Tuesday, September 26, 2023
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Panamanian indigenous people on alert against mining contract

Panama City, Sep 18 (Prensa Latina) Members of the Ngäbe Bugle community announced that they are on permanent alert regarding the contract signed by the Government and the company Minera Panamá, which they consider unconstitutional despite being debated in the Legislature.

The aborigines pointed out that the upcoming visit to the Donoso copper mine (Colón) by the deputies of the Commerce and Economic Affairs commission of the National Assembly could generate new protests.

Rogelio Montezuma, leader of the Coordinator for the Defense of Natural Resources, stressed that they are holding meetings in order to decide the next actions. “We are calling on the Government and requesting that not approve this bill or else they will see us on the streets this week,” he said.

In the words of the indigenous leader, points such as San Félix, Tolé, Horconcito and other communities in the east of the province of Chiriquí may end up closed.

Deputy Roberto Ábrego, of the ruling Democratic Revolutionary Party, who will be leading the commission, stated that once the visit concludes, they will prepare a report on the public consultation, although the results are not binding, but serve as a reference for the debates.

The social organizations that forms the United People’s Alliance for Life will also intensify their actions in rejection of the agreement, as general secretary of the National Confederation of Independent Trade Union Unity Marcos Andrade announced to the press. It will be a permanent struggle in the streets, he stated, and added that the current pact with Minera Panama cedes airspace and territory to foreign companies, such as the Canadian First Quantum, which goes against sovereignty.

The groups have also denounced the dismissal of 150 company workers, contrary to public propaganda which sold the idea that the mine generates thousands of jobs. Environmental groups have also drawn attention to the pollution of rivers and the deforestation as a result from open pit mining, with significant damage to nature.


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