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Asunto:[LEA-Venezuela] En Londres: Irrumpen Asamblea Anual de Angloamerican, en protesta por Programa Carbonifero "Bolivariano"
Fecha:Miercoles, 26 de Abril, 2006  22:10:45 (-0400)
Autor:Jorge Luis Hinestroza M. <vitae @......com>

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2006/04/338925.html

 

World second-largest mining company AGM disrupted

Sophie Allain | 26.04.2006 14:59 | Ecology | Globalisation | Social Struggles

Anglo American’s Annual General Meeting was disrupted yesturday (April 25th) by campaigners in solidarity with Indigenous Communities resisting mining in the Sierra Perrija, Zulia. The campaigners demand that Anglo American withdraw their shares in the company Carbones del Guasare that has plans for expanding mining in the region

Today businessmen gathered in the heart of London, for the Annual General Meeting of Anglo American. This massive multinational mining company is planning to profit from the destruction of the environment and of indigenous ways of life across the Atlantic in Venezuela .

The Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela guarantees rights to the Bari, Yanshituu (Japreria), Añúu ,Yukpa, and Wayuu indigenous tribes from the Sierra de Perija, yet despite massive protests against the mines the plans are currently going ahead.

Anglo American is working with other multinationals and the Venezuelan state-owned company Corpozulia to expand the mining operations in the region, three fold, so that open pit coal mines will be dotted through out the Sierra. The next planned mine is in the Socuy valley. The vast majority of the coal is exported to the USA and to Europe, and the vast majority of profits made by Anglo American will go to shareholders in the USA and Europe.

Protesters were surprised when Mark Moody-Stuart, Chief Executive of Anglo American tried to side-step the issue by stating that because Anglo American will not operate the proposed Socuy mine, there are no issues for them to address. However, Anglo American takes a 25% of the profits made by the company Carbones del Guasare, who are behind the expansions. Following repeated questioning about the social and environmental impacts of the new mines, Tony Redman, their technical director said “If we don’t do it somebody else will”.

Protester, Sophie Allain, from Save the Socuy International Campaign, said, “This shows the only thing they care about is profits. They are hiding behind the smoke screen that other companies also have investments and influence in the mining expansion. This doesn’t make Anglo American any less culpable.”

Meanwhile the people displaced from their homes will face a fate already suffered by their neighbours across the border in Colombia where Anglo American as well as other multinationals operates the biggest open pit coal mine in the world. Opened 25 years ago, this mine has destroyed the means of life for many Wayuu people in the Guajira peninsula in Colombia. A 2001 report documented the depressingly predictable long-term effect of the mine on the indigenous Guajiro communities: a rise in death rates due to poisoning and contamination from the mine and its wastes, the loss of sacred spaces, loss of cultural integrity and identity, and increasing poverty. The mines encroachment on indigenous lands has continued unabated over the last 20 years.

If the new mines on the Venezuelan side of the Sierra go ahead, a similar ‘development’ will unfold. Indigenous people in Venezuela are wise to the threats. Cesáreo Panapaera, the leader of 32 Yukpa communities in Tokuko, said that coal mining operations “bring pollution and disease. They are destroying our farming practices, they are going to destroy our water, and they will end up destroying our lives,”

The mineral reserve stretches across from Colombia to Venezuela. On the Colombian side of the border, mining has caused social and environmental havoc. This scale of mining has not destroyed the Sierra YET. Tragically, on both sides of the border, the interests of big fossil fuel companies such as Anglo American are being put before the rights of people and the preservation of the

NOTES;

The protesters are affiliated to the group CRAMA, that is based in Maracaibo. CRAMA Blue Morphos Radical Autonomous Collective Contact in Venezuela;  noalcarbon@riseup.net
Contact in the UK;  sophiecaitlinalain@hotmail.com

Other protesters raising issues at the AGM were from the mines and communities network www.minesandcommunities.org.uk

Sophie Allain