The Mazamorras Gold mining project, owned by Canadian multinational Gran Colombia Gold, and directed by ex-Colombian Foreign Affairs Minister María Consuelo Araujo, is located between the municipalities of Arboleda and San Lorenzo, in the Department of Nariño, Colombia. The company is currently moving ahead with mining exploration activities, which has created an environment of chaos and confrontation in and around local communities.
1. On Sunday, November 20th, from the morning until 3pm, 50 employees of the Mazamorras Gold mining project began work along the highway in Olaya, in the Municipality of Arboleda. Workers were apparently unaware of the company's October 11th commitment to the community to suspend all exploration activities until a Regional Forum on Mining can be carried out.
2. On the same day, in the evening, 30 campesinos in El Volador, in the Municipality of Arboleda, met to evaluate the situation. They decided to try to initiate a dialogue with the mine workers, and with retired army captain Néstor Cubides (who is chief of security at the mine) – all with the goal of suspending work on the mining project.
3. On Monday, November 21st, at 10am, the 30 campesinos walked to where the mine workers were located, but when the workers saw them, they left the area, heading towards the main highway by foot and motorcycle. Immediately thereafter, 30 ESMAD officers [riot police stationed in the area], fired shots into the air, without a word, and attacked the campesinos with batons. During the attack, police beat Mr. Leonel Grijalva and his wife, Dorita Rivera, ripping off her blouse. In this condition, they detained Ms. Rivera and drove her to a police station in the Municipality of Berruecos.
We hold the Government of Colombia, state security forces, and the Canadian multinational Gran Colombia Gold responsible for the repeated and systematic human rights violations carried out against the campesino communities of Arboleda and San Lorenzo. We hold the Governor of Nariño, Antonio Navarro Wolf, responsible as well, for not responding to the community's constant calls for action, nor to the agreement made on October 11th to organize a Regional Forum on Mining. His silence has made him complicit in these violations.
Macizo Region of Colombia, November 21st , 2011
COMITÉ DE INTEGRACION DEL MACIZO COLOMBIANO – CIMA
FUNDACION DEL SUR OCCIDENTE Y MACIZO COLOMBIANO
FUNDACION ESTRELLA OROGRAFICA DEL MACIZO COLOMBIANO - FUNDECIMA
COORDINADOR NACIONAL AGRARIO – CNA
Translated by PASC