|Ecuador's Correa Seeks South American Allies in Conflict with Anti-Mining Social Movements|
|Written by Agencia Peruana de Noticias, Translated by Christina Hewitt|
|Tuesday, 04 December 2012 18:38|
Correa proposes that Peru, Colombia and Ecuador address the anti-mining "problem"
Rafael Correa, the president of Ecuador, proposed [on November 23] that his country, together with Peru and Colombia, address the problem of anti-mining activists who provoke violence while acting under the false pretext of defending the environment.
Correa warned that radical anti-mining groups were contradicting themselves as “they never protest against highly polluting mining,” but instead they protest against “clean mining” that does not harm water supplies or the environment.
“The challenge is to have good mining and oil extraction and yes, we can have it,” he stressed, as he spoke to the press after closing the VI Binational Cabinet Meeting of Peru and Ecuador, in Cuenca.
In addition, he thought it important to reflect upon the violence caused by radical environmental groups who oppose mining because, he said, in Ecuador, as well as Peru, their arguments are based on “falsehoods.”
The president pointed out that some groups reject mining altogether, but he believes that without mineral extraction, it will be very difficult to lift their countries out of poverty.
“The solution is not to say no to mining, but to reject harmful mining [...] we cannot be beggars sitting on a sack of gold,” he said.
Correa also strongly criticized the “so-called environmentalists” who are opposed to the development of “ecological mining” and suggested they intend native communities to live in poverty “as part of folklore and the environment.”
Continuing along the same vein, he then suggested that the challenge for indigenous communities in the 21st century is to emerge from poverty without losing cultural identity.
“However, poverty cannot be considered part of this identity, and natural resources are needed to overcome poverty,” he emphasized.
The president apologized to Peru for the contamination of the Ecuadorian River Calera and River Amarillo as a result of “bad mining practices,” which subsequently led to the contamination of the Peruvian Puyango-Tumbes River. He indicated that these rivers would be cleaned and heavy metals removed.
Correa added that, “[...]Peru was right to complain and we apologize. We are working hard to resolve the situation as quickly as possible”.