Dear Codelco

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By , October 9, 2014

To Codelco’s Directors

Intag, 9 October 2014

Dear Codelco,

After reviewing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the Llurimagua mining project, I got to wondering whether you know what you are getting into here in Ecuador, and if you had the slightest idea of the social conflicts and violence you could detonate if exploration starts.

Are you aware, for example, that the recently complete EIA for the mining project is woefully inadequate? The people doing it were obviously so pressed for time to get it done, that it is FULL of mistakes and omissions, rendering the study useless. I mean, how much correct information about the project can you possibly gather just in a few days of on-the- ground observations and sampling?  Especially in such a highly complex ecosystem as a primary cloud forest replete with pristine rivers and streams. The Study’s principal objective, after all, is to gauge the potential impacts that the advanced exploration activities could have on the social and natural environment and propose solutions to mitigate or avoid them.  As should be obvious to anyone minimally honest, you can’t do that if the information you are basing the solutions on is wrong, totally lacking or incomplete. If, as often happens with such studies, the intention of the authors or editors (who apparently worked for Codelco) was to go out of their way so as not present any inconvenient facts that might jeopardize the project, then the Study is dishonest and a sham.

In use of its attributes as a civil society actor, the Asamblea de Unidad Cantonal de Cotacachi (Cotacachi Assembly for County Unity), an umbrella organization made up of Cotacachi County’s most important civil society organizations, on October 7th turned in to the Ministry of the Environment approximately one hundred pages detailing some the Study’s major flaws, its mistakes and omissions, as part of the participatory process of reviewing the Study. I use the term ¨ some of the Study’s flaws’ because the 15 days given to the communities and civil society to review the over 1000 page EIA, was embarrassingly inadequate. Especially when considering that the Annexes were unavailable until just the last few days. Had we had more time to review the EIS, I’m sure we could have filled another 100 pages of mistakes.    In Chile, I understand, the time frame for civil society to study and comment on the information contained in Environmental Impact Assessments is 120 days. Here’s a perhaps a stupid question for you:  why did you not insist on the same standards here in Ecuador?  A process like this if not done in good faith, is a failed process.

Here’s another question: Would an Environmental Impact Study in Chile, regardless of the phase of mining activity it is prepared for, be prepared based on 12 days of on-the-ground observations and sampling during just one climatic period in the year? And, would a 1000 page Study have been put together in just three months? Keep in mind that, according to Ecuadorian legislation, the advanced exploration project classifies as a Category IV project, the most environmentally damaging of all, thus extra care should have been given to prepare the best possible study.

Let me illustrate what I mean about the poverty of the study with a couple of concrete examples, but please do take the time to study the detailed  Asamblea de Unidad Cantonal de Cotacachi document.

The authors of the study knew or should have known, that dozens of members from community of Junin and Chalguayacu Alto run a successful community ecotourism project, and that it owns and manages a 1,500 hectare forest reserve.  First of all, the first major blunder was that the authors did not consider the impact the exploration project would have on the business and community members taking part in the initiative, nor consider ways to avoid or minimize the  impacts. The omission also applies for the project’s impacts on tourism in general in Intag; it was never properly assessed.

Second, there is no doubt that the community forest reserve is within the mining concession.  However, the authors, or the editors of the Study who did not want people to know too much about the reserve, very briefly mentioned the existence of a ¨500 hectare Junin community reserve¨ just once in the 1000 plus page study, but did not specify where it was. It so happens that, after looking at the recently made available property-owner map in the Study’s Annexes (Mapa Catastral), that the community land is exactly where Codelco would like to drill the 90 exploration wells (now we know why the delay to make them available to the public)!  Yet, no one from either Codelco or Enami has taken the time to ask the owner’s permission to use, or rent the land.  Needless to say, we know what the answer would be, but does this key omission not put the whole exploration project in jeopardy?

If, as I suspect will happen, Codelco or its proxy, ENAMI, will claim that since the community has no legal title to part of the land, they cannot claim anything, it would be a huge mistake. A mistake which, given the conflicts in the past, will set off confrontations and very likely lead to violence and human rights abuses. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that if you lose the forests your ecotourism business depends on, you lose the business.  And people aren’t going to stand for that. People have lost their lives fighting for land rights right in Junin and countless other places around the world.

The law of the land in this part of the world states that if you use untitled land that you pay for, as the community did and has been doing since 1998 when DECOIN helped the community purchase the first properties in the mining area, then it is yours. Indeed, the law allows for squatters to gain lawful title to untitled land. I’m referring about just the part that is untitled: the community and business has title to most of their land. The fact that the community has been unable to title one part of the community forest reserve is because the government arbitrarily prohibited land titling within the mining concession. But that does not make it any less theirs, nor does it extinguish the passion for defending what they consider to be theirs.  You should take note that Ecuador’s Constitution gives its citizens the right to resist any action or omission that threatens their rights.

The authors of the Study inexplicably?,  completely omitted the fact that the Municipality of Cotacachi approved a County Ordinance in August of 2008 creating the 18,000 hectare Area Natural Toisan protected area. The Municipal protected area not only prohibits mining but encompasses most of the mining concession. How to explain such crucial omission given the fact that the section of the Study devoted to reviewing all the legal bodies affecting the project runs to 67 pages?  This is just one of many legal arguments that casts severe doubt on the project’s legality. There is a section on the Asamblea de Unidad de Cotacachi document that details the others.

And, while on the subject of Municipal Ordinances, while the authors of the study analyzed another of the County’s legal instruments, Cotacachi’s Ecological Ordinance, the review is very superficial, and left out one of the most important parts of the Ordinance: its prohibition of industrial activities that involve deforestation of native forests. As the Study reports, the mining site is very rich in primary forests, in spite of the authors going shamefully out of their way not to mention the P word.

The above are just a few examples of the hundreds of errors and omissions in the study you very likely funded, and edited, and which include a ridiculous picture of the popular support for the project.  Thus, in the sincere hopes of avoiding re-activating social conflicts that could lead to human rights abuses, I urge you to carefully read the Asamblea de Unidad Cantonal de Cotacachi  document, and rethink starting mining operations on such a wrong foot in Ecuador**.   Perhaps, who knows, you will come to the conclusion that your reputation is not worth the risks this project entails.

Before closing, I would like to draw your attention to something I think it’s worth reminding you of.  Tomorrow, Javier Ramirez, president of the Junin community, will have spent six months in an overcrowded jail.  During all this time the government was supposed to be gathering evidence to bring him to trial for as crime he could not have possibly have committed, violating Javier’s most fundamental right to justice and a number of his Constitutional Rights. However, everyone knows that the real reason he is in jail is to pressure the community to accept mining, and to intimidate the opposition. For many, Javier Ramirez is a political prisoner. In a country where the Constitution proclaims that jail should only be used for exceptional cases, it’s not hard to see why.

Why this should be relevant to you is because people in Intag have no doubt whatsoever that the real reason Javier is in jail and his brother Victor Hugo avoiding arrest is, indirectly, because of CODELCO. Even though the persons who accused Javier of hitting them are ENAMI employees (causing only minor injuries), everyone knows that it is CODELCO who can put a stop to the injustice.  Tomorrow. If you wanted to.

If, in the end, the mining project fails and you abandon the Llurimagua project, at least you leave with your reputation intact and the knowledge of having done something right in Intag.

I thus urge you to put human rights over economic gain and not take a chance of being part of a project so beset with illegalities, human rights abuses and dishonesty.

Thank you.


Carlos Zorrilla

** you can ask for a copy of the analysis from  the Asamblea de Unidad Cantonal at and from DECOIN at  (Decoin is a member of the Asamblea and helped draw up the analysis)


I also suggest you read Twenty One Reasons Codelco Should Stay Away from Intag at


The Report on Human Rights Abuses connected to the May 2014 police action can be accessed here:;postID=9126156696743719567;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=0;src=postname




Terrorismo en Intag?

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By , July 16, 2014

Mina de cobre Peru Cerro Verde crp

Mina de Cobre Cerro Verde, Perú


(Terrorismo en Intag)

