Saturday, February 24, 2007

Chilpancingo, Guerrero: Louie Louie's gold mine back in business.

The Luismin gold mine that I wrote about here and here, which has been shut down by a blockade for almost 60 days, is back up and running.

The ejidatarios (small land owners/farmers who don't really own the land and, in any event, are all poorer that the dirt and rocks that comprise said land) have agreed to lift their blockade after an agreement was reached with Louie Louie. Crisóforo Guzmán, "one of the leaders" of the ejidatarios and Eduardo Luna Arellano, Director General of Louie Louie mines, announced the following.

As to the demand of the ejidatarios for an annual payment of 90,000 pesos per year per hectare for some 700 hectares, the two sides agreed to abide by a appraisal of the value of the gold stake vis a vis Luismin's previously negotiated payments to the ejidatarios for "their" land. That appraisal will be made by the local Tribunal Unitario Agrario, or Dept. of Agriculture tribunal. Har.

As to the demands by the ejidatarios for more "public works" to be paid for wholly by the mine owners, the following was promised by the mining company:

1. Any miner who took part in the blockade and was then fired by Luismin will be returned to his job with full back pay.

2. The mining company will finance a computer center

3. The mining company will complete a highway to the village of Carrizalillo

4. The mining company will pay for the purchase and installation of a water tank (I would presume this actually means a water tower) to bring or to pressurize the potable water system to Carrizalillo

5. The mining company will remodel the village's health center

6. The mining company will arrange for a mobile dental health lab to visit weekly

7. The mining company will organize a basketball tournament (Larry Bird and Magic Johnson anxiously await invitations).

Now, this agreement with the ejidatario "leader" would have to be considered shaky, at best, in light of the mining company's project manager's statements of just 2 days ago. Tomás Iturriaga said that the angry ejidatarios were "little representative of the whole". He said that the ones who were blockading his project were only some "30 of 160 ejidatatios". That means that his company has a very tentative agreement with a "leader" who represents less than 19% of the total campesinos affected.

Just like negotiating with the hydra of APPO leadership.

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