Marcha Carnaval: un día de acción global para proteger el agua y la vida de la minería

Marcha Carnaval: A global day of action to protect water and life from mining

Todos los años, el Comité Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida del Tolima, Colombia celebra una marcha carnaval en defensa de la tierra, el agua y la vida en las calles de la ciudad de Ibagué.

Foto: Marcha Carnaval en Ibague. Viviana Sanchez

(Foto: Marcha Carnaval en Ibague. Viviana Sanchez)

Llevando a más de 100,000 personas a las calles de la ciudad, la marcha ha sido un lugar de expresión para que la gente levante sus voces y para crear un movimiento en pro de la paz y la democracia, oponiéndose a la minería destructiva en esta zona agrícola, rica en fuentes hídricas.

Este año, tras una victoria contundente en contra del proyecto minero La Colosa de la empresa Anglo Gold Ashanti, la Marcha Carnaval se llevará a cabo el 2 de junio de 2017. A diferencia de años pasados, esta vez a los habitantes del Tolima se le sumarán aliados en otros lugares de Colombia, Sur África e Inglaterra, y la Marcha Carnaval será global!

Las marchas y acciones de solidaridad se llevarán a cabo en Colombia en los municipios de: Ibagué, Espinal, Saldaña, Natagaima, Líbano, Armenia, San Martín (Cesar), Bucaramanga, Bogotá y todos los municipios del departamento de Caquetá, así como en Londres, Johanesburgo y tal vez Ginebra, demostrando solidaridad global hacia la campaña del Tolima para hacer de esta una región libre de minería. 

Si a la Vida, No a la Minería (YLNM por sus siglas en inglés) ha acompañado y apoyado al Comité Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida y la gente del Tolima en su lucha hasta el momento. Continuaremos con este apoyo al articular acciones e información, fotos y videos de las Marchas Carnaval, haciendo de este un festival global de resistencia, una inspiración visible para otras comunidades alrededor del mundo.

Mantenganse al tanto siguiendo la información publicada en nuestras cuentas de YLNM en Twitter FacebookContacte directamente con los coordinadores regionales de YLNM para obtener más información.

 

Contexto

El gobierno colombiano considera que la minería es una “locomotora de desarrollo”, y lleva ya varios años promoviendo políticas pro-extractivistas que han resultado en el acaparamiento de tierras, la destrucción a gran escala de ecosistemas importantes y la muestra de docenas de defensores de la tierra y el agua.

cesar_garcaa_1(Cesar Garcia: Líder del movimiento social en Tolima asesinado en noviembre de 2013.)

En el año 2007, el Ministerio de Minas y Energía anunció que un gran depósito de oro había sido descubierto en Cajamarca, Tolima. La multinacional surafricana AngloGold Ashanti ha intentado iniciar actividades mineras a gran escala en la región desde entonces bajo en nombre del gran proyecto regional minero La Colosa.

La Colosa sería uno de los proyectos de minería de oro más grande n América Latina, convirtiendo suelos fértiles para la agricultura y ecosistemas ricos en biodiversidad, incluyendo el ecosistema clave y único de los Andes, el páramo en un vasto tajo de minería. Se estima que las operaciones mineras y de procesamiento del material usarían cerca de 1.8 a 3.7 billones de litros de agua al mes, la mayoría de la cual será tomada de fuentes hídricas en Cajamarca. Esta cantidad es mayor a aquella consumida mensualmente en unidades domésticas en todo el departamento del Tolima, con una población de 1.4 millones de personas.

Los impactos proyectados para esta mina y la violencia perpetuada hacia las comunidades locales que se oponen a estos intereses pro-mineros, a contribuido a la construcción de un movimiento masivo que se levanta por la defensa de la tierra, el agua y la vida en el Tolima. En contra de todo pronóstico, este movimiento, liderado por grupos ciudadanos como el comité ambiental, ha logrado detener el desarrollo de la mina.

(Citizens of Tolima who oppose the La Colosa mine.)

Con eventos y manifestaciones como la Marcha Carnaval, así como a través de la implementación de mecanismos de participación democrática legales, varios de estos municipios han logrado expresar sus intereses respecto a la minería en su territorio a través de consultas populares.

Estas consultas, validadas por la Constitución Política de Colombia y por la Corte Constitucional, ha permitido a los ciudadanos a organizar votaciones para decidir respecto al futuro de la minería en sus territorios. Organizadas por la gente y para la gente, estas consultas están permitiendo que las comunidades ejerzan su poder democrático respecto a decisiones que determinan el futuro de sus territorios, apartándose del nexo de los poderosos intereses extractivos que generalmente determina el futuro mediante sus proyectos destructivos.

En Colombia y América la implementación de estos mecanismos de participación ciudadana está incrementando para declarar áreas libres de minería, y proteger los ecosistemas que habilitan el sustento de las poblaciones locales.

(A map of popular consultations in the Americas. Diana Rodriguez)

El 26 de marzo de 2017, Cajamarca llevó a cabo su consulta popular para definir el futuro de la minería en su municipio. A pesar de numerosos obstáculos interpuestos a los promotores de la consulta, el 98% de los 6,241 votantes que se acercaron a las urnas ese día, votó en contra de la minería en el municipio de Cajamarca.

El voto casi unánime de Cajamarca es un grito devastador para los planes que la AngloGold Ashanti tiene para La Colosa. A pesar de que hasta el momento se desconoce qué planes tiene la empresa a largo plazo, por ahora ha manifestado que no seguirá con el proyecto.

