Polo Ciudadano, Let Panama vote on mining

Former Petaquilla workers
Mining’s true promise: Workers who got cheated out of payments into Panama’s social security system by Petaquilla Gold, their ordinary legal remedies unavailable in any useful fashion, take their complaint to the national ombudsman’s office. Photo by the Defensoría del Pueblo.

Popular mobilization to reject the contract with First Quantum

by Polo Ciudadano

The PRD government, over which Laurentino Cortizo and “Gaby” Carrizo (ex-attorney of Minera Petaquilla) preside, has approved in the Cabinet Council an onerous contract with Minera Panama, better known as First Quantum. Now they intend to submit it to the vote of the discredited National Assembly to make it a law of the Republic of Panama. All this after a false “public consultation” in which some careless people and many agents of the ruling party’s “call centers” approved or issued opinions, which did not alter the content.

As more is known about the contract with the mining company, popular rejection grows and reaffirms Polo Ciudadano’s call to repudiate it. This contract must be rejected because:

  • Once again the vice of unconstitutionality of the first contract has been committed, there has been no public bidding;
  • The millions that the Panamanian state will supposedly receive are derisory compared to the billions that First Quantum will make; all at the cost of an evident irreversible destruction of the environment;
  • The new contract offers superpowers to the company over water and land (even additional), without real control of public institutions, which turns it into a colonial enclave in the style of the former Canal Zone, where national laws are trampled.

It’s another example of how Cortizo’s government, with Nito’s dauphin Carrizo, works in favor of obscure mining interests is the recent reactivation of a contract to exploit Cerro Quema in the Tonosí area, which has been rejected for decades by the adjacent communities, whose way of life dedicated to agriculture and cattle raising would be threatened.

Polo Ciudadano, for the reasons stated above, has been reiterating the need to reject the contract with First Quantum, and the urgency for the Panamanian state to take control of the mine facilities through a decree of NATIONALIZATION, as has been done in other Latin American countries. But, so that there are no doubts about what should be done, let the Panamanian people democratically decide the future of the mine by means of a PLEBISCITE.


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