Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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Protests will continue in Panamanian streets against mining contract

Panama City, Aug 28 (Prensa Latina) Popular organizations in Panama ratified today they will continue in the streets to protest the mining contract that the National Assembly (parliament) is debating at the proposal of the Government.

The general secretary of the National Confederation of Independent Union Unity (Conusi), Marcos Andrade, told Prensa Latina that the demonstrations rejecting the pact signed by the Executive and Minera Panama, a subsidiary of the Canadian transnational First Quantum, which violates the law, is an attack on nature, national sovereignty and will be permanent.

On behalf of the Alianza Pueblo Unido por la Vida, Andrade specified that the pact involves concessions to foreign companies not only for spaces such as the open-pit copper mine and affectations in the districts of Donoso and Omar Torrijos, in Colón, but also almost half of the national territory, with the consequent looting of natural resources.

Regarding concentrations that this Monday, for the second time surround the legislature and demand justice, the union leader stressed that protesters also repudiate that the transnational companies want to impose a mining country and demands that a plebiscite be held throughout the country so that people decide whether that contract is beneficial or not.

Next Saturday, he announced, the leaders of the different social organizations in the country will decide new actions in rejection of the leonine contract, while indicating they will be present at the debates of the parliamentary trade and economic affairs commission to offer their arguments.

On behalf of educators, Fernando Abrego, stated that the teachers’ unions are also mobilized to explain to the population the irreversible damage caused by open-pit mining, and that it only brings misery and poverty, river contamination and the consequences of the deforestation.

For his part, Luis Díaz, leader of the Coordinadora Campesina por la Tierra y la Vida, demanded that deliberations of the deputies on the contract with Minera Panama be transferred to Donoso, together with its inhabitants, the most affected by this pact.

The first parliamentary debates on the mining contract began with differences, after the new presentation of the text by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Federico Alfaro, its most fervent promoter. The official stressed that 50 percent of the funds to be received – about 375 million dollars annually –will be distributed to the Disability, Old Age and Death (IVM) program of the Social Security Fund, to increase the amount of pensions.

According to images broadcast live on television, social leaders who attended the session denounced that the top positions were occupied by staff in work clothes displaying the company logo.

For environmentalists and dozens of collectives, one is the financial situation of the IVM program, whose resources will be exhausted to be able to comply with the retirement payments; and another is the problem of low income according to the minimum pensions of many retirees.

Facing the 2024 general elections, popular movements also warned that traditional politicians are looking for resources to finance their campaigns through clientelism.


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