(Translated by Justin Podur, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN’s Volunteer Editor.)
Letter from senator Jorge Enrique Robledo to Roberto Pombo, director of el Tiempo, October 12 2010
It is notoriously exaggerated and false when the special reporter of “El Tiempo” in Marmato, Caldas claims that in 2006 “an avalanche destroyed the mayor's office, the plaza, the church and 92 houses.”
Of course, this disproportion is explained by the fact that the correspondent went to Marmato, according to the story (October 11, 2010) “by invitation of Medoro” Resources, the Canadian mining company that destroyed the entire urban part of the municipality for an open pit mine.
Colombia has thousands upon thousands of houses at risk throughout the country. In Marmato, the risk comes from foreign capital, which has a plan to extract 7.5 million ounces of gold. And the debate, sir, is not only about the legitimacy of displacing thousands of Marmatenos who are resisting the loss of their town, but also about who will pay for the damages in case the transnational company leaves with the goods: if foreigners will profit massively from the story that the people have to flee because of the risk of avalanche.
The poor governor's office of Caldas has invested decades in the displacement of Marmato in order to help foreigners profit. These foreigners pay between 1.0 and 3.2% in royalties.
Colombia Goldfields, another Canadian mining company to which Medoro Resources has granted rights, bought and closed more than one hundred mines and with total impunity plunged Marmato into an unprecedented social crisis when it announced that the “total cost (of the displacement) could be around 20 million dollars, with the possibility of sharing this cost with the government.”
The summit of this disaster will be if the Marmatenos lose their town for the business of Medoro, a company which now holds Frontino Gold Mines in Segovia, Antioquia, and if the displacement is paid for by the governments of Caldas and of Colombia.
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