Crónicas del extractivismo neocolonial contemporáneo

Horacio Machado Aráoz


1.- Luego de varios viajes al Ecuador, es la primera vez que estoy personalmente en la zona de Intag. Sus montañas, de una belleza conmovedora y generosidad exuberante, vienen dando que hablar bastante en las últimas décadas. Yo escuché de ellas allá por 2005, cuando empezaba las investigaciones para mi tesis doctoral. Me enteré por entonces de uno de los primeros y más fuertes conflictos provocados por la nueva ola de fiebre mineral que se desató desde la última década del siglo pasado en América Latina. La lucha de las comunidades campesinas de Intag contra la Bishi Metals (empresa minera japonesa ligada al holding de Mitsubishi Corporation) en 1997 y más tarde contra la Ascendant Copper Co. (canadiense) en 2002, sería no sólo una de las pioneras, sino también emblemáticas en la defensa de los sistemas de vida locales, amenazados por las crecientes pretensiones extractivistas. Muchas otras resistencias contra mega-proyectos mineros en la región, se inspirarían más tarde en la valentía de esas comunidades al enfrentar y finalmente expulsar a esas grandes corporaciones, que ya en aquellos años supieron desplegar todo el arsenal de violencia diversificada que les es característico: donaciones y persecuciones, sobornos a líderes locales y dirigentes políticos, agresivas campañas mediáticas prometiendo el “desarrollo” y “nuevos empleos”, y hasta el amedrentamiento y las balas de fuerzas parapoliciales… Nada de eso pudo quebrantar entonces la férrea convicción de esas comunidades; para ellas era claro que ninguna promesa de “desarrollo” y de “oportunidades de enriquecimiento” era siquiera comparable a las riquezas, bellezas y bienestar que ellos ya disfrutaban y cultivaban con sus sistemas de vida. Antes que se transformara en un potente concepto político extendido a lo largo y a lo ancho de Nuestra América, antes de que la cartografía de los imaginarios políticos se viera sacudida por la emergencia de un nuevo horizonte emancipatorio condensado en la voz quecha de Sumaj Kawsay, esas comunidades de Intag ya sabían de qué se trataba el BUEN VIVIR… Ellos viven, practican, cultivan y disfrutan del Buen Vivir. Ya desde entonces, ellos saben que ese Buen Vivir nace y depende de sus montañas; han aprendido, por tanto, muy bien que el “desarrollo” es la principal amenaza, el arma más poderosa que apunta, hoy por hoy, contra el Buen Vivir…
2.- Estoy por primera vez en esa políticamente densa zona de Nuestra América que es Intag. Me encuentro en medio de una reunión de vecina/os de distintas localidades y pueblitos que se llegaron –no fácilmente- a la sede de la cooperativa de tamberos de Chalguayacu Alto. Más que los obstáculos del relieve, debieron esforzarse para pasar los “filtros” que los cuerpos de la policía nacional han instalado en los caminos para controlar e impedir, según los casos, el tránsito de la/os vecina/os por sus propios caminos… Veo rostros de aflicción; las voces suenan trémulas; como apagadas; unas como ahogadas en el dolor y la desesperanza; otras intentando contener tanta rabia y tanta indignación… Un vecino cuenta el estado de desesperación de la esposa de Javier Ramirez Piedra, presidente electo de la comunidad de Junín, detenido en condiciones irregulares (por decir lo menos) desde el 10 de abril de 2014 bajo los cargos de “rebelión, sabotaje y terrorismo”; es que lo que se creía una medida intimidatoria extrema pero de corta duración, ya va para largo: más de tres meses de detención, sumando arbitrariedades judiciales, unas tras otras… Otra vecina comparte el estado de angustia de su hija adolescente: “Nidia”, de trece años, tiene desde hace unas semanas trastornos de sueño y digestivos; padece de insomnio, y de noche, despierta sollozando; de día, le acompaña un estado de náuseas y vómitos… No quiere ir a la escuela; siente temor de tener que atravesar las propias calles del pueblo donde nació, ahora surcadas y ocupadas por numerosos policías, uniformados, de civil, y hasta con el torso desnudo. Están ahí, exhibiendo la “presencia del Estado”, haciendo saber que están ahora controlados y vigilados; lo escuchan y lo ven todo; que ellos son la fuerza, la razón y la ley. Están, unos acampando en las escuelas y otros, “alquilando” camas a vecinos a razón de 10 dólares la noche, a modo de “adelanto” de la prosperidad que traerá la minería… Ya las primeras voladuras han sido detonadas; no todavía en los cerros, sino en el tejido social de la comunidad. El dinero ofrecido es más ácido que el drenaje de mina: dinamita los vínculos y las relaciones; produce fracturas prácticamente irreversibles. Por qué aceptar la limosna estatal; por qué oponerse a lo que parece “inevitable”; dejarse vencer y traicionar a la comunidad; darse cuenta a tiempo y “aprovechar lo que sea posible”: las acusaciones cruzadas surcan los territorios de solidaridades históricas… Y con esas primeras grietas se “cuela” el poder de fuego de la voracidad extractivista en ciernes…

3.- Quién hubiera pensado unos pocos años atrás que el gobierno nacido y construido bajo el espíritu revolucionario del proceso constituyente que legara no sólo al Ecuador, ni sólo a Nuestra America, sino a la humanidad toda, la Constitución de Montecristi (2008), quien hubiera imaginado que ese gobierno terminara luego persiguiendo, judicializando, criminalizando y reprimiendo a los defensores de los Derechos de la Naturaleza. Más todavía, un gobierno que ejerce el poder en nombre de una supuesta “revolución ciudadana” acusando de terroristas a “simples” campesina/os, cafetalera/os, agricultora/es, criadores de vacas, de frutas, de ríos y de bosques, simplemente porque quieren seguir manteniendo y cuidando sus sistemas de vida, la salud y vitalidad de sus territorios; simplemente porque no quieren saber nada con una minería que no tiene nada que ver con ellos, con sus modos de producir y habitar sus montañas: porque la tecnología es extraña, como extraños son los motivos y los fines de la explotación; porque el cobre es deseado por otros y para otros; porque los caminos y la infraestructura, serán para usufructo de la “empresa”… Porque nada de lo que ofrecen compensará las pérdidas… Y hacer la voluntad de lo extraño en el propio territorio, produce extrañamiento, alienación ecobiopolítica.

Las comunidades de Intag lo saben y por eso se oponen. Esa oposición los ha convertido en enemigos declarados de la “causa nacional”, la nueva ola desarrollista que sopla ahora bajo los discursos grandilocuentes de la “revolución ciudadana”. Extraña revolución, que se parece tanto a las formas y los modos de una dictadura; extraña apelación a la “ciudadanía”, cuando los que salen a las calles a expresar su voluntad son perseguidos y judicializados; cuando las propias autoridades electas son acusadas de “terrorismo” por intentar cumplir el contrato político con sus electores…. Javier Ramirez Piedra es, como me lo describen sus vecinos, “un campesino honrado, pacífico y solidario”, comprometido desde siempre con la defensa de esa parte de la Cordillera de Toisán que es hoy su hogar. En reconocimiento precisamente a su honestidad y compromiso, ha sido electo presidente de la comunidad de Junín. En


cumplimiento de su “mandato electoral” ha participado y apoyado las manifestaciones populares contra el ingreso de la ENAMI (Empresa Nacional de Minería) a la zona. Esta empresa, creada por Rafael Correa, para arremeter en la zona con el proyecto Llurimagua, de explotación de cobre en casi 5000 hectáreas, en alianza con la transnacional chilena, oneroso legado de la dictadura de Pinochet, la CODELCO, procura ahora “revestir” de presuntamente “nacional” una explotación que por sus características, condiciones, modalidades y objetivos, es, más que transnacional, de carácter insoslayablemente (neo)colonial.

Javier Ramirez ha sido acusado de “rebelión, sabotaje y terrorismo” presuntamente por participar en una manifestación de vecinos que intentaron impedir el paso de agentes de la ENAMI a iniciar una nueva exploración de la zona. Desde el 10 de abril hasta la fecha permanece detenido. El 8 de mayo de este año, empleados de la ENAMI ingresaron a la fuerza, a la zona de Intag, escoltados por un cuerpo de 250 policías y fuerzas especiales anti-motines, en más de 30 vehículos policiales y acompañados por el gobernador de Imbabura. En su cuenta de Twitter, la ENAMI publicó la “noticia” con un lacónico y cínico comentario: “Una entrada pacífica y con apoyo de la comunidad a la zona de Llurimagua. Mineria Responsable”… Para más, esos policías ingresaron para no salir: han hecho de Junín y sus alrededores un territorio literalmente ocupado. Controlan y administran a su propio antojo y arbitrio no sólo el ingreso de “externos y foráneos” a la región, sino incluso, el propio tránsito de los mismos vecinos entre pueblo y pueblo. El 14 de junio pasado, el día antes de mi llegada a la zona, las comunidades de la región decidieron reunirse en Cotacachi y emprender una caravana en solidaridad con Junín y con su presidente detenido y en defensa de Intag. Se congregaron más de 400 personas en la plaza. El alcalde de Cotacachi, los concejales y funcionarios municipales, vecinos de localidades vecinas, vieron sin embargo, frustradas sus intenciones: la Policía Nacional les negó el paso en nombre de las medidas de seguridad tomada por el “Operativo Nacional Intag”, bajo órdenes directas del Ministerio del Interior, según respondieron… Ese sábado 14 de junio, la prepotencia estatal ejercida bajo el discurso legitimador de “revolución ciudadana” aplastó toda pretensión de mínima de ciudadanía; cobró las formas y los gestos de la más tosca dictadura. Ese día quedó claro que desde abril por lo menos a esta parte, Intag pasó a estar bajo un régimen de estado de sitio de facto.

4.- Yo llegué a Intag al otro día, de ese soberano atropello a la voluntad popular. El domingo 15 de junio era un día especial para todo Ecuador: ese día no sólo se festejaba el día del padre, sino que además debutaba la selección en el mundial de fútbol contra Suiza. Mientras en todo el país se vivía un clima de fiesta, en la zona de Intag predominaba un ambiente de terror. El terror alude no sólo a un estado fisiológico que se apodera de los cuerpos, sino también a un estado social donde las prácticas y las relaciones se hallan bajo el dominio del miedo y la angustia. Eso era lo que veía y percibía en cada rostro y en cada palabra que intercambiaba con la/os pobladores de la zona. La empresa minera, la ENAMI, como es del protocolo de sus políticas de fabricación de “consenso”, organizó un festejo para los padres, pero fueron muy pocos. Las calles estaban habitadas por el silencio y la mirada vigilante de patrulleros y policías de a pie. La gente, en la reunión convocada para hablar de la marcha frustrada del día anterior, hablaba bajito y mirando para el suelo… El miedo se percibía en el silencio y en los gestos. El proceso de “socialización” minera ya ha empezado; el clima de angustia y de terror es uno de sus primeros efectos/resultados. Pareciera ser que lo que no lograron años atrás grandes empresas extranjeras, ahora sería factible bajo la fachada de una “empresa nacional” que, encima, actúa con todo el poder de un gobierno que dice haber dejado atrás la larga noche neoliberal y gobernar ahora en nombre del “socialismo del siglo XXI” y la “revolución ciudadana”… Extraña situación en la que los nuevas administraciones progresistas y o de izquierda vienen ahora a continuar la agenda y los planes de gobierno que no pudieron ejecutar y completar los “neoliberales”… Extraña situación en la que las poblaciones que actúan en defensa de los principios de la Constitución de Montecristi, los defensores de los Derechos de la Madre Tierra, son ahora perseguidas y acusadas bajo el cargo de “terrorismo”; donde los “terroristas” viven literalmente aterrorizados por los atropellos del Estado… Es que así es la ecuación de la gobernanza neocolonial del extractivismo: el “desarrollo” minero, desde sus primeros pasos, desde la etapa de la “exploración”, no puede avanzar sino por medio de la fabricación e implantación de un estado social y corporal de terror… Bajo ese régimen está hoy Intag. El terrorismo extractivista –que pareciera más peligroso aún bajo los ropajes del “progresismo desarrollista”- está asfixiando las esperanzas y semillas del Buen Vivir que hay ahí guardadas en la cordillera de Toisán. Esa zona que fue pionera y emblema en la lucha por el Buen Vivir, pionera en la defensa de los Derechos de la Madre Tierra, y madre de tantas otras luchas semejantes en Nuestra América, está hoy bajo amenaza; literalmente sitiada; bajo estado de excepción… Precisa, hoy, de nuestras miradas y de nuestro corazón, de nuestra comprometida atención y apoyo… Allí en Intag se está librando una batalla clave por la revolución civilizatoria del Buen Vivir.

