Massive Mobilization in the Dominican Republic Sends Clear Message to Mining Companies


The message? “You are not welcome here.” ESENDOM writes that “In the Dominican Republic, ordinary people and in particular, peasants and rural dwellers, are quite aware of the destructive effects mining extraction is having on their daily lives as multinationals unleash toxic waste on nature.” Here are excerpts; read full article at ESENDOM:

In Latin America and the Caribbean, foreign, multinational mining companies are facing opposition from local populations whose memories of colonialism, violence and plunder remain alive. Some of the countries where mining has become a contested issue are neighboring Haiti, UruguayBrazil and Argentina among others. [. . .]

The 2009 fight against the construction of a cement factory in the Haitises National Park spread awareness about the environment. At the same time, as the Dominican state opens up the country to foreign investment, the threat to life on the island shared by both Haiti and the Dominican Republic becomes dire.

[. . .] Due to more awareness on the aftereffects of mining, people in the Dominican Republic and mobilizing to protect the environment and their livelihoods.

On Feb. 11, thousands marched against gold mining in the southern province of San Juan de la Maguana. When the Ministry of Energy and Mining requested the government to approve a mining concession to GoldQuest, a Canadian mining company, public opinion exploded in anger. That anger as well and growing public indignation with government corruption triggered the recent mass mobilization. The majority of people in San Juan de la Maguana oppose gold mining because it will have negative consequences for agriculture, fauna and human life.

The massive mobilization sent a message to pro-government politicians who have no choice but to side with protesters. Marchers demanded President Danilo Medina not grant a mining licence to GoldQuest.

Anti-gold mining sentiment is also present among intellectuals and scientists. On Feb. 6, the Dominican Republic’s Academy of Science issued a swift rebuttal to the Minister of Mining stating that the mining project would have negative consequences for bodies of water such as rivers, according to Listin Diario.

Leading the anti-mining protest are several progressive Catholic priests. [. . .]

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