Committees of the Poor Peasants declare zone free of mining
In a gathering of poor peasants in the Mira River Basin on November 23 the Committees of the Poor Peasants solemnly declared the Goaltal area to be an area free of mining. Invoking that past experiences with mining in the country have proven be the de-facto destruction of the basis of existence of the peasantry, the individual participants and organizations vouched to stand firm against all efforts to bring mining to the Mira River Basin.
More often then not the large scale mining conducted by the big mining corporations is sold as source of (well paid) jobs, infrastructural development and investment beneficial to the people in the general vicinity. Opposition against it is usually portrayed by the bourgeois media and government officials to be hostile towards progress and not being capable of seeing the bigger picture of nationwide economy. If the resistance is militant no slander is vile enough not to be broadcast through all channels possible. Opportunistic elements are bought or otherwise bribed while combative action is painted in the darkest colors, criminalized and dispersed.
However, there is no true development through this, only deeper penetration of bureaucratic capitalism. The big mining companies swoop in, buy up the land of the peasantry (with the promise that soon there’s going to be job openings) or have it seized be the government under some pretext, bring in specialists to operate the machines and leave a vastly desolated area a dozen or so years later. By then, the water level has been dropped or the course of the rivers has been altered, the air, vegetation and animal life is poisoned, forests made way for access roads and from the much promised investments into of local traffic, commerce, education, etc. all funding is withdrawn (if it ever materialized in the first place). The examples of this practice are numerous, not only in Ecuador or Latin America, but wherever there is mining in the oppressed countries.
Putting forward the understanding, that mining – no matter how deceitful it is being green-washed – will never be aligned with the interests of the poor peasantry the gathering of November 23 declared its total irreconcilableness towards all efforts to bring mining into the Basin. Furthermore it expressed the firm commitment to not be split apart in this struggle by the bribes of the imperialists or their local lackeys but instead to confront, what ever may come, those who aim to squash the poor peasant's lifes through the destruction and grabbing of their lands.
Henceforthe we mirror the inofficial translation of a report issued by the Defense Front of the Struggles of the People:
On November 23, 2019 at 10:00 in the Mira River Basin, the Committee of Poor Peasants declares the Goaltal area free of mining. A Declaration that in these times becomes an act of life or death where there are two actors. On one side the enemies of nature, of water, of the future, those of death; on the other side we, who struggle for water, earth, the future of our children, those of life.
They are two different and antagonistic struggles and purposes, which cannot coexist in harmony. They, the miners, with an unjust cause; We, the peasants, with a just cause. The justified struggles are those that will prevail in humanity.
We will begin this act that marks our resistance to mining penetration in the northwest of the country. We declare the Mira River Basin MINING FREE Zone.
We give the most cordial welcome to all the peasants of the Mira River basin; to the comrades of the Indigenous and Peasant Federation of Imbabura, to the Front for Defense of Workers of Imbabura, the Poor Peasants Committees of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, comrades of Bolívar, this is their home, because the land is our house, of the oppressed of the world. It is here that we ignite the spark that will undoubtedly ignite the struggle to conquer better days for poor peasants.
1 The Hymn of the poor and exploited "THE INTERNATIONAL".
THE STRUGGLE FOR LAND IS THE FIGHT FOR LIFE. THE LAND BELONGS TO US, BECAUSE WE ARE THE ONE WHO WORK ON IT.
2 Welcome to all participants and delegations.
Here we are, it is we, the poor peasants, who have no land and who are exploited in the most miserable way. Here we are, the poor peasants, those of us who have small plots of land, but of poor quality, without irrigation, saturated lands that produce very little and demand more work and more resources than we have.
Here we are, we are the poor peasants, those of us who have learned to live with the spectacled bear that still walks up the hill, towards the moors. Those who live with the red brockets, with the deer, the nasua, the rock rooster, the squirrels, the otter. It is we, the poor peasants who live with the cougar who still roars with their young in the forest.
But, even so, this land of poor quality in which we work, is the land that we do not have, that fauna and flora that is a reserve of the world is part of that land that we yearn for, belongs to us and today we want to remove it to stop delivering it to the big mining companies. What little we have as peasants and how much humanity has as a reserve wants to be destroyed to favor transnational corporations, to generate wealth, say the government, yes, wealth to be taken by bureaucrats, the state, and of course, the big businessmen.