Horacio Machado Aráoz. Investigador del Conicet, Argentina

Rebelión ha publicado este artículo con el permiso del autor mediante una licencia de Creative Commons, respetando su libertad para publicarlo en otras fuentes.

Intag bajo Estado de Terror. Crónicas del extractivismo neocolonial en Ecuador



Earth Day 2014- Sumak Kawsay, a New Conservation Force, or a Farce

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By , April 22, 2014

I wrote this knowing a friend and activist from Junin is illegally being kept in jail for defending his land, his community, the unique environment of Intag’s Cloud Forest, and fundamental human rights.  The criminalization of the social protest here in Ecuador- most of it aimed at environmental protesters-  has taken a nasty turn lately, with the illegal dissolving of a well-known NGO, the president of Ecuador publicly insulting activists in nationally televised addresses, and now the outrageous arrest of Javier Ramirez, from Junin.    Here’s for a wiser Earth Day 2015!

Sumak Kawsay: A Powerful Conservation Force or Farce?

Carlos Zorrilla*

When I first thought about writing about Sumak Kawsay I was wary of adding to the plethora of ideas surrounding this indigenous concept.  Yet, I changed my mind when I saw how little is being said about its potential role in the conservation of the environment, and how it is being grossly distorted by the government in Ecuador.

But, let’s start at the beginning.  Sumak Kawsay is a Quechua term.  Quechua is the language spoken by approximately 10 million people of the Andean countries of South America. It was spread by Inca conquest during and 15th and early part of the 16th century.  The simplest definition of Sumak, is good.  Kawsay, translates to Life or living. Thus, Sumak Kawsay, in the most straightforward interpretation, means Good Life, or Good Living. In Spanish it is often translated as “Buen Vivir”, or “Vivir Bien”; the latter means “Living Well”

Although there is a fascinating diversity of perceptions of what Sumak Kawsay means, the following one, in my opinion, sums up many of the ideas of both academics and indigenous that gave rise to the concept and enriched its meaning:

In its most general sense, buen vivir denotes, organizes, and constructs a system of knowledge and living based on the communion of humans and nature and on the spatial-temporal harmonious totality of existence. That is, on the necessary interrelation of beings, knowledges, logics, and rationalities of thought, action, existence, and living. This notion is part and parcel of the cosmovision, cosmology, or philosophy of the indigenous peoples of Abya Yala (Walsh 2010: 18).1

The concept was incorporated into Ecuador’s new Constitution in 2008. A slightly different Quechua version was included in Bolivian’s Constitution the following year.   In all Sumak Kawsay, or its Spanish translation, is mentioned 25 times in Ecuador’s Constitution.  Most importantly, it is mentioned in the Constitution’s prologue in the context of the country wanting to create “a new form of citizen coexistence, in diversity and harmony with nature, to achieve “living well”, Sumak Kawsay”.  The concept has its own chapter with 25 articles describing to Ecuadorians their basic rights associated with it, but no clear definition is given. The rights include the right to live in a healthy environment, rights to education, access to water, freedom of association, and access to health.  All good so far, but if this this sounds fantastic let’s bear in mind what another one of our intellectuals points out:   “Latin America has a long history of seeking judicial perfection without sweating over enforcement”1In the case of Ecuador it turns out not much official sweating at all, and much distortion.

The concept, or the government’s version of it, has so taken over the imagination of officials that it is repeatedly used to the point of obnoxiousness. So much so, that more and more critics say it has almost completely lost its value as a conservation force, or as a viable alternative to the dominant development paradigm.  Not a day goes by in Ecuador that one does not hear of a government Sumak Kawsay plans, forums (both here and abroad), project, schools, or institution being inaugurated or presented.  The idea so captivated officials that it was inserted into the government’s National Development Plan; now called: Plan Nacional para el Buen Vivir.  Needless to say, the Plan holds impressive contradictions, including promoting large-scale mining as a way of achieving Sumak Kawsay (in fact the slogan for the state-owned mining company is “Mining for Living Well” ).   But, as another critic pointed out, the 450 page-long National Development Plan is little more than an elegant poem.

Thus it is that the government, rightly, has been repeatedly accused of using it as a mere marketing gimmick to promote its glorious “Citizen’s Revolution” rather than taking it seriously and sweating over how to best guarantee people’s right to Sumak Kawsay: a living well not based on a economistic-materialist vision of life and living, as it is being executed in real life in Ecuador, but one based on cultural understandings of what that living well means. Given that Ecuador is a Pluri-cultural state- so recognized in the Constitution, it implies that there manifold visions of living well.  Monopolizing the concept means killing the whole thing dead as dead can be. Thou Shalt Live Well according to a government’s vision of Sumak Kawsay simply will not work and is colossally oxymoronic in places like Ecuador. And, more and more the vision of the government is very much like the capitalist vision and one based on going full speed ahead with opening the whole country to extractive industries.

The opening up of the Yasuní National Park to oil development as well as its aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in environmentally sensitive areas where it is rejected by communities is often used to point out just a couple of the government’s gross distortion of the concept and impressive incoherence. The more so because within the Yasuní National Park two indigenous groups live in volunteer isolation from the computerized air-conditioned nightmare known the world over as the “Good Life”, and want nothing to do with oil development.

Where does conservation and Sumak Kawsay fit into all this?  Believe it or not, there is a positive side to Sumak Kawsay; and it is one that most indigenous people and more and more campesino communities are taking to heart.

If you look back to the original inspiration for the concept, it comes in great part (and ironically enough) from the example of a few indigenous communities fighting to protect their land, their rights, their environment  and their  culture from the impacts of extractive development as embodied by mining and petroleum companies.  In this context, the decades-old struggle of the Amazonian community of Sarayaku against petroleum development played a key role in inspiring the concept2,3. However, some of the individuals responsible for lobbying for its inclusion in the Constitution insist that the concept is based on much more than the Andean or Amazonian cosmovisions, and encompasses indigenous as well as non-indigenous concepts from other cultures that support a healthier man-nature relationship, social peace, justice, and equality1,3.

When indigenous leaders are asked what Sumak Kawsay means to them, the terms most often used are: co-existence, reciprocity, solidarity, healthy ecosystem, social peace, communal existence, equality, and plentitude4,6.  Harmony is often present in their narrative, and it involves harmonious relations not just with Mother Nature, but also with one’s community and one’s self. Harmony within the community is stressed in most accounts. Thus, anything that would risk upsetting that harmony is rejected. Note that neither economic wealth nor material accumulation are mentioned in these accounts. This is one of the reasons the concept has been seized by academics and intellectuals (city-dwelling white guys mostly) who see it as an alternative model of development to capitalism’s depredation42,3,4.  It is worth noting the contradiction of the government policies

Whether Sumak Kawsay is an alternative vision only to capitalism is open to debate but, nevertheless, I am sure most indigenous cultures would agree with the concept’s anti-capitalist and anti-extractivism connotations.

We’ll leave the fine points of the argument to academics, but what is happening is that more and more the Sumak Kawsay is being taken up by both indigenous and non-indigenous communities who are defending their rights against the onslaught of extractivism. And, it has been the indigenous movement in Ecuador who were the first to transform it into a powerful force to stop the plundering of their resources, territories and cultures. But the concept is equally being used by any group that see a healthy environment (both social and natural) as an essential ingredient to a good life.  Simply expressed: how can a government guarantee the people’s right to Sumak Kawsay if the projects it promotes endangers the fundamental principles of the concept?

Intag is an example of non-indigenous community’s use of Sumak Kawsay. The struggle against mining development in Intag will be 20 years old this coming January. Even though the term is not widely used in Intag, Intag’s success is partly due to the opposition being able to create a vision of development that excludes mining, and linking that vision to a healthy or “good life”..  Our emphasis has been that well-being (Sumak Kawsay), is much, much more than just having more money or things like a bigger home, first-rate roads or better higher education.  It is centered on correctly valuing natural, social wealth and cultural wealth, and includes living in a healthy environment, having safe sources of water, harmony in the communities and strong social cohesiveness. Economic wealth is not left out of the picture- and the opposition to mining has been able to create a series of sustainable economic activities, such as shade-grown coffee production and community ecotourism (to mention just two of many).  In this vision of life, economic wealth is not shunned, but it is not the guiding principle of life. Community health is much more important, as is a healthy environment.  In effect, and without knowing of its existence, what the opposition in places like Intag has been fighting for all these years is to uphold the right to Sumak Kawsay.  The fact that it is now recognized as a fundamental Constitutional gives them another tool to aid their struggle.

This emerging vision of upholding a community’s right to a “good life” was confirmed in a 2012 study carried out in Intag in which 600 women were interview by other local women with the objective of finding out their perceptions on social, economic, environmental and other issues5.  In the report, published last year, women felt that clean water was indispensable for their vision of a good life, and that the conservation of forests was of vital importance.  In fact, 98.8% of the women thought Intag’s forests should be conserved, and that they were essential to guarantee safe water. In addition, over 70% of the women rejected mining as a development option.

At least in Intag, what the report shows is that the basic principles of Sumak Kawsay is alive and well in Intag, and the area’s forests and other natural resources stand a real chance of being conserved. What stands in the way is the government’s version of the concept, which does not value diversity (both cultural and natural) and is intolerant of other versions but its own of what living well means.  And that translates to, among other things, pushing oil and mining projects in areas that are anything but apt for those activities, and where most of the population is opposed to them.

This divergence of visions has caused numerous clashes between the Correa government and indigenous and campesinos communities all over Ecuador, which in many cases has led to human rights violations and criminalization of the protest. Over 200 indigenous and campesinos have been criminalized for defending their rights to Living Well during the seven year reign of the Correa government.  And, this is where the farcical side of Sumak comes in.

