COMMUNIQUÉ TO THE MUNICIPAL, DEPARTMENTAL, AND NATIONAL PUBLIC OPINION
We, The political organizations signing below, after meeting in the headquarters of Sintracarbon located in the city of Riohacha, La Guajira, on July 19 2012, wish to express to the local, departmental, and national public opinion our position and arguments regarding the mining projects in La Guajira, the change of the course of the Ranchería River, the modification of the Cañaverales Spring, and the new royalties’ regime:
1. The document prepared by the multinational companies owning El Cerrejón which was named “Summary of the Expansion Project Iiwo’yaa, for Interested Organizations”, presents the criteria and means for expanding the mining exploitation in La Guajira. This will be carried out through the change of two sections of the Ranchería River, which involves the deviation of the natural course of the river by 26.2 Kms. The river will be affected in a definitive and irreversible manner.
2. The Ranchería River is our main source of above-ground potable water since it extends more than twenty percent of the department. It also constitutes a natural barrier that keeps the desert from expanding to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the department of Cesar. This means that this river, from a social, economic, cultural, and environmental point of view, is of vital importance for our department. Therefore, any modification to this river will bring detrimental effects to our people.
3. The mining exploitation by the multinational company CCX in the municipality of San Juan will affect the Cañaverales Spring. In addition, this exploitation involves the construction of 150 kms of railway, affecting 5000 hectares used for agriculture and the settled indigenous peoples of the area.
4. The risk of more than eighty percent of the territory of La Guajira, which is semiarid and has high and very high propensity for desertification, is exacerbated by climate change. This will have detrimental consequences for the area since, according to IDEAM, its temperature will rise, on an average 30 to 40 years, five degrees Celsius. Similarly, its precipitation regime will decrease dramatically.
5. The actual regime of royalties has kept us from the autonomous control of the department budget that we had before with the prior regime. This fact locates children, indigenous peoples, afrodescendant peoples, elderly, students, and the people in general, in a high risk position. Furthermore, this new regime makes unstable the financial security of the Universidad de La Guajira, the municipalities, and the department in general.
Thus, we wish the express:
1. We reject, due to its injurious nature for the department and the Guajiro people, the change of the course of the Ranchería River, the modification of the Cañaverales Spring, and the construction of the railway by CCX. In addition, we compromise to encourage public announcements of this situation by our members of the municipal council and the department assembly.
2. We reject the new regime of royalties, and its outrageous form of centralizing budgets, for being harmful for the interests of La Guajira since they have disposed us from the necessary resources to deal with the poverty and misery of La Guajira.
3. We make a call for unity and the organization of all the Guajiros, whether native or residents, to defend, in a civilized but punctual manner, our rights. We are also calling to find a unified path to finish our profound crisis by defending, promoting, and protecting the agriculture, commerce, and tourism sectors, since they are our true productive salvation.
4. We are also making an enthusiast and decisive call for the people of la Guajira to participate in the Great March/Carnaval in Defense of Life and Water, which will take place on August 1st of 2012 in the streets of Riohacha. The purpose is to provide an irrefutable NO to the project of changing the course of the Ranchería River.
Signed in Riohacha on the 19th day of July, 2012.
MARLON BLANCO VERDE
OSVALDO ZULBARAN VERDE
BASILIO ARZUAGA POLO DEMOCRATICO -GUAJIRA
PEDRO RAMIREZ GUTIERREZ POLO DEMOCRATICO - RIOHACHA
CARLOS VANEGAS BARROS AUTORIDADES INDIGENAS
ANGEL ROYS MEJIA AICO
MANUEL MENGUAL MEZA PARTIDO LIBERAL
EMILSA ROJAS ATENCIO PIN
GENNY PASTOR ZUÑIGA CONSERVADOR
LUIS FELIPE RODRIGUEZ MOVIL VERDE
CLAUDIA DELUQUE ALIANZA SOCIAL INDEPENDENTE
ALVARO GNECCO PARTIDO DE LA