We do not want a trail of blood for our families. We do not want the land without bears, without puma, or roosters; We don't want the forest without trees, we want our land and we want it alive.
Today, the Government's project has delivered in concession thousands of hectares that go from the Ibarra-San Lorenzo highway to the Colombian border line. They want to finance the fiscal mismatch with our lands, with our lives and we cannot, we will not allow it.
The mining company is already dividing our community. They are buying consciences, that of public officials, that of corrupt leaders, the conscience of our peasant comrades who believe that the mining will leave hunger, with misery. First they divide us, then they want to buy us, we do not doubt, when we do not stay together they will come to kill us, but they will not find us crestfallen, without honor, without the will to defend that land that we have been working for more than 60 years, for that land that even in the midst of difficulties has allowed us to grant cities basic agricultural products such as corn, beans, naranjilla, sugar cane, but also the air and water that is what we all need to live.
Do not believe that we will remain immobile watching how our lands are carried in the form of gold, copper or any metal that does not mean or represent anything to the poor peasantry, because for us the land, however small, however bad quality that is, is our life, and life is priceless.
We are not willing to recognize the decisions of the authorities, because they think of other things. They think about how to finance expenses that do not serve the people, the poor peasantry. We do not respect or recognize what the authorities say, their laws, because they are already bought by the transnationals, by those businessmen who do not mind leaving a trail of destruction, pollution, desolation in our territories, much less conflicts and violence between us , the poor peasants, those who generate wealth with our hands, with our sweat, with our lives.
However, if we recognize the authority of the Peoples and the popular organizations such as: the Indigenous and Peasant Federation of Imbabura, the Karanqui People, the Workers' Defense Front of Imbabura, the Poor Peasant Committees of Cotopaxi and Chimborazo, comrades of Bolívar, who have been supporting us; Those who show their concern with what is happening, particularly with the peasants of Corazón de Mundo Nuevo and El Guayabal, in the Goaltal; with the farmers of the Juntas or the Drácula reserve in Chical.
We do not want the police and the military to continue entering our communities to identify who we are struggling, we know they will end up accusing us of being rebels, guerrillas, drug traffickers, because only then will they believe they have the legal arguments to persecute, repress, imprison or kill us. And before that we have only to cover our face, which is the face of any peasant or peasant who is clear of our purposes, is the face of the people, of the mountain animal, of the mountain, the face of the water, the face cracked like that of the earth, the thousand faces, faces and wills that are expressed in our organization, the Committee of Poor Peasants.
We call on all unions, popular organizations, peasants, the conscious community of the country to support us in this fair fight, to be attentive to the repressive campaign that is already being set against us, the guardians, of the River, from the earth, from the jungle, from the moors, the guardians of life.
We call on the current regime to reveal the concession of our lands to mining companies, to withdraw the mining project and those lands that have already been delivered to predators to deliver to us, the peasants who do not have it and who are the They really work it.
If the regime gives way to mining in our lands, it will solve a short-term problem, of a few years, but they will condemn our peoples, our families, the entire humanity forever, since the damage caused by mining is irreparable.
For those who believe that mining can subsist with agriculture, with the poor peasantry we tell them that they are wrong, they cannot live life with poison; He cannot inhabit life with death. It cannot inhabit the interest of the big mining businessmen, with the interests of poor peasants, and we hope they don't insist on telling us that with that there will come progress, work and abundance because we don't believe them. We do not want semi-feudal progress, we want the land; We do not want employment, we want to work on our lands, we do not want wealth or abundance, we want the land and have the assurance that we are willing to fight to defend or conquer it.
THE LAND FOR THE POOR PEOPLE, NOT FOR THE MINING TRANSNATIONALS IF YOU WANT TO HELP THE COMMUNITIES, GIVE THE LAND TO THE ONES WHO WORK ON IT.
THE VICTORIES ARE NOT GOING TO DO US FROM HEAVEN, MANY LESS BY EXECUTIVE DECREE. THE VICTORS WILL BE THE PRODUCT OF THE STRENGTH OF OUR ORGANIZATION, OF THE CORRECT IDEOLOGICAL DIRECTION THAT IS, BUT ABOVE ALL, FOR OUR PROVISION TO DELIVER EVERYTHING TO CONQUER OUR OBJECTIVES.