The latest case of criminalization of the protest came just in April of this year when the young campesino leader from Intag and father of four, Javier Ramirez, was jailed accused of roughing up a Ecuadorian mining company official, which allegedly took place during a protest to keep the Junín mining project from proceeding. While in police custody, Javier was charged with two other crimes:  Sabotage and Terrorism; crimes that carry 10 or more years prison terms. However, Mr. Ramirez was at his home at the time of the alleged confrontation nursing a swollen knee and under doctor’s orders for complete rest. But that matters little. What matters is that that he is the president of the community of Junín, which has been defying an open-pit mining project for nearly 20 years.  He is currently serving a 90 day jail term in a prison, and sharing a very small cell with dozens of murderers and rapist while the investigation proceeds to see if he really was at the scene of the alleged crime and is guilty of what he is accused of6.  Keep in mind that Ecuador’s “wondrous” Constitution considers jail only in exceptional circumstance, and that Javier was not afforded his right to defense when accused and before the arrest warrant was issued.  This is part of the Ecuadorian Miracle most outsiders never get to see.

So much for Sumak Kawsay….

*Carlos Zorrilla lives full time in a farm in Ecuador’s Intag region with his family, and is one of the founding members of DECOIN, a small grass-roots organization that has taken part in the resistance to mining in Intag since its founding, in 1995.

References…. There is a hell of a lot out there on Sumak Kawsay.  The sooner the people on the ground write about it the better.

  1. El concepto de sumak kawsay (buen vivir) y su correspondencia con el bien común de la humanidad/ François Houtart
  2. Good Life As a Social Movement Proposal for Natural Resource Use: The Indigenous Movement in Ecuador.

Philipp Altmann, Freie Universität, Berlin, Germany

  1. El Buen Vivir. Sumak Kawsay, una oportunidad para imaginar otros mundos. Alberto Acosta.  2013
  2. Sumak Kawsay Yuyay: Antología del Pensamiento Indigenista sobre Sumak Kawsay. 2014
  3. Encuesta de la coordinadora de mujeres de Intag. Coordinadora de Mujeres de Intag. 2012
  4. You can read more about this case at:, and

Enami and Codelco want to revive the nightmare by September // Codelco y Enami quieren reactivar la pesadilla en Intag hasta Septiembre

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By , April 1, 2014

Title of article from March 29 Wall Street Journal

Ecuador Mining Project Expected to Begin This Year

Codelco, Enami Plan to Start Exploration at Llurimagua Copper and Molybdenum Project by September

So, the cat is out of the bag.  Codelco and Enami think they can begin exploration by September when they haven’t even started on the Environmental Impact Study. But no worry: The spokesperson for Enami claim the EIA will be approved by September.  The Farce has begun.

Do they honestly think they can fool the world into believing they can do a decent Environmental Impact Study in such a short time in such a wildly biodiverse area with so many mammal and other species facing extinction?  Do they and their funders realize that mining does not figure in any of the local government’s Land Use and Development Plans?

 Then there is the small problem of consultation. Consultation, to be legal, has to  be carried out BEFORE the start of activities that may impact a community’s environment. It is a Constitutional right.

 If there is no consultation- and  there has not been any type of consultation– the exploratory activities will be illegal and unconstitutional. The communities will not be amused by this very fundamental right being violated. Say what they or the government will say, exploration impacts the natural environment, especially the habitat they will be exploring.  It also impact the community’s social environment. 

 Seeing as there is no consensus from the main communities within the mining area or immediately adjacent to it, the companies presence will set off a whole new phase of conflicts, affecting not only the people’s Constitutional right to live in a culture of peace (Art. 3)  and Sumak Kawsay (Good Life ) (Art. 14), but also damming the project from the start. 

 In order to avoid conflicts, DECOIN is asking the central government to institute a six month moratorium and give the newly elected local government officials time to look over the plans for the Junin mining concession and, in conjunction with the communities most affected, take the necessary decisions.  It should not be left to the outgoing pro-government administrations, which lost all mayorships and the prefecture in the province of Imbabura.


 Enami  ANUNCIÓ que juntamente con Codelco iniciarán la exploración del yacimiento Llurimagua este Septiembre.  

Título del artícul publicado el 29 de marzo en el Wall Street Journal

 Es de conocimiento público que ni la Enami ni Codelco hay siquiera iniciado el Estudio de Impacto Ambiental…  Tampoco se ha realizado la Consulta previa al inicio de activides que puedan impactar el ambiente de las comunidades- un derecho Constitucional.  La comunidad de Junin la más afectada, ha dicho una y otra vez que rechaza todo tipo de minería, actitud que ha sido una constante desde 1995 cuando el conflcito minero inició en Intag.  

 La Decoin considera que la presencia de las empresas mineras en Intag sin la aprobación de las comunidades dentro de la concesion minera será una provocación flagrante, que probablemente llevará a nuevos conflictos entre empresa- comunidades, y entre comunidades.  Esto violaría varios derechos constitucionales, incluyendo el derecho al Buen Vivir , Sumak Kawsay, el derecho a vivir en una cultura de paz (art. 3), entre otros.    Seguramente el gobierno dirá que la exploración no causa impactos al ambiente- otro de los muchos cuentos chinos que cualquier persona decente involucrada en la minería sabe que es falso.  Por otro lado, el ambiente social es parte del entorno de las comunidades, y será impactado por la ingrata presencia de las empresas.  Dada la historia de enfrentamientos entre comunidad-empresa por la presencia inconsulta de empresas mineras en Intag que data de 1995, si el gobiern insiste en impulsar la minería en Intag, los conflictos serán inevitables. 

 La DECOIN hace un llamado para que los autoridades políticas provinciales, cantonales y Parroquiales recientemente electas soliciten una moratoria urgente al gobierno nacional de no menos de seis meses hasta que  las nuevas autoridades tengan tiempo de estudiar detalladamente el proyecto y sus impactos, y, juntamente con las comunidades más afectadas tomen una decisi[on sobre el inicio de la exploración.

 Cabe señalar que la minería no es contemplada dentro de los Planes de Desarrollo y Ordenamiento Territoriales de ninguna de los planes de los gobiernos locales la provincia, y que en las últimas elecciones el gobierno nacional perdió todas las alcaldías en Imbabura, al igual que la prefectura- incluyendo la alcaldía del Cantón Cotacachi, donde se ubica el proyecto minero JUNIN, hoy denominado Llurimagua

original (ingles)


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By , March 19, 2014

Tis time for a quick Update

DECOIN expanded board meets

All quiet on the mining front

The final election results

Yesterday (March 18th)  DECOIN’s expanded board met at Nangulvi to talk about the latest event, review our work, and set new goals. In all there were 21 of us from I think 10 or 15 communities and four large organizations. We had hoped to change the board but decided to wait until we could hold an Assembly with more friends and supporters.   Some new-and young- faces from Irubi, a community we have a couple of projects, with was refreshing to see.

The meeting started with Decoin members heading the different projects giving summaries of the work they are carrying out, including:  creation of Community Reserves by Armando Almeida and Silvia Quilumbango, Environmental Education by Freddy Villalba and Milton Arcos (about 27 communities/ unfortunately, Marcia, the third educator, could not make it),  and reforestation and community fruit and tree nursery in Irubi. Meanwhile,  I talked about the current situation with the mining threat and what we are doing about it, and updated everyone on the slander campaign by the president of Ecuador against me and Decoin (see previous posts).

The reports on the different DECOIN activities were well received  by everyone, and all agreed we need to keep expanding on the activities reported on. Everyone saw the need to focus more on environmental education at all levels.  This will be a challenge, as sometimes there’s very little funding for this activity (especially given the need).  We were also asked if DECOIN could again help pay for transportation costs for the kids to get to the different high school- a significant need for the communities (expenditure of  thousands of dollars  for this every year). We said we would try but that it was difficult to focus on this when the government is still breathing Intag’s neck on the mining front…. So, if you are interested in helping out for this particular need, please get in touch 

A quick parenthesis is in order: After recent  land purchases, thanks to “GEO schützt den Regenwald e.V.” , Rettet den Regenwald and Rainforest Concern, we are nearing 11,000 hectares of community watershed and forest reserves in hands of  communities and local governments.

On the mining front, not much activity lately.  I suppose the central government is mulling over numbers and evaluating the new state of things after the election.  And, say what they will, the election was disastrous for Correa’s party.

Final Election Results    The government party lost in all but one county where there is large-scale mining/ including Cotacachi, where Intag is, besides losing in 9 of Ecuador’s 10 biggest cities- including the capital, Quito. In our province, they also lost the Prefecture, which is the highest elected authority in the province.  The government’s party did win majority in the Garcia Moreno local township government (Parroquia), where the Junin project is based, but lost majority in five of the remaining six Parish governments (they have a slim and unstable majority in Plaza Gutierrez).

Keep tuned…..



By , December 10, 2013

Working in conservation in developing countries is always a challenge (maybe not only in developing countries).  However, little did I know that, in the middle of buying forests for communities (in 2013 over a thousand hectares), creating new community watershed reserves, working with community nurseries, expanding environmental education campaigns to hundreds of kids, reforesting new land and river frontage and adding legal protection for hundreds of hectares of primary cloud forests (all in 2013), we’d also have to deal with unreal crap like this.

 This new bizarre twist, however, may take first prize in the unreal department .  Try to wrap your brain around it:  The President of a country spending public money and investing how much time? to discredit me, a private individual, and a text that was written to help communities defend themselves against the ravages of extractive industries. Something more is in the air…


By Carlos Zorrilla

In view of what Ecuadorinmediato(1) and other media outlets published regarding the accusations made against me by President Correa during his nationally televised Saturday TV report to the nation on December 7, I feel it is my duty to report the truth about the publication mentioned by the President, as well as to point out the malicious use of the information that those in power make in order to slander people who have no chance of defending themselves.

I am one of the four authors of the guide entitled “Protecting Your Community Against Mining Companies and Other Extractive Activities”, the text that was mentioned by the Executive on December 7. It was published in 2009 with the intention of informing the communities affected by extractivism of some of the known strategies used by oil and mining companies to divide communities and generate conflict. The Guide suggests legitimate strategies and non-violent forms of resistance aimed at protecting the communities from the most disastrous effects that the presence of such companies might have. This is why it is absurd to attempt to link the actions suggested by the Guide to the protest held at the end of November in Quito by activists against the XI Oil Bidding Round.

