Military Operations for Muriel Mining
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
An unprecedented militarization of the territories of Jiguamiando where native peoples live is being carried out to support the exploration of the Cerro Cara de Perro by the US company, Muriel Mining Corporation, as the military has reported.
Beginning this afternoon they started a mobilization towards the indigenous reservations where the company has established itself. Indigenous, Afro-Colombian and mestizo peple of the Jiguamiando, Curvarado and Lower Atrato watersheds are rejecting what they see as an occupation by the company, since there has not been a Previous Consultation as required by International law and the ILO Agreement 169, and because of the damage to the environment and the survival of the peoples that the project signifies.
From Sunday, December 28, 2008 through now military operations have persisted, in which the soldiers indicate that they are there in order to provide protection for the exploration without consultation that the company—with headquarters in Colorado, USA—is carrying out in the territories of the Afro-Colombians and indigenous people.
The indigenous people of the reservations Urada Jiguamiando, Nuevo Canaveral, Alto Guayabal, Turriguitado Alto, Turriquito Llano, Guaguas, Coredo, Chibugado, Iñaragui, and the inhabitants of the Humaniarian Zones and the Biodiversity Zones of Jiguamiando and Curvarado are opposed to the exporation and exploitation of the Cerro Cara de Perro on the Jiguamiando River.
While the militarization is being carried out in the international business sectors, the “Gaitanista Self-defense Units” continue protecting the agrobusinesses of oil palm and banana, the deforestation, and the extensive cattle raising in the midst of the presence of the XV Brigade and the Urabá police. During the night of last Sunday, “Gaitanista Self-Defense Units” that were in the settlement of Brisas on the Curvarado murdered an Afro-Colombian with a knife. This is a place that has a regular presence of the public security forces. Twelve days ago a similar situation occurred and a lifeless body was carried along by the Curvarado River without the military or police acting efficiently.
The military presence includes the participation of troops of the XV and XVII Brigade. According to the people affected, they stay in the upper part of the watershed of the Jiguamiando River by the indigenous settlements of the Embera people in Coredocito in the foothills of the Cerro Care Perro, and they pass through the Humanitarian Zones of Nueva Esperanza and Pueblo Nuevo in the Jiguamiandó.
Last Saturday, January 3rd, four geologists of the Murielk Mining company arrived in Coredocito. They told the leader Argemiro Bailarin, that they had authorization for the exploration from Pedro Nel Lemus, a functionary of Muriel, and from two Indigenous people, Victor Carpio, who is from the region but does not belong to the communities directly affected, and Mario Domico. The geologists added that they had the consent of the indigenous authorities of CAMIZBA, some from Carmen del Darién, and from the community of Urada. Monday, January 5, at 4:30 PM a military helicopter landed en Coredocito, apparently with another geologist of the Muriel Mining Corporation.
The company plans to carry out exploration work that consists of drilling in the zone during a 2-month period. The community that traditionally lives there is against the implementation of the project of the extractive project and since last year convoked a People’s Consultation in which through their votes the reservations and the Community Councils expressed in a referendum their rejection of the exploration and exploitation of the Cerro Cara de Perro.
To the organizations in the United States that they sent communications to the government of their country and the Muriel Mining Corporation so that they cease explorations without consultation and with serious consequences for the indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples of the lower Atrato. To environmental and human rights organizations, that they send communications to Francisco Santos, Vice-President of the Republic; Jaime Bermúdez, Minister of External Relations; Paula Moreno Zapata. Minister of Culture; Juan Lozano, Minister of Environment to act immediately to ask for the withdrawal of the Muriel Mining Corporation in the face of the intervention without consultation with the indigenous and Afro peoples of Jiguamiando.
Bogota, D.C., January 6, 2009
Comision Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz. [Inter Church Justice and Peace Council]
Colombia Support Network
P.O. Box 1505
Madison, WI 53701-1505
phone: (608) 257-8753
fax: (608) 255-6621