By , October 8, 2004

The latest trick by the miners are to try and break the ever growing resistance to their project is paying for a web page to try to discredit DECOIN’s work in Intag (

They are hoping to do this by using a political party called “Todos por Intag”, a party that practically did not exist before Ascendant Exploration’s presence in Intag, and who obviously answers to them. It is telling that the pseudo political party spends all its energy and funds falsely attacking us instead of informing its constituency and the world of its political platform (not even a whisper on their position on mining!)

We thought it pretty funny how many of the photographs looked very similar to the ones used by Ascendant Exploration in some of their publications… we are sure it’s just a coincidence.

Anyone who has spent even a few days in the Intag area will know the allegation against DECOIN are, well… just plain ludicrous (good composting material though). But, we urge you to take a look at the anti-DECOIN web page anyway, it makes for great entertainment. You’ll also get to see first hand a mining company’s attempt to weaken the overwhelming opposition to their unwanted project – will backfire!

For those who haven’t had the fortune of spending time in Intag, here are just a few of the entertaining lies posted on their web page:

1) Polibio Perez is mentioned a lot on this document. First off, he is not a DECOIN member, but the president of the community-created Community Development Council – an organization made up by representatives from different communities and organizations in Intag. DECOIN is just one of the member, and only community members are on the board. By the way, the leaders of this organization were democratically elected in Junín in a popular assembly on May 15th, attended by 150 people from more than 12 different communities and several organizations. Just in case you are wondering, organizations in Ecuaodr do not have to be blessed by Parish governments, especially one so pro-mining as the one in García Moreno. The Ecuadorian Constitution allows these kinds of organizations to exist and flourish.

2) Polibio makes a living planting and harvesting naranjillas (native Andean fruit), and not by cutting trees. He also spends hundreds of hours working against the mining project that would destroy the homes of most of his neighbors. People often use the area around his house to store the wood until the trucks take it away, this is why the boards are stacked up around his house. DECOIN is not too worried about small-scale logging as it is about the massive deforestation and contamination that the mining project will create.

3) The money received by AAACRI (the coffee coop) is AACRI’s money; not ours. The members of AACRI receive a minimum of between $57 and $63 per 100 pounds, not the $40 for 125 they claim. The scanned documents on this section, if anything, show AACRI is a transparent organization with checks and balances, and with nothing to hide. The person who obtained these documents was on her way to be expulsed from AACRI for clandestinely recording meetings and working for Ascendant. Oh, by the way, last count, there were a minimum of 140 AACRI member producing coffee farms in Intag, otherwise what could we be exporting in the containers to Japan, Intag air?

4) New cars and homes for every DECOIN member? This has to the funniest claim! Where do these clowns get this? Of all DECOIN’s members, I (Carlos Zorrilla) am the only one with a car. A 1972 Land Rover, kept together by a wizard mechanic in Otavalo! DECOIN, by the way, does not even own a car. As an organization we can’t afford the maintenance, much less buying one! As for houses in Otavalo in Quito… My wife Sandy cracked up on reading this! What more can I say? The only place I and my wife own is our reserve in Intag. Which, BY THE WAY, is not the house in photo shown in the web page. Our house is about one hour’s walk from the Hacienda Santa Rosa, site of the photo. We had a runny-nosed young fellow come to visit a few months ago pretending to be a university student studying ecotourism and took some photos of our house, but I guess they weren’t “lavish enough” to show on their web site…

5) DECOIN’s work: We are very proud of our accomplishments in Intag. Anyone who we’ve ever worked with will attest to the many projects that are 1) protecting community water supplies in 26 communities; conserving around 4,000 hectares of mostly primary and secondary forests in 4 Community forests reserves; Reforestation in 6 community watersheds, with over 17,000 native trees planted. We also wrote the project and got the funds for the Toisan fair trade store in Otavalo which we co-administer with 3 other local organizations and which sells goods produced by organized groups in Intag… We helped start the AACRI coffee project, and Junín’s community ecological tourism project, in which more than 50 men and women from two communities participate. We have also taken part in hundreds of talks and workshops on environmental education, and the real impacts of mining. DECOIN does not own a single square meter of land; the community reserves we buy are always in the community’s, or a local group’s namme. We figure if they own it, they’ll protect it. And, finally, we are visited often by project sponsors. They must like our work and our accountability, for they keep funding us year after year! If you want details of these and the many other projects we are involved with, please read the many articles on our web site.

I’m sorry but there’s just too much bovine manure in the miner’s web page to try to respond to. Anyway, I think anyone with a little bit of intelligence will figure it out.

Who are these clowns? Obviously pretty stupid clowns. Desperate ones too, to try and so idiotically discredit our work. The more interesting question begs itself: who is the “circus owner” so interested in discrediting DECOIN? The answer should be pretty obvious. Our work against the mining project is visibly bothering someone.

This newest (but I have to admit, entertaining) attack comes right after Ascendant Exploration criminally charged the Intag paper for libel. They weren’t too happy with the reporting that lay bare what they were doing, so they sued, It also comes at time when the resistance against Ascendant’s presence is much stronger, and the company much weaker now than when it came into the Intag area in May of this year, in spite of many thousands of dollars worth of spent on trying to buy support.

This also comes at a time when Ascendant is trying to expand their mining concessions in Intag. We have just found out they are currently soliciting two new concessions; one in the Jun&iacuten area and the other in the Cuellaje area. Maybe they think their work will be easier if DECOIN wasn’t around. I wonder where they get this idea?

When it comes to mining, I am certain Intag residents will be very fair and democratic: Ascendant will be defeated in their quest to mine here just like Mitsubishi was defeated in 1997, and just like any transnational that wants to set up shop in Intag will be defeated. They can buy their way to hell and take some local consciousnesses with them, but people will resists and not give in; DECOIN or no DECOIN. They don’t get it that the resistance comes from the bases and that it is widespread and firmer than ever. Paying for idiotic web pages will not help their cause, but only help to strengthen ours.


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