In this context, it’s worth directly quoting the principle shared by the authors of the Guide:

“Mankind can only free itself of violence only through non-violence.” (Mahatma Gandhi)

We consider the principle of this great leader of peaceful resistance to be indispensable in facing injustice, illegality, and the imposition of large-scale mining or oil extraction activities. The policy of not conducting legitimate consultation processes or not respecting the previous consent of affected populations is a practice which violates every principle and right of individuals and communities, and makes a mockery of the idea of Buen Vivir (Good Living).

I wish to make it perfectly clear that the violent or illegal actions attributed to the Guide during the presidential TV show are in fact a grotesque montage. For example, none of the authors suggest placing pregnant women or women carrying children in the front lines as a strategy for resistance, as the President of Ecuadorians insinuated during the video spot shown during his Saturday show. Such a statement is an outrageous lie. Merely one of over a dozen misrepresentations attributed to the authors of the Guide (the full list of lies has been included at the end of this text).

If the country had an impartial and independent judicial branch, I would sue for slanderous libel with the full confidence that I would win.

Another presidential statement issued on December 7 is extremely dangerous. The President said that “Zorrilla’s Guide” was created to destabilize progressive governments. The irony is that the guide was created to deal with the illegalities and abuses by transnational corporations, and government entities are barely even mentioned. Whenever they are mentioned, the guide actually suggests cooperating with them. This ridiculous charge, along with the others, makes me wonder about the real reasons behind the set up.

I consider these unbelievable declarations –along with those issued during the Presidents TV show No. 341 broadcasted on September 14, 2013, pertaining Intag’s resistance to mining– to be part of a governmental plot against me and the DECOIN (Defense and Conservation of Intag), an environmentalist organization of which I am a member, and that has been working hard since 1995 to create sustainable alternatives to large-scale mining in the area of Intag. I very much doubt that we are the only ones in the President’s crosshairs.


I ask the people who heard the President to read the guide in question ( and draw their own conclusions about the text and its objectives, as well as about the practice of truth on the part of the State. With this concerning precedents in mind, I ask the public to be on the alert regarding what may happen to me or to my family.

I take this opportunity to express my opinion regarding the dissolution of the Pachamama Foundation and the present harassment against me and Decoin. I believe this is only the beginning of a long night of injustices and abuse that seeks to silence the voices of those who legitimately question the government and its vision of development, and who call the creation of a more just world.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that this latest infamy is one more to add to several prior attempts to discredit and harm me. In 2006, for example, a transnational mining company financed a costly and false scheme against me with the objective of incarcerating me. And in 2010, the mining company Ecuacorrientes financed a shameless video that also attempted to misrepresent the content of the guide. All of this because of my participation in the resistance against large-scale mining in Intag, that dates back to 1995. They all failed in their attempts against me.

Carlos Zorrilla


Source: 1.


Strategies falsely attributed to the authors of the Guide and taken from the video presented during the Presidents TV show on December 7, 2013

  1. 1.       ….sitting to block roads
  2. 2.       ….pressure against individuals
  3. 3.       …..harassing authorities
  4. 4.       ….bothering government officials,
  5. 5.       ….. verbal repudiation
  6. 6.       …..occupations
  7. 7.       …..driving around in vehicles
  8. 8.       ….occupation of public buildings
  9. 9.       …..blocking the path of authorities
  10. 10.    …..attacks,
  11. 11.    …..invasions,
  12. 12.    …..physical occupation of a place
  13. 13.    …. carrying children in arms,  and
  14. 14.   ….using pregnant women

* A few of these strategies were taken from a well-known guide of resistance against war which was included in the bibliography of the guide, as reference material.

The video also contains other lies, including the false statement that the Pachamama Foundation is included in the list of potential community allies, when it is not.  It also insinuates that the Yasunidos collective is among the list of potential community allies, when in fact that collective was created 4 years after the publication of the guide!

 After presenting the video, President Correa falsely claims that all that was shown comes from the Guide, and he bluntly states that “’Zorrilla’s guide’ has the objective of destabilizing progressive governments”, and asks the Ecuadorian people to “react”.


Carlos Zorrilla


Carlos Zorrilla

De lo publicado en Ecuadorinmediato(1) y otros medios sobre las acusaciones lanzadas nuevamente por el primer mandatario en contra de mi persona durante la sabatina del 7 de diciembre, me siento en la obligación de informar sobre las verdades relacionadas con la publicación que el Presidente Correa mencionó,  y junto a ello señalar el uso doloso de la  información que el poder hace para calumniar a personas que no tienen ninguna posibilidad de defensa.

Soy uno de los cuatro autores del manual “Protegiendo a su comunidad contra empresas mineras y otras actividades extractivas”, obra mencionada por el Ejecutivo el día 7 de diciembre.  Publicado en el 2009 con la finalidad de informar a las comunidades afectadas por el extractivismo de algunas de las conocidas estrategias utilizadas por empresas petroleras y mineras para dividir a las comunidades y causar conflictos, el Manual sugiere estrategias y formas de resistencia legítimas y no violentas orientadas a proteger a las comunidades de los efectos más nefastos de la presencia de dichas empresas. Por tanto es un absurdo vincular las acciones sugeridas en el Manual con la protesta realizada por activistas en contra de la XI Ronda Petrolera en Quito a fines de noviembre.

En este contexto vale la pena citar directamente del Manual un principio compartido por los autores:

“La humanidad no puede librarse de la violencia más que por medio de la no violencia:” (Mahatma Gandhi)

Consideramos el principio de este gran líder de la resistencia pacífica indispensable para enfrentar la injusticia, la ilegalidad, y la imposición de la minería a  gran escala o actividades petroleras. La política de no realizar procesos de legítima consulta o de respetar el consentimiento previo de las poblaciones afectadas es una práctica que violenta todo principio y derecho de los individuos y las comunidades, y hace una burla del Buen Vivir.

Quiero dejar en claro que las acciones violentas o ilegales atribuidas al texto del manual durante la sabatina presidencial son un grotesco montaje. Por ejemplo, ninguno de los autores sugerimos  poner al frente de las trincheras a mujeres embarazadas o con niños en  brazos como estrategia de resistencia, tal como el Presidente de las y los Ecuatorianos insinuó por medio del video que mostró durante la sabatina. Dicha aseveración es una atroz mentira; una más de una docena de tergiversaciones atribuidas a los autores del manual (la lista completa a continuación de la presente).

Si en el país existiera un poder judicial imparcial e independiente plantearía un juicio por injuria calumniosa, con la certeza de que ganaría.

Otra declaración del Presidente emitida el día 7 es sumamente peligrosa.  Según el mandatario, el manual “de Zorrilla” fue creado para desestabilizar a gobiernos progresistas.  La ironía es que el manual fue creado para enfrentar las ilegalidades y atropellos cometidos por empresas transnacionales, y apenas menciona entidades gubernamentales y, cuando lo hace, más bien sugiere cooperar con éstas. Esta ridícula acusación, sumada a las demás, me hace reflexionar sobre las verdaderas razones detrás del montaje.

Estas increíbles declaraciones, juntamente con otras emitidas en la sabatina Nº 341 de septiembre 14 del año en curso relacionadas a la resistencia a la minería en Intag, considero son parte de un operativo  que el gobierno prepara en contra de mi persona y la DECOIN, (Defensa y Conservación de Intag), organización ambientalista de la cual soy miembro, y que viene trabajando arduamente desde 1995 para crear alternativas sustentable a la minería  a gran escala en la zona de Intag. Y dudo mucho que seamos los únicos en las miras del Presidente.

Hago un pedido muy especial para que las personas que escucharon al Presidente lean la obra en mención y lleguen a su propia conclusión sobre el texto del manual y sus objetivos y sobre la práctica de la verdad desde el poder del estado. Con estos preocupantes antecedentes pongo en alerta a la ciudadanía sobre lo que me podría pasar a mi o a mi familia.

Aprovecho este espacio para expresar mi opinión sobre  el cierre de la Fundación Pachamama y el actual acoso en contra de mi persona y la Decoin: Considero que es solo el inicio de una larga noche de injusticia y atropello que busca silenciar las voces que legítimamente cuestionan al poder y su visión del desarrollo, así como también a los reclamos por la  creación de un mundo más justo.

Por último, cabe señalar que esta última infamia se une a otros intentos de difamarme y de hacerme daño. En el 2006, por ejemplo, una empresa minera transnacional financió un costoso montaje en mi contra con el objetivo de encarcelarme.  Y, en el 2010, la empresa Ecuacorrientes financió un descarado video de igual manera tergiversando el contenido del manual.  Todo debido a mi participación en la resistencia contra la minería a gran escala en Intag que data de 1995. Y, todos fracasaron en lograr su objetivo.

Carlos Zorrilla


Fuente: 1.


Estrategias falsamente atribuidas a los autores del manual y tomadas del video presentado durante la sabatina del 7 de diciembre

  1. 1.       ….sentarse en la vía para obstaculizarla
  2. 2.       ….presiones a individuos
  3. 3.       …..atosigar a las autoridades
  4. 4.       ….molestar  a funcionarios,
  5. 5.       ….. repudio verbal
  6. 6.       …..ocupaciones
  7. 7.       …..dando vueltas en vehículos
  8. 8.       ….toma de edificios públicos
  9. 9.       …..interrumpir el paso de autoridades 
  10. 10.    …..ataques,
  11. 11.    …..invasiones
  12. 12.    …..posesión física de un lugar
  13. 13.    …. llevar niños en brazos,  y a
  14. 14.   ….utilizar a mujeres embarazadas 

*Unas pocas de estas estrategias fueron tomadas de un conocido manual de resistencia contra la guerra que fue incluido en la bibliografía del manual como referencia.

El video, además contiene otras                tergiversaciones, incluyendo la aseveración que la Fundación Pachamama consta en la lista del Manual como potencial aliada de las comunidades, algo totalmente falso.  También insinúa que los Yasunidos consta como otro potencial aliado de las comunidades, ¡ a pesar que la organización fue creada 4 años después de la publicación del Manual!

Después de la presentación del video, el Presidente Correa  alega que todo lo mostrado se encuentra en el manual, y dice frontalmente que  el “manual de Zorrilla” es para ver si estabilizan a los gobiernos progresistas   Y, pide al pueblo ecuatoriano que reaccione



¿Cuantas veces NO Enami-Codelco? How many times and how many ways NO Enami-Codelco?