3 declaration and signature of mining free zone
DECLARATION OF MINING FREE ZONE IN THE COMMUNITIES OF CORAZÓN DE MUNDO NUEVO, CAMPO LIBRE, SAN MIGUEL DE GUAYABAL DE LA CUENCA DEL RÍO MIRA.
In the street Lita-Guadual- entrance to the Corazón de Mundo Nuevo, today Saturday, November 23, 2019, at 10 o’clock, the communities of Corazón de Mundo Nuevo, Campo Libre, San Miguel de Guayabal of the Mira River basin; we are gathered in the presence of the leadership and peasant, communal, indigenous, workers, social sectors, which, covered by Art. 10 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador, exercise the rights and guarantees of the communities and peoples to live in In a healthy environment, we also demand that the rights of nature be fulfilled and under ILO Convention No. 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples concerning the recognition of the autonomies of peoples and their respect, we inform the following statement:
After several meetings and assemblies, the community members are sure that both legal mining and those called “illegal”, pollute our nature, the water we drink, the land we work and the air we breathe, so we exercise our legitimate right to the resistance that is provided in Article 98 of the Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador and states:
Individuals and groups may exercise the right to resistance against actions or omissions of the public power or of non-state natural or legal persons that violate or may violate their constitutional rights, and demand the recognition of new rights.
Mining in any of its manifestations has cut down our forests, contaminated with water, earth and air chemicals, detonated dynamite in our mountains, has intimidated the peasants, with the aim of seizing our gold; civilians, public officials and military at all costs want to get rich and leave us pollution. Just look at the disaster on our lands, the green of the pacha mama has changed color; the right to live in a healthy and ecologically balanced environment has been violated.
There is no legal mining that has environmentally friendly technology, all companies are of imperialism such as North American, Canadian, Chinese, Russian or others, come for minerals and after looting leave poverty and destruction in our land. The Ecuadorian State does not have non-polluting technology; on the contrary, it has allowed transnational corporations to have destroyed the environment, has not guaranteed and defended the national sovereignty that is ordered in Art. 3. Numerals 1 and 2 of the Constitution of Ecuador in accordance with Art. 15 ibid; State concession contracts have no legality, because the Institutions that must guarantee our rights, primarily for a Healthy Environment, depend on the State and grant permits to bleed our lands.
Mining pollutes the water by using arsenic and other chemical components that vent in our rivers Chota and Lita with mouths in the Mira River and transgresses our right to water established by the Constitution of Ecuador in Art.12; Despite this, the State has not restored the land and water of the communities due to the serious environmental damage we have suffered.
Elections or prior consultation established in Art. 57.7 Ibid are improper, it is a market of offers, where the transnationals and the Ecuadorian State want to divide the peasants, offering us work in exchange for treason; consultation that would be directed by the National Electoral Council, a state institution that lacks credibility and legitimacy, for recurring acts of doubtful honesty.
Regarding what was expressed prior, as a fundamental part of this instrument, the communards declare:
1. We reject the invasion, intervention, study, inspection, exploration and incursion in the lands and territories belonging to the communities of Corazón de Mundo Nuevo [AN: “Heart of the New World”], Campo Libre [AN: “Camp Liberty”] and San Miguel de Guayabal, of the Mira River Basin, that is carried out for any type of legal or illegal mining.
2. We will not permit that information is collected by means of explorations in the search for minerals, and principally Gold. The matter of entering our area in order to collect information will be considered an attack against the nature and will be sanctioned conforming to article 171 of the Constitution of Ecuador.
3. From the present date onward neither a mining company nor any illegal mining will be found in our communal lands and territories. It must immediately withdraw from the area, otherwise indigenous justice will be administered for an attack against nature.
4. For the reason, that our constitutional rights for life, health, land, water, intact environment, air and work have been violated by action or omission of the Ecuadorian State, THE COMMUNITIES OF CORAZÓN DE MUNDO NUEVO, CAMPO LIBRE, SAN MIGUEL DE GUAYABAL OF THE RIO MARIA BASIN DECLARE WE ARE A ZONE FREE OF MINING.
To attest to this declaration peasant, union and people’s authorities signed the declaration in the event:
Indigenous and Peasant Federation of Imbabura
Peasant Committee of Chimborazo
Peasent Committee of Cotopaxi
Defense Front of the Workers of Imbabura