Mining and the Constituent Assembly

Mining and the Constituent Assembly

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By Monica Chuji

In the areas of mining concessions, socially there are total deficiencies of infrastructure, employment, health and education. But from there to suggesting that large-scale or open-pit metal mining is the magic wand that solves all problems as a country there is a huge abyss and distortion.

Allowing transnational mining companies to dictate the new Constitution would be to re-update the colonial era.

During the last days, the large number of requests presented by different unions and mining companies, especially interested or involved in open-pit metal mineral exploitation projects, has attracted the attention of our table. It would seem that the environmental problem was reduced to the mining problem, when in our table 5 called "Natural Resources and Biodiversity" during the first weeks of work we have identified and debated 9 major central issues such as: water, oil, mining, biodiversity, fragile ecosystems, climate change, urban ecology, alternative energies or the biosphere, protected by international and regional conventions such as Agenda 21, the Convention on Biological Diversity, Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), the Kyoto Protocol or the Andean Environmental Agenda to cite just some of the agreements that the Ecuadorian State has signed in the last 15 years.

Of course, the extractive model and the over-exploitation of natural resources in our country worries us greatly and occupies a good part of our attention and discussion time. And to that extent the doors of our table and of the Constituent Assembly are open to hear all the proposals. And we have done so and we will continue to do so with all sectors, including unions, residents and workers who make a living from mining and executives of mining companies. It is our obligation to serve all sectors and listen to them.

But we are also interested in being the most democratic and pluralistic and we aspire that the set of social organizations in the country, the Afro-Ecuadorian people, the peasants of the Sierra, the Coast, the Amazon, the fishermen, the artisans, the youth of schools and universities, ancestral nationalities and peoples, urban dwellers, patriotic and responsible private entrepreneurs, intellectuals committed to change in the country, women and children can make their voices heard and share their concerns, dreams, and proposals many of which are ours.

But sadly until today, we see that only disproportionately arrive in Ciudad Alfaro, here in Montecristi, those who have greater economic resources and invest in what they call "lobbying" (in English) or lobbying, as happens with several transnational mining companies, desperate for looting the gold or copper resources of our subsoils, in exchange for crumbs in areas where our people have been excluded and ignored by the State. The old story of gold in exchange for mirrors.

It is not in doubt or discussion that in these mining concession areas, socially there are total deficiencies in infrastructure, employment, health and education. Nor is it in doubt that they are areas rich in biodiversity, forests or water sources, and in some cases, territories with ancestral peoples rich in their culture. But from there to suggesting that large-scale or open-pit metal mining is the magic wand that solves all our problems as a country there is a huge abyss and distortion.

Particularly the theses with which I identify myself, and raised for many years within our Amazonian Kichwa organizations from which I come and to which I belong, are those that start from our philosophy of Sacha Runa Yachai (wisdom of the people of the jungle ), principles such as Sumak Kawsay (life in harmony, understood in an integral way both the material and the spiritual) the Tukuy Pacha (the need that everyone has the right to know and access all kinds of science and knowledge), and what we know as the Pachamamapi Tyak Kawsay Kunata (the use and administration of Mother Nature's resources) or the Mushuk or Sumak Allpa (that of a harmonious, respectful and balanced relationship with Mother Earth or jungle, which allows us to have it always new or renewed), they are the ones that our elders taught us and that is what I believe in and what I defend.

And for the same reason, the weakening of our organizations, the destruction of our cultures, wisdoms and practices or the gradual loss of our territories are serious causes of the destruction of nature, but that deserves another note and a broader explanation, which I will put it for your consideration in the coming days.

Our country does not live according to these ancient principles. There is no life in harmony anywhere. On the contrary, human life and all forms of life are despised. There is too much misery and inequality to be calm, as explained to us by Dr. Carlos Larrea, from the Simón Bolívar Andean University a few days ago.

If we go to the subject of knowledge or science, western and modern ethnocentric knowledge has despised the sciences, practices and knowledge of our ancestral peoples, and also reaches an elite, in a mutilated way, generating a great exclusion and difference between the people of our town.

And with respect to nature, instead of renewing it, of permanently regenerating it, what we have seen are two things: or they propose to conserve it from a romantic perspective of landscape or aesthetics for an elite, at the cost of the rights and needs of our people and of our nationalities, or they predate it to the point of exhaustion, as they did successively in the last 150 years cocoa, banana, shrimp, flower growers, loggers, palm growers or oil workers, as the former Foreign Minister, Dr. María Fernanda explained clearly during her visit. Espinosa.

I don't think mining is the future. Metal mining in our countries is a colonial heritage. There we have the example of Bolivia, a mining country for almost 5 centuries, where the gold and silver mines in the Andes have been mechanisms of genocide and looting, and cause of the misery and historical exclusion of Aymaras and Kechwas, which is now trying to change President Evo Morales with the support of the majority of the poor people and the rabid opposition of the oligarchy of the crescent, supported by the government of George W. Bush.

The current Peruvian economic growth, based on the "mining boom", so publicized by President Alan García and the neoliberal corifeos, has not solved the problems of the different Andean regions of our neighboring country - where minerals are exploited - sunk not only in the most absolute misery and poverty, but affected by the depredation of their water sources and the contamination of their agricultural soils. What has exacerbated gold and copper mining in Peru is inequality, accumulation of wealth in a few hands, violation of human rights, death and greater destruction of nature, as is the case in Cajamarca, Piura or Moquegua, to cite the most common cases. known.

If we look on the other hand, another Latin American country like Costa Rica, it has not had oil, nor does it exploit large-scale metal mining and yet it lives better than we do around the industry without chimneys that is tourism. It is a case of a country that knows how to take advantage of the potential of its territory in a sustainable way.

I prefer to believe in the word of President Rafael Correa who stated that the future of our country lies in tourism and the sustainable management of our forests, of our biodiversity. Those are our points of view and debate and that is why it seems inappropriate to think that we should consider mining as an option for the future. We Ecuadorians cannot bet on that. We must break with colonialism once and for all.

We cannot repeat with our children and their descendants the mistake made with us by the Creoles who founded the Republic of Ecuador, and their descendants today shouting and blackmailing, to reactivate a secessionist campaign that began in the 19th century.

* Monica Chuji She is a National Assemblyman and President of the Natural Resources and Biodiversity table of the Constituent Assembly

Video: Polity for MPPSC. Constituent Assembly. Pavan Choudhary (July 2022).


  1. Shagor

    It seems to me you are right

  2. Faegal

    Agree, the remarkable room

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