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By , August 25, 2013
Cuantas veces NO Enami-Codelco?
El jueves 22 del presente, Enami intentó socializar su mal concebido  proyecto minero con un gremio de choferes de Intag en el Complejo Ecoturístico de Nangulví, el centro turístico más importante de la zona de Intag.    Dado que el Complejo es administrado por un grupo de comunidades dignas de la Parroquia de Peñaherrera- una de las dos parroquias afectadas por el proyecto minero JUNIN, al enterarse le cerraron las puertas.  Los socializadores, con poca convocatoria, se vieron obligados a socializar su versión del proyecto y los engaños a otro lado.  Y,, dado que a esa otra socialización asistieron personas decentes y enteradas de las mentiras y engaños que a través de las casi cuatro décadas han sido promulgadas por las empresas mineras a los inteños e inteñas, la reunión fue un rotundo fracaso. 
En fin, otro rechaso más al proceso de socialización de la Enami-Codelco, y a su presencia en Intag.  ¿Cuantas otros rechazos más hasta que por fin entiendan que acá la mayoría NO QUIERE MINERÍA???
Hace unas tres semanas ocurrió algo similar cuando intentaron socializar el proyecto minero en Chalguyacu Alto.  No pudieron.  Decenas de comuneros le cerraron el paso.  Algo similar pasó en la Parroquia de Peñaerrera y la comunidad de Junin hace ya varios meses.  En Apuela tampoco les fue muy bien cuando lo intetaron, ya que casi todos los asistentes se expresaron en contra del proyecto y los engaños de la Enami-Codelco.
Tal es el rechazo en la zona que los funcionarios de la Enami ahora se ven obligados de ir de casa en casa rogandole a la gente que le dejen entrar para socializar su proyecto que no causa impacto y que es maravilloso para el país y todo el planeta,y que además sacará a toda la zona y el país de la pobreza.  Socializar sin debatir publicamente es lo que se llama una contradicción a gran escala. Un atropello más.  Y si no le dejan debatir publicamente, que respeten el mensaje y el sentir de la mayoría.  
On Thursday 22 , Enami tried to socialize their ill-conceived mining project with a group of professional truck owners in the Nangulví Ecotourism Complex, the largest resort in Intag. Since the complex is managed by a group of decent communities belonging to the Peñaherrera Parish, one of the two parishes affected by the JUNIN mining project , upon hearing of that the meeting was with Enami-Codelco, the doors were closed to the locale. The socializers, with little notice, were forced to socialize their version of the project and the deceptions elsewhere.  By the way, the meeting there was also a rotund failure, given that there were people who have not been seduced by the lies the socializers tell, and who remember all the lies the companies have been telling the Intag people for decades. 


Another failure of the socialization process of Enami Codelco; another NO in the long list of No to mining in Intag.  How many more failures  until you learn that here, the majority DO NOT WANT MINING?

About three weeks ago something similar happened when they tried to socialize the mining project in Chalguyacu Alto. They could not. Dozens of villagers blocked her way. Something similar happened in the Parish of Peñaerrera and Junin community several months ago. In Apuela did not fare very well when it intetaron, since almost all attendees spoke out against the project and the deceptions of Enami Codelco.

Such is the rejection in the area Enami officials now are forced to go from house to house people beseeching to be let in. to socialize your project that makes an impact and it’s great for the country and around the globe , and also will bring to the entire area and the country out of poverty. Socialize without discussing publicly is what is called a large-scale conflict. A more outrage. And if he is not allowed to discuss publicly, to respect the message and the feelings of the majority.



Carnivore ‘teddy bear’ emerges from the mists of Ecuador

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By , August 16, 2013

A new species of carnivore discovered in Ecuadorian Cloud Forests??

Enami-Codelco no logran apoyo en Intag

Cloud forests are one of the ecosystems where new species are more likely to be found… but a mammal?  a carnivore?   Recently, right here in Intag,  a biologist working on an Environmental Impact Study for the paving of the main road to Intag, captured a bat species that was not supposed to be anywhere these forests (not anywhere on this side of the Andes in fact).  It could easily turn out to be a yet a new species to science.  Ask yourself in how many of the world’s ecosystems can one discover a species like the Olinguito or a new species of bat within months of each other?  Now recall that cloud forests make up less than 2.5% of the world’s tropical forests and that,  in Ecuador, they are severely threatened.  

These are the same forests the Ecuadorian government has earmarked for sacrifice to feed the devouring vision of well-being involving open pit mining:  More roads, more clinics, more computers in schools, less forests, less clean water, less biological diversity; more climate and social upheaval.  Will we ever get over the economic-trumps-over-everything mentality??

And while on the subject, a few minutes ago President Correa announced the termination of the Yasuni-ITT initiative.  The decision clears the way for the exploitation of heavy crude lying underneath one of the most biodiverse forests on the fact of Planet Earth. Yasuni is also a national park.  The decision, I strongly believe,  is also a watershed decision, for it makes it much more likely that other protected areas will, sooner or later, be opened for mining and petroleum extraction.

This shines a dark light on a problem I’ve raised before on our site:  the problem with paper parks, those where communities are not directly and actively involved in their protection.   At least here in Intag, we can guarantee the protection of the overwhelming majority of protected areas, which we (Decoin)  made sure are in the hands of the communities and that the communities derive some tangible benefit from, such as safe water, or destinations for ecological tourism.  If you want to guarantee protection, tis the only way…

Now for the great article from the Guardian

Carnivore ‘teddy bear’ emerges from the mists of Ecuador

Olinguito is the first new carnivore identified in western hemisphere for 35 years, bringing 100 years of mistaken identity to an end

Fotografía cedida por el Instituto Smithsonian que muestra un olinguito (Bassaricycon neblina) la primera especie de carnívoro descubierta en Ecuador  los últimos 35 años. Foto: EFE.

A small, wide-eyed beast with luxuriant orange fur has been identified as a new species more than 100 years after it first went on display in the world’s museums.

The discovery brings to an end one of the longest zoological cases of mistaken identity and establishes the “olinguito” (which rhymes with mojito) as the first new carnivore recorded in the western hemisphere for 35 years.

The animal – which has been described as a cross between a teddy bear and a house cat – had been displayed in museums around the globe and exhibited at numerous US zoos for decades without scientists grasping that it had been mislabelled.

One adult female, named Ringerl, was kept at Louisville zoo in the 1960s, but was moved to Tucson zoo, to the Smithsonian’s National zoo, and to the Bronx zoo after keepers repeatedly failed in their attempts to breed the animal. The reason for that failure is now clear: it was a different species to the mates on offer.

The true identity of the overlooked beast only emerged after Kristofer Helgen, curator of mammals at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, launched a 10-year investigation into an obscure group of raccoon-like mammals called olingos. What began with a drawer-full of remains ended with a nighttime trek through the cloud forests of Ecuador, where scientists photographed the creature living in the trees.


“If you look up olingos in a book today, pretty much everyone says we don’t know quite how many species there are, what their ranges are, and which are endangered. I set out to resolve all that, I wanted to put olingos on the map,” Helgen told the Guardian.

“But in the process of trying to do that, and because we were the first group in generations to look closely at his part of the carnivore family tree, we revealed this incredible and beautiful animal that everyone had overlooked,” he said.

The moment of realisation came when Helgen was going through skins and skulls of mammals at the Field Museum in Chicago. “I pulled out a drawer and there were these brilliant, beautiful orange-red pelts with long flowing fur. It was nothing like olingo fur. I then looked at the skulls and the shape was very different. I wondered, ‘is this a mammal that’s been missed by every other zoologist?’ It turns out that it was,” he said.

The animal had been mistaken for an olingo because of some broad similarities, but these turned out to be superficial. Helgen’s animal was different on almost every measure: it was smaller, much furrier, had a shorter tail, different teeth, and smaller ears. “We are not talking about splitting hairs. If you saw the two animals side by side you would wonder how they could ever be confused,” Helgen said.

Convinced they had a new species on their hands, Helgen’s team arranged an expedition to the cloud forests of the Andes, where similar creatures had come from. Trekking at night through the dense vegetation, and accompanied by a chorus of frogs and crickets, they spotted other nocturnal beasts in the beams of their headtorches: kinkajous and porcupines.

“Eventually, there it was, an olinguito. We got it in the beam, running around, jumping from tree to tree, but getting close enough so that when it turned and looked into the beam we knew exactly what it was,” he said.

The olinguito is a carnivore, but the term has two meanings in biology. The most familiar is an animal that eats meat, but the other is any animal that belongs to the order Carnivora, which includes cats, dogs, tigers, bears and others. They are not all meat eaters, and the olinguito mostly eats fruit.

Working with local museums, the team later extracted DNA from animals on display and confirmed that some were olinguitos, a previously unknown relative of the olingo. They have since confirmed there are at least four sub-species of the animals.

The DNA evidence took the scientists back to the Smithsonian Institution. There they found that scientific databases already contained olinguito DNA that had been wrongly labelled as olingo. It also led them to tissues from a Colombian olinguito held in storage at the museum. They belonged to Ringerl, the unfortunate female that toured US zoos.

“We tracked down Ringerl’s keeper and asked why she moved her around so much. She said ‘we couldn’t get her to breed with any of the olingos.’ This animal wasn’t fussy, it just wasn’t the same species. It would have been impossible. It was a glorious case of mistaken identity,” said Helgen.

The name olinguito means small or adorable olingo, but writing in the journal ZooKeys, the team give the animal a formal scientific name too,Bassaricyon neblina. The species name, neblina, means “fog” or “mist” in Spanish, a nod to the cloud forests where the animal lives. But it also means obscured. “That’s exactly what the olinguito has been,” Helgen said. “Lost in the fog.”

Enami-Codelco no logran apoyo en Intag  Por favor ver este sitio de la Coordinadora Zonal de Intag



Flash Update, 14 July 2014,, Actualización Flash 14-07-2013

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By , July 15, 2013

Flash Update, July 14 2013

 June of this year saw the reactivation of the Community Development Council, which was the leading community organization involved in confronting Ascendant Copper Corporation during the years 2004-2008 in the Junín area.  As then, the president is Polivio Perez, and the organization saw fit to create three vice presidencies led by different community presidents from the mining project’s area of influence (the elected representatives include the presidents of Junín, Rosal, Cerro Pelado, Chalguyacu Bajo, and La Armenia).  Several Intag organizations also participated in the election process as observers and promised to support the community organization

 One of the first actions of the CDC was to stop some five vehicles from Enami the Ecuadorian mining company that were heading to Chalguyacu Alto for a meeting to socialize the decision taken without any community input to reactivate the Junín mining project.  About 30 community members met the Enami delegates in the Chalguyacu Bajo area (which included police) and asked them to respect the decision the CDC members had taken and not go to the meeting.  The community members, which later grew to between 80 and 100, argued that the communities did not want any more divisions and social conflicts due to the presence of the company.  Interestingly enough, the company complied, but not too long afterwards ,there were reports of five police squad cars in the town Garcia Moreno.  As of this post, no one knew what they were doing in Garcia Moreno.

