Updated 12/12 Guards Freed / Actualizado 12/12 Comunidad libera a "paramilitares"

By , December 10, 2006
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ESPAÑOL ABAJO
Sunday 10 december

Yesterday, Saturday 9 December, several Ministry of the Energy and Mines representatives, together with the Mayor of Cotacachi helicoptered in to the community of Junin to officially receive the 56 guards that had been detained in Junin since they were arrested on the 4th. Community leaders and representatives of Intag’s Parish governments turned over the guards to the high government delegation, thus seemingly putting an end to an unusually tense and dangerous situation.

The decision to suspend Ascendant’s activities in Intag was reiterated, as was the decision to fully investigate not only Ascendant, but the different organizations acting in its behalf- but especially Falericorp, who supposedly hired the paramilitary force in the first place. The other decision was to “sweep Intag clean” of the paramilitary presence.

The violence continues.
However, approximately around 6pm I received a report that a group of armed guards and community members stopped one of the trucks bearing Junin supporters and beat four of them with sticks and machetes. The group had been in Junin for the past week supporting the communities and was headed to Apuela to join the Cotacachi Assembly, which started yesterday. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries. There’s was absolutely no provocation for this senseless and violent act, but it’s a clear indication that Ascendant has lost all control over a situation they were instrumental in creating.

The catastrophic (for Ascendant) violent assault of Intag and Cotacachi residents, the media and government officials by a handful of Ascendant supporters in the Garcia Moreno Parish this past Wednesday, should have made Ascendant immediately put an end to the violent tactics employed by its followers. Instead, and even after the decision ordering it to stop its activities in Intag, they continue. The violence generated by the company’s presence in Intag was the main reason for the government to decision to suspend Ascendant’s activities. Someone up high in the company is not getting the message.

12/12 The company refuses to abide by government order to stop all activities in Intag. News from Chalguayacu Alto, Junin and Garcia Moreno indicate that there are hired guards still in the area, though no longer in uniforms, and that the company or a subcontractor has rented a house in the town of Garcia Moreno. On the other hand, we are informed that the police still have not reached the communities, as was accorded on the 9th of December by government authorities, which is creating a very dangerous situation. At any moment we also expect an official estatement from the government indicating that Ascendant’s Environmental Impact Statement was NOT approved due to the many flaws.

Ayer (sábado 9 dic) representantes de las comunidades y gobiernos parroquiales de Intag públicamente entregaron los 56 paramilitares que habían sido capturados por comuneros de Intag el 4 de Diciembre a funcionarios del Ministerio de Energía y Minas y otras autoridades gubernamentales.

La suspensión de las actividades de la empresa en Intag, juntamente con la entrega retenidos por la comunidad el día de ayer, debió haber puesto fin a los enfrentamientos y violencia.
Sin embargo, continúan.

Aproximadamente a las 6 de la tarde del sábado 9 de diciembre, cuando un grupo de inteños e inteñas que estuvieron en Junin apoyando la comunidad en contra de los paramilitares retornaban a sus hogares después de la entrega de los retenidos se dirigían a Apuela, fueron atacados por un grupo de personas armados con palos y machetes. La embestida se realizó cerca del mismo sector donde el miércoles fueron brutalmente asaltados los periodistas, autoridades y moradores del Cantón Cotacachi. Hubo cuatro personas heridas de parte de los opositores a la minería.

Mientras tanto, en Junin, la comunidad sigue en alerta después de haber constatado la presencia de paramilitares en la comunidad de Chalguayacu Alto.

Las comunidades y gobiernos Parroquiales de Intag esperan que el gobierno cumpla con su palabra de “limpiar a Intag de paramilitares”, y de investigar a fondo las empresas que trabajan con Ascendant y que se consideran responsables por la presencia armada en la zona.

12 diciembre: Noticias de las comunidades de Junin, Chalguayacu Alto y García Moreno indican que la emppresa no ha acatado la orden del gobierno de abstenerse de realizar actividades en Intag. Lo que es más hay informes de la presencia de guardias de seguridad en el área, aunque ya no en uniformes, y que la empresa o alguna de sus contratistas han alquilado recientemente una casa en el poblado de García Moreno

Por otra parte, nos informan las comunidades que la policía no se ha trasladado a las comunidades tal como fue acordado en la entrega de los 57 guardias a las autoridades, lo cual crea un ambiente de grave inseguridad en toda la zona.

En cualquier momento esperamos un pronunciamiento oficial de parte del Ministerio de Energía y Minas sobre la NO aprobación del Estudio de Impacto Ambiental de Ascendant Coppper por las graves fallas e irregularidades.

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