Cotacachi, La Hora, 3 November 2006

By , November 6, 2006


The trouble won’t stop in the Intag area. On Wednesday, 60 people supposedly from the Ascendant Copper mining company entered Intag, which disturbed the residents of Barcelona and Cerro Pelado, who asked them to leave. However, according to the community members, the group ignored their request and actually attacked them.

The two groups had confrontations. Still with a bruised body, Vicente Quicuango, a representative of the community of Villaflora in Íntag, is living proof of the aggression, supposedly by Ascendant Copper company people, who entered the area on Wednesday with men whose physical characteristics seemed to indicate that they were from the Coast.

Evidently still fearful, Mr. Quicuango tells that his attackers had machetes, tear-gas canisters, backpacks and firearms. Quicuango approached them to ask why this group was coming in and to see their identification, but these workers responded violently and were about to “run him over” with a pickup truck.

Local residents have firmly resisted Ascendant’s entry for mining extraction with the argument that these actions will harm their ecosystem and ruin the area’s biodiversity, where unique natural resources are hidden everywhere.

“As women, we defend our children’s future and their rights to having a healthy environment, and we will continue this struggle with all we have. Our firm position is a resounding ‘no’ to mining”, says Teresa Flores, who lives in the sub-tropical area.

According to local witnesses, out of the 60 persons who entered the area, some 20 were from Intag and the rest seemed to be from the Coast.

The offices of La Hora received a visit from Jorge Mantilla, manager of Falericop, a company that undertakes agricultural projects, who asserted that the persons who entered Intag on Wednesday are part of his entity and were going to plant land that the Ascendant Copper mining company had rented to them.

“My workers were attacked because they wanted to clear a road, so that my company’s technicians could implement productive plans in the area”. He claims that they do not belong to the mining company, but only have an arrangement for farming.

Controls all over the area

After the confrontations, the local police asked for reinforcements and, after a few hours, more police personnel came to the area.

Sergio Torres, Head of the Provincial Police Command of Imbabura Province, explained that Otavalo police officers were deployed, under the command of Captain, Javier Torres Luna.

“Forty miners were detained by the community, but discussions led to turning them over to the Police”, explained Torres. They were taken back to Otavalo and released.


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