 We are happy to announce the reactivation of the Intag Solidarity Network, which in the struggle against Ascendant played such an important role.  There are several International Observers in the Junín-Cerro Pelado area right now under the guidance of Cedhu, the prestigious Quito-based Human Rights Organization.  The observers are there as fair witnesses to record, denounce and hopefully avoid, any possible human rights violations.

 Actualización Flash, julio 2013

 Junio ​​de este año se reactivó el Consejo de Desarrollo Comunitario de García Moreno, que fue la principal organización comunitaria involucrada en los enfrentamiento Ascendant Copper Corporation durante el año 2004-2008 en el área de Junín. Al igual que en esos tiempos, el presidente es Polibio Pérez, y la organización tuvo a bien crear tres vicepresidencias encabezadas por distintos presidentes de la comunidad de la zona de influencia del proyecto minero (los representantes electos incluyen presidentes de Junín, Rosal, Cerro Pelado, Chalguyacu Bajo, y La Armenia). Varias organizaciones de Inteñas también participaron en el proceso electoral como observadores y se comprometieron a apoyar la organización de la comunitaria.

 Una de las primeras acciones de la CDC fue de conversar con los ocupantes de unos cinco vehículos de la empresa minera ecuatoriana- Enami- que se dirigían a Chalguyacu Alto a una reunión para socializar la decisión tomada sin ningún aporte de la comunidad para reactivar el proyecto minero Junín. Cerca de 30 miembros de la comunidad se reunieron con los delegados de Enami en la zona Chalguyacu Bajo (que incluía varios policías) y les pidieron respetar la decisión que los miembros del CDC habían tomado y no ir a la reunión. Los miembros de la comunidad, que luego creció a entre 80 y 100, argumentaron que las comunidades no querían más divisiones y conflictos sociales debido a la presencia de la empresa. Curiosamente, la empresa accedió, pero no pasó mucho tiempo antes de recibir informes de la presencia de cinco patrulleros de policía en la ciudad de García Moreno. Al momento de esta actualización, nadie sabía lo que estaban haciendo en García Moreno.

Red de Solidaridad de Intag

Estamos felices de anunciar la reactivación de la Red de Solidaridad de Intag, que en la lucha contra Ascendant jugó un papel tan importante. Hay varios observadores internacionales en el área de Junín-Cerro Pelado ahora bajo la dirección de la CEDHU, la prestigiosa organización de derechos humanos con sede en Quito. Los observadores están ahí como testigos para grabar, denuncian y ojalá evitar, posibles violaciones de derechos humanos.


Tweny-one Reasons Codelco Should Stay Away From Intag../ Veintiuna razones para que Codelco no se meta en Intag

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By , May 30, 2013
Twenty-One Reasons Why (Nortec,  Ascendant Copper)   Codelco Should Keep Away from Intag

After the communities kicked out Mitsubishi subsidiary, Bishimetals in 1997, mining has not gotten any easier for the companies.  Back when Nortec was showing interest in purchasing the shipwreck known as Ascendant Copper Corporation, I wrote the nineteen reasons to warn Nortec about some of the main problems they’d inherent in case the deal went through (it did not).   Then, the communities got rid of Ascendant Copper.  In the meantime, the list of reasons why any mining company should keep away from Intag grew and, though it’s really more like 42 reasons, twenty-one sounds better, and should more than suffice.

I think it disingenuous when companies say “we didn’t know”;; or “had we only known”, or even lamer yet:  “had the government made it clearer that…”  then they try to weasel out of assuming responsibility for their much ups.
Studies and more Studies.
To justify their existence in certain projects, mining companies, when  they can afford it, hire hot-shot NGO’s to carry out interviews and studies to ascertain popular perception on mining, identify key players, and confirm that they are loved. Then they actually go ahead and base their decisions on the study’s results!  As if an area’s complexity and attitudes could be studied in a few days or weeks. But, this is what the company and/or government apparently did last year when they went around asking some folks in Intag and Quito what they thought about mining in Intag. Then, when they tried to hold meetings in key communities, they were surprised that their presence was considered non-grata!
A Brand New Century.
If there’s anyone from Codelco reading this (as I’m sure there are), you probably know- or should know- as all responsible mining companies can attest to (as well as key players like the World Bank), that support from the Executive Branch of government is not nearly enough guarantee a project’s success. You need genuine (not manufactured or self-delusional) community and local government support.  In fact, national government support is no guarantee at all. So, do NOT bank on the government’s enthusiastic endorsement.  You’ll lose. Big time.
Why Bother?
Because I feel a responsibility to inform the good people of Chile, who have not the slightest idea of what their corporation is getting to here in Intag, that it’s a no-win situation for Codelco.  And, that in the process of trying to develop a mine in this minefield, their corporation will create utter and complete social chaos, and violate human and collective rights. And, if in spite of all the crystal-clear evidence that in the long run it’s a dead-end project, somehow Codelco is able to actually open the mine, it will be remembered as one of the biggest environmental nightmares of all time; right up there with the gold-copper Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea.
 I am positive that if most Chilenos find out about all the risks and obstacles facing the company’s expansion to Ecuador, they would firmly be against it.   This, then, is one more attempt to try to inform Chile’s population of the reality behind the lies and distortions being generated around the Junín mining project.
Here then, are the latest reasons why Codelco should not mess with Intag.
A. Based on the Bishi Metals Environmental Impact Assessment of mining in Intag, and on a small (450,000 ton) copper mine (a couple of years later they inferred 5x more)
1. Intag is no like the Atacama desert, where Codelco has its copper mines. Besides being super biodiverse, there are communities all over the place. According to the Study, the mining project would relocate hundreds of families from four communities.  Afterwards, the Japanese found more copper, which could increase the number of communities affected by two- at the very least.
Relocation of communities is more than enough to stop most extractive projects.
2. It would impact primary cloud forests.  What’s so special about cloud forests?  Less than 2.5% of the world’s tropical forests are cloud forests. They are not only exceptionally biologically diverse- as well as severely threatened-  but they play an outsized role in protecting important headwater watersheds.
3. The project would cause massive deforestation (their words, not mine). The small mine would directly impact 4,025 hectares.
4. The deforestation, according to the Japanese, would lead to drying of local climate, affecting thousands of small farmers (the EIA used the word desertification)
5. Intag’s forests belong to the world’s top Biodiversity Hotspot; the Tropical Andes. The scientist working on the study identified 12 species of mammals and birds facing extinction that would be impacted by the project, including jaguars, spectacled bears, mountain tapirs and the brown-faced spider monkey. (Based on incomplete studies, Decoin identified more than 30 species of threatened or endangered plants and animals, and there could be dozens more).
6. There are pristine rivers and streams everywhere within the concession.  The EIA predicted they would be contaminated with lead, arsenic, chromium, cadmium and other toxic substances.
7. The project would, unquestionably, destroy pre-Incan Yumbo archeological sites.
8. It would impact the Cotacachi-Capayas Ecological Reserve (one of the world’s most biologically diverse protected areas and the only large one in all of western Ecuador).
Besides these very worrisome impacts identified in the Study (for a mine a fraction of what it could end up being)…  there are other significant hurdles.
B. Legal hassles
9. Large-scale mining would violate the legally-binding Cotacachi County Ecological Ordinance created in 2000.  Only the Constitutional Tribunal can rule on the validity of the Ordinance in light of the new Constitution. And the Tribunal has not.
10.  Ecuador’s new Constitution demands that communities be consulted before any project impacting their social or natural environment takes place; a Constitutional guarantee that has been disregarded from day one. The Constitution also grants nature rights, and the people right to Sumak Kawsay, or Harmonious Life.  Good luck trying to convince a decent government and world opinion that open pit mining will not violate these two fundamental rights.
11. In 2008 the Cotacachi County government created an 18,000 hectare municipal protected area right on top of the mining site. Mining is one of the activities prohibited within the protected area.
C. Opposition. There is widespread opposition to the Intag mining project. This includes:
12. The Parish township governments the concession is located at, plus County-wide indigenous and campesino organizations. The new threat has actually mobilized more organization  at the local, county and national level, than ever before.
13. Community Opposition. Most communities surrounding the mining project are still, after all these years, opposed to the project. Eighteen years of resistance has honed their skill in resisting (the right to resist is now a right protected by the Constitution)
14. 90% of NGO’s in Cotacachi County and Intag oppose the project. Late last year, the most important  civil society organizations in Intag wrote a letter to Chile’s president to make sure he understood that the organizations would again rise to defend the area if Codelco went ahead and tried to revive the project.
D. Exaggerated Copper Claims
15. In 2007, Micon International, the entity contracted by Ascendant Copper to evaluate the Junin copper deposit, said that it could not confirm their earlier estimates due to degradation of samples. Copper Mesa had been saying all along that the Junin copper deposit had four times more copper than what the Japanese inferred after years of exploration.   In all, 2.26 million tons were inferred by the Japanese, which is a little less than 1/10th of what the world consumes annually (and it would take decades to mine it all out).
E. Further environmental challenges
16. The area receives between 3000 and 4000 millimeters of annual rainfall. Heavy rainfall, abundant underground aquifers, and heavy metals in the ore make for a deadly mix.  Not only that, but they raise the price of mining considerably, while greatly increasing the risks of man-made disasters, such as landslides.     For an idea of what a landslide can do in an open pit mine, go here:
17. The ore contains toxic heavy metals and sulfur (which will cause Acid Mine Drainage).
18. There is a superabundance of underground water (according to Japanese EIA). This is bad news for mining companies and even worse news for the environment.
19. The area where they found the copper is exceptionally steep and mountainous, making mining very difficult and expensive
20.  There are clear indications that Junín’s copper is very deep, making mining much more environmentally destructive and economically risky.
21. The Toisan Range has many geological faults, posing significant earthquake risks.
Truth be told, there are more than 21 reasons, but 21 sounds better than 43 or 31.
Further Reading

