader
September 25, 2013. Source: World War 4 Report
The wife and infant son of a local mining leader were assassinated last week in the community of Pamputa, Coyllurqui district, Cotabambas province, Apurímac region, Peru. The bodies were found Sept. 18 by Carmelo Hanco, president of the local Artisenal Miners Association of Los Apus de Chunta, when he returned home from a trip to Abancay, the regional capital, where he had been petitioning authorities for the “formalization” of mining claims. Authorities said the killings took place during a robbery, but Hanco said he suspected the involvement of the Xstrata mining company—which he charged has been pressing for the arrest of independent artisenal miners in the region with an eye towards establishing its own operations. The company has for 10 years operated a giant gold, silver and copper mine at nearby Las Bambas (Chahuahuacho district), above the opposition of both local artisenal miners and campesinos. (Con Nuestro Peru, Sept. 21)
Xstrata is currently taking bids for sale of the mine at Las Bambas, as a condition imposed by China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) for its approval of Swiss-based Xstrata’s merger with another Anglo-Swiss mineral giant, Glencore. Jiangxi Copper, China’s top producer, andChinalco Mining, another Chinese giant, are leading bidders. (Mining.com, Aug. 23)
More unrest is meanwhile reported from Puno region, bordering Lake Titicaca, the scene of numerous conflicts related to mineral exploitation. A local uprising broke out in the town of Huancané on Sept. 20, with roads blocked and a 72-hour paro, or civil strike, declared. One of the town councilors and another provincial official who were accused of corruption were detained by a mob and publicly whipped with a belt. (La Republica, Sept. 20)
23 September, 2013. Source: WW4 Report
Photo: AFP Photo/Daniel Mihailescu
Some 20,000 Romanians marched and formed a human chain around the parliament building in Bucharest Sept. 21 to protest plans by Canadian firm Gabriel Resources to establish Europe’s biggest open-pit gold mine at Rosia Montana in the Apuseni Mountains of Transylvania.
Bucharest has seen daily protests against the project for two weeks, organized by the campaign Salvati Rosia Montana, with thousands more taking to the streets in other Romanian cities.
The protests began after the government proposed a law Aug. 27 to give extraordinary powers to Gabriel Resources’ local partner, Rosia Montana Gold Corporation, allowing the company to relocate people whose homes are on the perimeter of the mine site, and guaranteeing all necessary permits within set deadlines, regardless of court rulings or public participation requirements.
The operation would involve the destruction of three villages and four mountains. (EuroNews, Sept. 22; MondoNews.ro, Sept. 21; The Guardian, Mining.com, Sept. 17; BBC News, Sept. 9)
September 16, 2013. Source: World War 4 Report
Colombian campesinos on Sept. 10 ended their national strike after more than two weeks, and lifted the road blockades they were still maintaining, chiefly in Cauca, Nariño, Putumayo and elsewhere in the south of the country. The organization coordinating the strike in this region, the National Agricultural and Popular Table of Dialogue and Accord (MIA), agreed to recognize a pact already won in talks between the government and campesino organizations in Boyacá, Cundinamarca and elsewhere in the central region of the country. United Nations observers who had been brought in for the dialogue process confirmed that all protest roadblocks had been dismantled. (EFE, Sept. 11; El Tiempo, Bogotá, Sept. 7)
Among 15 demands of the campesino movement that the government agreed to under the pact are compensation to small domestic producers for income lost due to imports of potatoes, milk and other products under the Free Trade Agreement with the United States, and a two-year suspension of the most onerous provisions of the controversial Resolution 970, concerning the “intellectual property rights” of corporate seed producers. Resolution 970, approved in 2010, prohibited farmers from saving seeds, ostensibly to protect patented hybrids and GMOs. But the law applied to all seeds, essentially forcing farmers to buy new patented varieties each season. The law will still apply to imported seeds, but Colombian farmers will be free to save domestically produced or indigenous seed stock for two years while the law is rewritten. (El Tiempo, Sept. 7; GRAIN, Sept. 4)
September 16, 2013. Source: World War 4 Report
Kaqchikel indigenous authorities in the central Guatemalan pueblo of San José Nacahuil, just outside the capital, are protesting the government’s response to a Sept. 8 massacre in which 11 residents were killed and 15 injured in as gunmen shot up a cantina. Some of the bodies were found in the bathroom where patrons attempted to hide from the attack; others were chased out into the street and gunned down. Governance Minister Mauricio López told reporters the killings could be the work of youth gangs or maras linked to the drug trade. But traditional Kaqchikel leaders issued a statement reading: “We are strongly opposed to the statement of the Minister of the Governance that blamed gangs, which is completely false. It is premature to make statements without having initiated an investigation.” (Global Voices, Sept. 10; AFP, Sept. 9; BBC News, AP, Sept. 8)
The statement speculated the attack could be linked to a protest encampment being maintained by village residents at the community of La Puya, outside the gates of the Tambor gold mine, owned by US-based Kappes, Cassiday & Associates (KCA). The protest camp has been ongoing since March 2012, and in June of that year a protest leader was shot and gravely wounded by unknown gunmen near the camp. KCA subsequently bought out their former Canadian partner Radius Gold, which cited a corporate strategy “to divest problematic assets.” (San José Nacahuil lies within San Pedro Ayampuc municipality; the mine straddles the border with San José del Golfo municipality to the east.)
By Hannibal Rhoades, Sep 13, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Some 288 kilometres South of the Arctic Circle an area known as Gahcho Kue–‘Place of the Big Rabbit’ in the Dene Suline language–sits in the barren grounds tundra surrounding Lake Kennady. This stark and beautiful landscape of shallow lakes and rolling ridges in Canada’s North West Territories has been significant to Indigenous Peoples for centuries. However, since 1995–when geological surveys were first conducted around the lake–uncertainty has been mounting over the area’s future.
The discovery of kimberlite deposits or ‘pipes’ (a rock well known for containing diamonds) beneath the earth attracted mining giant De Beers and Mountain Province Diamonds Inc. to launch a bid to mine at Gahcho Kue.
Despite numerous delays–and over a decade of complications–the fears of local Indigenous Peoples’ were realized after the Canadian Government and Aboriginal Review Board gave the go ahead for extraction at the diamond mine.
This decision came after the government authorities considered a new Environmental Impact Review (EIR) submitted by De Beers and Mountain Province via the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Review Board (MVEIRB). Although the project was found “Likely to cause significant adverse environmental impacts” it was decided that the economic gains would outweigh any losses. Continue reading