15/march/05 update

By , March 16, 2005


News from Junín and Intag. Just heard today from Polibio that employees from the mining company tried to hire local young people from Junín to start working on the mine in 24 hours. The young people told this individual to, basically, go jump in the nearest body of water, and that no one from Junín was going to help the miners and that the community was totally united against the mining company.

Then, one of the landowners who has a coveted piece of land by Ascendant to build their camp told community members that they can rest at peace, that he would under no circumstances sell his land to the company.

Today too, we heard that 3 or four buses left Intag with community people to support a presentation by the Chamber of Mines in the state government of Ibarra, with the aim of getting their support for the mining project. The people organizing the buses in our area work for Ascendant Exploration. I’m sure it’s probably just a coincidence. Interestingly enough, an eyewitness reported seeing some of the buses only about half full. Maybe, just maybe, people are starting to see through their schemes…

Yesterday Decoin met with the Parish township government of Apuela to talk about the mining project. An extremely fruitful meeting, after which the government decided to give Decoin green light to keep working in the communities, and recognized that the company is responsible for the division Intag is suffering. The president accused Ascendant of, in essence, trying to weaken their government, by holding meetings like the ones that took place this past Saturday, without consulting with them.

Saturday, over 100 people from several different communities who had met to talk about a cheap housing government program, were instead trucked to the town of Irubí, where Ascendant’s Villacis and the company’s sidekick, Ronald Andrade (ex congressman investigated for corruption), shamelessly took advantage of the situation to talk about the great development programs the company will undertake with direct help from the different ministries and state governmental institutions. Not only the usual promise of roads and bridges, and computers, but also new and better housing and universities and sewer systems, were offered as part of the joint government-Ascendant development plan. For those without a high school program, he graciously offered to create a special institute. Let me make it clear that he did NOT offer the moon (had it been full and easily visible would have been another story). Oh, by the way, most of the people applauded the ridiculous show. Though, even after all the great things they were offered and their expectations greatly stroked, they were asked how many approved the company’s development project, only about 30% raised their hands. Keep in mind that this is an area where DECOIN has hardly ventured into for not being close to the mining area. Which also, actually, gives you an idea of how far the company has to venture to try and gain support for their pie-in-the-sky project. They are failing so badly in getting support right around the mining area they have to travel to another township government altogether, at the other end of Intag, to try to get it. I believe they’ll fail here too.

According to those present at the meeting, Villacis assured everyone the agreements between the company and the government entities already exists though, for some reason, he didn’t offer to show anyone copies of said agreements. Mr Andrade went out of his way to grossly insult DECOIN, accusing it (indirectly) of stealing millions (I think he meant dollars…) The Intag newspaper was also targeted for a nasty smear campaign, and the head clown directing the acts even asked the newspaperman present to leave the meeting. To top it off, Mr. Andrade launched very spiteful personal attacks against “foreigners” who are stealing millions of dollars from their environmental work, and for keeping tourists only in their cabin (he hasn’t been to our home let me assure you!). I guess he’s cool with the thought of a Canadian company ripping off billions? Go figure!

There was also nasty attacks directed at our indigenous Mayor, Auki Tituaña and the municipality of Cotacachi’s work. Who, of course, are publicly and totally, against the mining project. The moderator, mostly Andrade, had no difficulty in riling up the people against the municipality for not building the roads, sewer lines, and bridges to the moon. If any of you ever studied how transnationals work overseas, they are following the accepted script. Except, it’s going to backfire big time- and in fact, the rejection of the Apuela township government shows it.

Folks, if it was a bit vague before, it’s pretty clear that the company is out to, viciously, destroy the opposition. And this seems to include trying to weaken or disrupt local governments so they can supplant them by presenting themselves as their saviours and offering to provide basic public services that the local governments have not been able to provide to date. Interestingly enough, all the communities present have electricity thanks to the Municipal government’s disinterested work in the past few years.

Also/ Stay tuned for an upcoming revelation about Ascendant’s General and his “experience” with a US petroleum company in 1997….



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