Ibagué: La primera ciudad en el mundo en llevar la minería a las urnas

Ibagué will be the first city in the world to take mining to public scrutiny

Hace aproximadamente un mes, el Alcalde de la ciudad de Ibagué, solicitó la realización de una Consulta Popular, un mecanismo de participación ciudadana establecido en la Constitución Política de Colombia que permite a los ciudadanos a participar en las decisiones que afectarán su futuro. Las amenazas actuales de una posible mina de oro que afectaría los recursos hídricos que surten a la ciudad han despertado incertidumbre entre los habitantes. A partir de esas preocupaciones, el sugirió una pregunta para preguntarle a los ciudadanos si están de acuerdo o no con que se desarrollen actividades mineras en su municipio. El siguiente paso debía ser que la propuesta debía ser sometida ante los miembros del Concejo de la ciudad, y decidieran si están o no de acuerdo con la pregunta propuesta y con que se llevara a cabo la Consulta Popular.

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El lunes pasado, diez de diez y nueve concejales votaron a favor de la Consulta Popular. Fue una mañana de mucha incertidumbre pues a pesar de que los concejales habían asistido a varias presentaciones por parte de abogados que les explicaron la constitucionalidad de la pregunta, los miembros del Concejo recibieron amenazas por parte del Gobierno Nacional. El interés del Gobierno Nacional en la minería como alternativa económica para el país ha construido un discurso que inhabilita a los gobiernos locales a involucrarse en temas mineros.

Amenazas por parte de la Procuraduría Nacional y el Ministerio de Minas presionaron a miembros del Concejo para que pusieran en duda la decisión que tomarían. El hecho de que la Consulta Popular haya ganado por un voto en el Concejo es un claro ejemplo de la necesidad de permitir que las personas manifiesten su opinión respecto a estos temas, pues serán los habitantes locales quienes se verán afectados directamente por estas actividades. El Concejo recibió apoyo por parte de organizaciones internacionales alrededor del mundo, incluyendo la Red de Solidaridad Global Si a la Vida, No a la Minería, manifestando la importancia que este suceso significa para la lucha global en contra de las industrias extractivas.

Mariana Gomez Soto, YLNM Coordinator for Latin America. March 8th 2016.

About a month ago, the city mayor requested a Popular Consultation, a type of referendum found in the Colombian Constitution as a democratic mechanism for people to participate in the decisions that affect their future. The current threats of a possible mine near by that would affect the city´s water resources have opened questions and uncertainty in the inhabitants of Ibagué. Regarding these preoccupations, he passed a question asking if people agree or don’t agree about mining activities taking place in their municipality. The next step was that the city council members had to vote if they agreed with the question and with the Popular Consultation to take place.

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Last Monday, ten of nineteen council members voted in favour of the Popular Consultation. It was a morning of a lot of uncertainties because even if the council had received several presentations from lawyers explaining the constitutionality of the question, the members had been receiving threats from the national government. The interest of the national government to bring mining forward has constructed a discourse of inability for local governments to involve in topics regarding mining.

Threats from the national Attorney and the Ministry of Mining pressured the council members to doubt about the decision they would take. The fact that the popular consultation won for one vote is a huge proof of the need for people to be able to manifest their opinion regarding these topics, for it will be the local inhabitants who will be affected directly be the mining activities. The council received support from international organizations around the world including the Yes to Life, No to Mining Network, manifesting the importance this step means for the global fight against extractive industries.

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