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gabriel.jpgRSS Gabriel Ángel

Gabriel Ángel is writer and guerrilla fighter of the FARC-EP
Monday, 14 August 2017 00:00

The mining strike, multinationals and Venezuela

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The mining strikes continue in Remedios and Segovia, northeast of Antioquia in Colombia. It involves -despite being considered as the problem of a lost corner of the interior of the country- concrete decisions in a matter of prime national interest, the exploitation and trade of our common goods.

In its way, the conflict between the miners and Gran Colombia Gold Company reproduces in the 21st century the millennial confrontation between empires and subjected peoples. The invasion and abuse of powerful cities or countries against other weaker ones aimed at the take over and control over their riches, a struggle that is as old to history as the Bible is.

The gold and silver of the American continent that Spain brought to Europe from its colonies was vital for the development of capitalism, which despite its immense scientific and technological development, has done little to change the image of miners working as slaves for long hours for the benefit of the rich owners of the mines.

These are the times of the transnational corporations dedicated to financial speculation, although it is stated that after the general crisis of 2008, they turned their eyes towards the primary sector.

Nowadays, almost ghost like firms, with low capital, obtain -not always with orthodox methods- mining licenses in countries ruled by elites that are indifferent to the fate of their peoples.

Then, thanks to the rising of their actions as a result of the fabulous pits they announce, they make juicy negotiations in stock exchange markets abroad. They themselves, magnified by the contributions of new partners, or because other companies have acquired them, finally come to exploit the mines they had been acquired through all kinds of tricks.

Theories arising in famous schools of economics of London, Paris or Washington, are in charge of lecturing that the tax burdens and the impositions of social nature drive away investment. Thus, in countries subject to transnational mining investment, taxes and royalties are reduced to the minimum.

The criterion that stipulates the creation of direct and indirect jobs, as a result of the generous investment, together with the collateral economic activities, more than compensates for the loss of income due to the various exemptions.

Our countries ceased to be led by national bourgeoisie or landowners, with sudden patriotic outbursts that sometimes led them to quarrel with great world powers, to be governed by elites with no sense of country, intimately linked to the great networks of transnational capital, fundamentally concerned for the success of the latter, which will ultimately result in the increase of its own fortune. It has become natural for senior government officials linked to these transactions to end up, once their mandate is over, as trusted employees of these large foreign companies.

Thus powerful corporations devastate the mining resources of the countries, leave few royalties, are exempt from the payment of numerous taxes, generate little employment, and if they do generate some, they pay miserable wages because they use third parties to hire workers.

They can expand their activity throughout the area they have been granted, which often includes populated urban areas, areas of historic agricultural vocation and small and medium-sized mining operations that are declared illegal. As an example of its abuses, the Gran Colombia Gold Company threatened Colombia with a multi-million dollar lawsuit if it does not guarantee its activities in the country.

The waters required for the exploitation, that is to say, the rivers, ravines and lagoons that previously served the communities, are also placed at the service of the mining enclave.

At a closer look, it appears that this is indeed an invading force that devours everything and benefits from police and military protection of the State, which lends itself to brutally repress those who oppose it.

Thousands of families who lived from artisan mining will be able to continue doing so, according to the new laws, provided they obtain their mining title, for which they must comply with the same standards of the corporation: mission impossible. In addition they cannot sell the mineral. Only those who have the license can sell it, so in the case of Remedios and Segovia no miner can now dispose of the gold in his possession. Another happy day for the intermediaries of the corporation.

In Venezuela, a young revolution strives to recover its resources for its people, against the world's dominant logic. That makes it the object of imperial hatred as well as of all the neoliberal elites of the continent, who attack it mercilessly.

General Padrino Lopez stated -referring to the traitors- that it is easy to be a revolutionary when oil costs 100 dollars, another thing is being one with the embargo on your heads.

That happens in a democracy with a patriotic army and a powerful popular militia.

What can the northeastern miners achieve while being alone and treated as criminals?

Last modified on Monday, 14 August 2017 18:58