Thursday, July 19, 2007

Public Declaration addressed to Stephen Harper

This is from The Dominion, a progressive Canadian blog. It's a Public Declaration signed by Chilean environmental and social justice activists, and received by Barrick Gold to be given to Stephen Harper:
Santiago, July 18, 2007

Prime Minister of Canada supports Barrick Gold and refuses audience with Communities affected by Pascua Lama

We declare:

1. It is abhorrent that Stephen Harper, under the pretext of a state visit, intervenes openly and shamelessly on behalf of a mining company whose operations are questionable environmentally, legally, ethically and socially.

2. It is inconceivable that the maximum authority in a country like Canada, that promotes and supports foreign mining investments at a state level (with the money of all Canadians), shows a total lack of consideration for the effects that these investments generate in communities where mining projects are developed.

3. We find it worrying that Steven Harper’s agenda includes meetings with the president and with Barrick Gold, the mining company in question, while failing to listen to the voices of citizens accusing murder and destruction ten years after the FTA between the two countries. It demonstrates the double standards of the Prime Minister, who opened public Roundtables on corporate social responsibility in his own country, while here in Chile he refuses to meet with civil society.

4. We reject the political pressure suggested by this visit, which comes at the same moment at which Barrick is encountering serious difficulties: on June 21, the opening of mine areas was delayed for the fourth time, in mid July the Inter American Commission for Human Rights will determine whether or not they receive for processing the territorial usurpation dispute put forward by the Diaguita community of Huascoaltinos. Three weeks ago the congress showed their concern with irregularities brought forward by the community of Valle del Huasco and promised to strike up an investigatory commission on Pascua Lama. In the coming weeks, the State Defense Council will determine what role they will play in a dispute being carried out by the community for irreparable environmental damage with regards to the destruction of glaciers. At the moment there is no taxation agreement between Chile and Argentina for the Pascua Lama project, along with a series of other irregularities.

5. For all of these reasons, we declare Mr. Harper a persona non grata and we demand that the Chilean government defend our sovereignty and ask the Canadian diplomats for answers regarding Harper’s statements, and Harper’s agenda, which does very little to maintain the health of the bilateral relations in our countries.


Latin American Observatory on Environmental Conflicts (OLCA)
Colectivo Rexistencia
Movimiento Ciudadano Anti Pascualama
Programa Radial “Semillas de Agua”
Coordinadora de Defensa de los Valles del Tránsito y El carmen (Región de Atacama)
Casa Taller La Lucha
Environmental and Social Justice Action Network (RAJAS, Santiago)

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