Diecinueve Veintiuna razones por qué NortecAscendant Copper, Codelco no debe meterse con Intag

Carlos Zorrilla

(English Below)

Después que las comunidades expulsaran a Bishimetals, filial de Mitsubishi, en 1997, el ambiente no ha mejorado para las empresas en Intag. Hace unos años, cuando Nortec estaba mostrando interés en adquirir el desastre conocido como Ascendant Copper Corporation, escribí las diecinueve razones para advertirle a  Nortec sobre algunos riesgos, y principales problemas que heredarían en caso que la compra se concretara (por suerte, fracasó). Poco después, las comunidades expulsaron a Ascendant Copper. Mientras tanto, la lista de razones ha venido creciendo y, a pesar de que realmente es más como 42 razones, veintiún suena mejor, y además, debería ser más que suficiente. Es un poco ingenuo cuando las empresas manifiestan que “no sabíamos;” o  “si solo hubiéramos sabido “, o incluso más bobo aún: “si el gobierno nos hubiera advertido que…”   Bueno, por si acaso, aquí están, en blanco y negro, algunos de esos obstáculos y dificultades que, en su conjunto, hace inviable a este proyecto minero.
Estudios y más estudios.
Para justificar su existencia en proyectos mineros conflictivos, las empresas manufacturan información para demostrar que la gente está de acuerdo con su presencia.  Si lo pueden financiar, contratan a prestigiosas ONG para llevar a cabo entrevistas y estudios para supuestamente determinar la percepción popular sobre la minería, identificar los principales actores, necesidades, problemas, etc..  Posteriormente basan sus decisiones en los resultados de los estudios! Como si la complejidad y las actitudes de un área podrían ser estudiados en unos pocos días o un par de semanas. Sin embargo, esto es fue lo que la empresa y / o el gobierno aparentemente hicieron el año pasado cuando entrevistaron algunas personas sobre la minería. Luego, cuando intentaron reunirse con comunidades claves, se sorprendieron que su presencia fuera consideraba no grata!
Un nuevo siglo.
Si alguien de Codelco lee esto (como estoy seguro de que lo harán), probablemente sabe, o debe saber, algo que todas las empresas mineras responsables pueden dar fe (así como los principales actores, como el Banco Mundial):  el apoyo del Ejecutivo de un gobierno no es suficiente para garantizar el éxito de un proyecto. Se necesita el verdadero apoyo de la comunidad (no fabricado o imaginado), al igual que de los gobiernos locales. De hecho, el apoyo del gobierno central no garantiza nada en absoluto. Por  tanto, NO     confíen demasiado en el entusiasta apoyo del Gobierno actual.
¿Por qué escribir esto?
Porque siento la responsabilidad de informar al pueblo chileno, que no tiene la más mínima idea de el lio en el cual su empresa se está metiendo acá en Intag, y que es una situación sin salida para Codelco. Adicionalmente, que en el proceso de intentar de desarrollar una mina en este campo minado, se creará un caos social total, y será responsable de violar derechos humanos. Y, si a pesar de toda la indiscutible evidencia que a largo plazo es un proyecto sin futuro, de alguna manera Codelco logra abrir la mina, será recordada como una de las mayores pesadillas ambientales de todos los tiempos, al igual de la famosa mina de oro y cobre Ok Tedi en Papúa Nueva Guinea.
Estoy seguro de que si la mayoría de los chilenos se enteraran de todos los riesgos y obstáculos que enfrenta la expansión de la compañía en el Ecuador, con firmeza lo rechazarían. Esto, entonces, es un intento más de tratar de informar a la población chilena sobre la realidad detrás de las mentiras y engaños que se han generado y se generarán en torno al el proyecto minero Junín.
He aquí pues, veintiuna razones por qué Codelco no se debe meter con Intag:
A. Los impactos identificados en esta sección son los impactos ambientales y sociales pronosticados en el Estudio de Impacto Ambiental para una pequeña mina de cobre en el proyecto Junin, (450.000 toneladas de cobre); elaborado por profesionales japoneses.
Hay que tomar en cuenta que un par de años después de su publicación, se descubrió 5 veces más cobre.
1. Reubicación.   Intag no es como el desierto de Atacama, donde Codelco tiene sus minas de cobre. Aparte de ser rica en bosques super húmedos y biodiversos, la zona tiene comunidades por todo lado.
Según el Estudio mencionado, el proyecto minero reubicaría a cientos de familias de cuatro comunidades. Posteriormente, los japoneses encontraron más cobre, lo que aumentaría el número de comunidades afectadas.  La reubicación de comunidades en sí, es suficiente para terminar con casi todo proyecto extractivo.
2. Impactaría bosques nublados primarios.  Solo 2.5% de los bosques tropicales son bosques nublados, y aparte de su importancia en la conservación de la biodiversidad, juegan un papel indispensable en la protección del agua.
3. El proyecto causaría una “deforestación masiva” (sus palabras, no las mías). La pequeña mina afectaría directamente 4.025 hectáreas.
4. Esa deforestación masiva, de acuerdo a los japoneses, sequaría el clima local, lo cual afectaría a miles de pequeños agricultores (el EIA utilizó la palabra desertificación)
5. Los bosques nublados de Intag pertenecen al más importante Hotspot de biodiversidad del mundo, los Andes Tropicales. Los científicos que realizaron el estudio identificaron 12 especies de mamíferos y aves en peligro de extinción que se verían afectados por el proyecto, incluyendo jaguares, osos de anteojos, tapires de montaña y el mono cabeci-café. (Basado en estudios incompletos, Decoin identificó más de 30 especies de plantas y animales amenazadas o en peligro de extinción, y podría haber decenas más).
6. En el área minera hay ríos prístinos y arroyos por todas partes. El EIA predijo que estos serían contaminados con plomo, arsénico, cromo, cadmio y otras sustancias tóxicas.
7. El proyecto, sin lugar a dudas, destruirá sitios arqueológicos preincaicos de la cultura Yumbo.
8. Afectaría la Reserva Ecológica Cotacachi-Cayapas (una de las áreas protegidas de mayor diversidad biológica del mundo).
Además de estos efectos muy inquietantes identificadas en el Estudio (para una mina de una fracción de lo que podría llegar a ser) … hay otros problemas y obstáculos importantes.
B. Inconvenientes legales
9. La minería a gran escala, violaría el carácter vinculante de Cotacachi  como Cantón Ecológico creado en 2000. Sólo el Tribunal Constitucional puede pronunciarse sobre la validez de la ordenanza a la luz de la nueva Constitución. Y el Tribunal no lo ha hecho.
10. La Nueva Constitución le otorga derechos a la naturaleza y a las personas el derecho a Sumak Kawsay o vida armoniosa. Suerte cuendo intenten convencer a un gobierno decente o a la opinión pública mundial de que la minería a cielo abierto no violará estos dos derechos fundamentales.
11. En 2008, el gobierno del Cantón Cotacachi creó un área protegida municipal 18.000 hectáreas que incluye el área minera. La minería es una de las actividades prohibidas en el área protegida.
C. Oposición. Hay una amplia oposición al proyecto minero de Intag; incluyendo:
12. Los gobiernos Parroquia donde se encuentra la concesión, además de parte de organizaciones indígenas y campesinas en todo el Cantón. La nueva amenaza ha movilizado otras organizaciones a nivel local, cantonal y a nivel nacional que antes no estaban involucradas.
13. Oposición de la comunidad. La mayoría de las comunidades aledañas al proyecto minero siguen, después de todos estos años, oponiéndose al proyecto. Dieciocho años de resistencia ha perfeccionado sus habilidades a, legalmente, seguir resistiendo (el derecho a la resistencia es ahora un derecho protegido por la Constitución)
14. 90% de las ONG en el Cantón Cotacachi e Intag se oponen al proyecto. A finales del año pasado, las organizaciones de la sociedad civil más importantes de Intag le escribieron una carta al presidente de Chile para asegurarse de que entienda que las organizaciones defendarán la zona si Codelco sigue adelante y trata de revivir el proyecto.
D. Yacimiento exagerado
15. En 2007, Micon International, entidad contratada por Ascendant Copper para evaluar el depósito de cobre de Junín, dijo que no podía confirmar sus estimaciones anteriores debido a la degradación de las muestras. Copper Mesa había estado diciendo que el yacimiento de cobre de Junín tenía cuatro veces más cobre que lo que los japoneses deducieron después de años de exploración. En total, 2,26 millones de toneladas fueron inferido por los japoneses, lo cual representa un poco menos de una décima partede lo que el mundo consume anualmente (y lo cual tomaría décadas para explotar).
E. Otros desafíos ambientales
16. El área recibe entre 3.000 y 4.000 milímetros de precipitación al año. Las fuertes lluvias y abundantes agua freática, y el contenido de metales pesados en el yacimiento son una mezcla mortal. Esta situación incrementa considerablemente el precio de cualquier proyecto minero, al tiempo que aumenta en gran medida los riesgos de desastres antropogénicos, tales como deslizamientos de tierra.
Para tener una idea del desastre producido por un deslizamiento en una mina a cielo abierto, le recomiendo que visite este sitio:
17. El yacimiento contiene metales pesados y azufre (lo que causaría Drenaje Ácido de Mina).  La contaminación producto del DAM es eterna.
18. Según el EIA japonés, hay una sobreabundancia de agua subterránea en el área minera. Esto es debería ser muy preocupante para un proyecto minero, ya que encarece mucho la minería y causa enormes problemas ambientales.
19. El área es topográficamente muy accidentada, lo cual también contribuye para encarecer toda minería a gran escala.
20. Hay claros indicios de que el cobre de Junín se encuentra muy profundo. Esto hace la minería mucho ambientalmente más destructiva, y la extracción del cobre económicamente mucho más caro.
21. La Cordillera de Toisan, donde se encuentra el yacimiento de cobre, contiene numerosas fallas geológicas, lo cual representa significativos riesgos de terremotos (y mega desastres)
En verdad, existen más de 21 razones, pero 21 suena mejor que 43 o 31.
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