La Marcha Carnaval del 2 de junio será una oportunidad para celebrar esta victoria de manera colectiva, para asegurar que otros se inspiren y empoderen a partir del ejemplo de Cajamarca, y será un paso para asegurar que esta victoria sea permanente.  

La solidaridad global entre comunidades resistiendo a la minería y sus aliados ha jugado un papel importante en el éxito de la lucha del Tolima. El 2 de junio seguiremos tejiendo estas alianzas de solidaridad y apoyo entre comunidades y aliados para el futuro del planeta! 

 

 

Every year, the Comite Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida from Tolima, Colombia, holds a carnival parade in defence of land, water and life in the streets of the city of Ibagué.

Foto: Marcha Carnaval en Ibague. Viviana Sanchez

(Foto: Marcha Carnaval en Ibague. Viviana Sanchez)

Drawing over 100,000 people to the city, the march has been a critical place for people to raise their voices and to build a movement for peace and democracy opposing destructive mining in this agricultural and water-rich region.

This year, after a major victory against Anglo Gold Ashanti’s La Colosa mining project, the parade will take place as usual on the 2nd June 2017. But unlike previous years, this time the people of Tolima will be joined in their march by allies in from across Colombia, South Africa and the UK as the ‘Marcha Carnaval’ goes global!

Marches and solidarity actions will be held in Colombia in the cities of: Ibague, Espinal, Saldaña, Natagaima, Líbano, Armenia, San Martín (Cesar), Bucaramanga, Bogotá and all the municipalities of the Caquetá region, as well as in London, Johannesburg, and perhaps Geneva, demonstrating global support for the people of Tolima’s campaigns to keep their region mining-free. 

YLNM has accompanied and supported the Comite Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida and the people of Tolima in their struggle so far. We will continue to do this by bringing together information, photos and video from the Marcha Carnaval, making this festival of resistance globally visible as an inspiration to others.

Stay tuned for more information, follow YLNM on Twitter and Facebook or connect with YLNM’s Regional Coordinators directly to find out more.

Background

The Colombian government considers mining to be an ‘engine for development’ and is pursuing pro-extractive policies that have resulted in the seizing of land from communities, the large-scale destruction of ecosystems and the killings of dozens of land and water defenders.

cesar_garcaa_1

(Cesar Garcia, a community leader who opposed the La Colosa project, was killed in November 2013.)

In 2007, the Colombian Ministry of Mines and Energy announced that a huge gold deposit had been found in Cajamarca, Tolima. South African mining company Anglo Gold Ashanti has since been attempting to begin large-scale mining activities in the region in the form of the La Colosa Project.

La Colosa would be one of the largest gold mining projects in Latin America, converting fertile farmland and biodiverse ecosystems, including rare paramo moorlands, into a vast open pit mine.  Mining and processing operations are projected to use between 1.8 to 3.7 billion litres of water per month, much of which will be drawn in Cajamarca. This is more than the total monthly domestic water consumption of the entire Department of Tolima, with a population of 1.4 million people.

The mine’s projected impacts and the violence perpetrated against local people who oppose it by pro-mining interests, has helped build a mass movement standing up in defence of land, water and life in Tolima. Against the odds, this movement, led by people’s groups like the Comite Ambiental en Defensa de la Vida, has so far stopped the mine from going ahead.

(Citizens of Tolima who oppose the La Colosa mine.)

(Citizens of Tolima of all ages and backgrounds have come together to oppose La Colosa.)

As well as demonstrating and holding events like the Marcha Carnaval, a critical tactic opponents of mining have employed is the development of local town or municipality-wide popular consultations on mining. 

These consultations, enshrined in the Colombian Constitution and validated by the Constitutional Court of Colombia, enable citizens to organise referendums on the future of mining in their territories.  Organised by the people, for the people, these consultations are enabling communities to wrest back democratic control over decisions made about their territories from the nexus of powerful extractive interests that usually decides the future of destructive projects.

In Colombia and across the Americas, popular consultations are increasingly being used to create mine-free areas, protecting ecosystems that make local, sustainable livelihoods possible.

(A map of popular consultations in the Americas. Diana Rodriguez)

(A map of popular consultations in the Americas. Diana Rodriguez)

On 26th March 2017, the municipality of Cajamarca, Tolima, held its own popular consultation on the future of mining (another is planned in the nearby city of Ibague). Despite numerous obstacles thrown in the way of the consultation’s organisers, 98% of the 6,241 voters who went to the polls voted to ban mining in Cajamarca and the surrounding areas.

Cajamaraca’s near-unanimous vote to ban mining is a devastating blow to Anglo Gold Ashanti’s plans for La Colosa. Though it is unclear what the company intends to do in the long term, for now it says it will not be pursuing the project any further.

The Marcha Carnaval on the 2nd June will be a chance to celebrate this major victory, to ensure others are empowered to follow Cajamarca’s example, and to takes steps to ensure this victory is a permanent one. 

Global solidarity between communities resisting mining and their allies has played an important role in the success of Tolima’s struggle so far. On the 2nd we will continue to build our bonds of solidarity and friendship for the future.

Screen Shot 2017-03-17 at 15.29.12

(Yes to Life, No to Mining’s Regional Coordinators stand in solidarity with the people of Tolima. Photo: Natalie Lowrey)

 

 

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