Asking solidarity for the 600 gold miners in El Bagre
THE NATIONAL COORDINATOR OF ENERGY MINING
Integrated as the "USO", Sintramienergetica,
Sintraime, Sintracarbon, Sintrainquigas,
Endorsement and Solidarity with the Strike of the 600 workers of Mineros S.A. affiliated with
Sintramienergetica Seccional El Bagre.
Since 1650, when the conquistadors cut through the Bajo Cauca Antiqueno opening a tragic page of slavery, backwardness, and exploitation of mineral riches and gold; a metal extracted since then by a small group of national and foreign oligarchs with the help of unpatriotic governments, that have never worried about the poverty of the workers. The greed of the European and North American adventurers who took over from the local oligarchy, particularly Mineros S.A. that earned $38.330 million in 2006, prevents them from responding to the petition of its 600 workers presented on 16 March.
Colpatria and Grupo Empresarial Antioqueno (GEA) are not content with the profit produced by the exploitation of the alluvial gold in the River Nechi, now, using the international rise in prices, are trying to sell these gold deposits in Antioquia and Marmato to the trans-national Kadahda, subsidiary of Anglo Gold Ashanti,-company that controls the principal gold deposits of Colombia through Ingeominas.
Under these conditions, the workers declared the cessation of operations on 22 May to press for a positive response to their economic petitions for the benefit of their families and the social and cultural welfare of the community of Bagre and neighboring communities. A most serious demand is the adoption of real measures for the protection of the life and health of the workers, in as much as mining sickness and accidents occur everyday since they work in the river, unsheltered from the weather, with large dredges, and in exposure to toxic substances. Also the petitions call for help for the elderly of San Rafael de Bagre and the endowment of a chemical laboratory for the town's school.
One could wish that the bureaucrats of the Ministry of Social Protection, whose job it is, would step in to prevent the company from its scheming as evidenced by its shutting down of the sanitary baths which is especially harmful to the striking women workers; their decision to evict workers from their lodging forcing them into the streets and endangering their lives; and the cutting of electric power to the plant which provides light to the town of Liberia(Anori) in order to set the population against the strikers.
In spite of these adversities, the workers are standing firmly behind their petitions and strengthening their union organization. We should support this with full solidarity, both moral and economic,-in the face of their need to feed their families. The moral solidarity consists in statements of support for the strikers and demands to the company (Mineros S.A.Carrera 43 N* 14 - 109 Piso 6*, Edificio Nova Tempo. Telefax 074-2682858. Medellin, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) for a positive response to the petitions. Also to Ministerio de Proteccion Social that it intervene justly (Despacho del Ministerio Telefax: 0913305050). Economic assistance to Cuenta Corriente No. 392-07912-5 del Banco de Bogota, in name of
Sintramienergetica Nacional. Please send copies to the union: Fax: 074-8372528. El Bagre
To offer greater solidarity, the Coordinator Sindical of Energy Mining commits itself to promote a movement that seeks adoption of a sovereign policy of:
nationalization of natural resources
industrialization of minerals in the country
generation of dignified employment for Colombians
social investment in mining communities
Barranquilla, 23 May, 2007
Network of Brotherhood and Solidarity. Colombia
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621