Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jennifer Moore, "Ecuador: Mining Protests Marginalized, But Growing," Upside Down World, January 21, 2009.

[Canada does not regulate Canadian mining--or any other--companies operating abroad. The Canadian "approach" is to recommend voluntary adherence to corporate social responsibility guidelines. Companies most active in CSR programs tend to be those with records they are trying to either (a) atone for, or (b) cover up. -jlt]

On Tuesday, nation-wide protests over large scale metal mining called by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) demonstrated growing, broad-based participation. Roughly 12,000 people from indigenous, environmentalist, human rights, campesino and rural water organizations participated in diverse actions across eleven provinces of the small Andean nation.

  Attempts to minimize conflicts aim to clear the path for largely Canadian transnational corporations to bring gold and copper finds into production.

Taking place only a few days after the popular President Rafael Correa celebrated two years into his first mandate, government and media reactions aimed to diminish the day's significance. The press and government insisted that protests were poorly attended trying to infer that national consensus has been reached over a new mining law.

Ecuador has been an oil producer for over forty years. Although large scale metal exploration has been ongoing since the early 90s, no project has yet reached production. Mining activities are currently suspended until the new law is passed.

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