Urgent Environmental Alert

From: David Preiss (davidpreiss@puc.cl)
Date: Thu May 19 2005 - 13:51:00 PDT


Dear Friends
Please help to diffuminate this information. What Barrick Gold is doing
is really outraging. Don't do it only for us, do it for you. The
destruction of these glaciers puts the whole humanity in peril.

Urgent Environmental Alert:
Protect the Glaciers of the South of the World!!

Barrick Gold’s Pascua Lama Project

Dear friends, in organizations and networks,

In the highest reaches of the South American Andes, on the border of
Chile and Argentina, there are eternal snow glaciers of the purest water
in the world. One of these, in Pascua-Lama, in the Huasco region of
Chile and the San Juan region of Argentina, will be soon destroyed
unless we act quickly.

Applying the laws of the Mining Treaty between Chile and Argentina, an
agreement made practically in secret between both countries during the
presidencies of Carlos Menem and Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Barrick Gold
Corporation, through its subsidiaries Compañía Minera Nevada S.A. of
Chile, Barrick Exploraciones Argentina S.A. and Exploraciones Mineras
Argentinas S.A, will extract gold, silver, copper and mercury in a
open-pit strip mine in the delicate high Andes bioregion directly upon
the Argentina-Chile border, destroying the glaciers which have nourished
the region for thousands of years and irreversibly damaging the
ecosystems and life of the indigenous (Diaguita) communities.

The United Nations and other world organizations have said over and over
that the right to water is essential to life, equivalent to any other
human right. According to international agreements on the right to
water, the State must guarantee the preservation of the water sources
for future generations. Pascua-Lama’s glaciers constitute a natural
reserve for fresh water for the San Guillermo UNESCO World Heritage
Biosphere site. This in a time when more than a billion persons
worldwide do not have access to water (UN 1992).

These glaciers constitute a precious source of environmental knowledge,
unique in that they carry information of flora, fauna, and the history
of many thousands of years of the region of the South Andes.

The mining exploitation will not only ruin the water reserves, but also
will irreversibly damage the way of life of the Diaguita people, who
have lived in the now-affected zones for many hundreds of years. The
strip-mining will damage the environment of ancestral lands of these
indigenous people of the Americas.

We are convinced that the destruction of these glaciers will not only
affect ourselves and the Diaguita communities, but will also affect all
of humanity, because we think that all are equal victims of this attack
against historical, cultural and ecological patrimony of the South
world. This is the first glacier to be destroyed in the South Andes.
Surely after this will come many others.

We will not permit the authorities of the state to authorize this
exploitation without the necessary international protection, adoption
and guarantee of our human rights.

We think that there is no other solution than to create alliances,
associations and work together to do what is necessary to absolutely
stop this project, to prevent the damage to the glaciers, to the
ecosystem and the memory of the Diaguita people, for the preservation of
the historical identity of Argentina, Chile and Latin America.

We invite members of international networks to be part of the activity
of this struggle to defend the environment and the history of our
people. This project is in an important step in the approval process on
the part of environmental authorities of Chile. For this, it is
necessary that you take action as quickly as possible.

The glaciers are our right and our children’s right.

We need to count on your solidarity:

1. Forward this Alert to every network, organization, and friend to
raise public consciousness over the need to stop this attack on

2. Send an e-mail to the following addresses demanding that they
indefinitely suspend all mining activity in the area, for the
preservation of biodiversity, the indigenous historical patrimony, and
for the water for future generations.

webmaster(at)presidencia.gov.ar <mailto://webmaster@presidencia.gov.ar>
Presidente Néstor Carlos Kirchner
daniel.scioli(at)senado.gov.ar <mailto:daniel.scioli@senado.gov.ar>
Presidente del Senado Daniel Osvaldo Scioli
spministro(at)msal.gov.ar <mailto:spministro@msal.gov.ar> Ministro de
Salud y Ambiente Ginés González García

opinión(at)presidencia.cl <mailto:opini%97n@presidencia.cl> Presidente
Ricardo Lagos Escobar
sromero(at)senado.cl <mailto:sromero@senado.cl> Presidente del Senado,
Sen. Sergio Romero
ascencio(at)congreso.cl <mailto:sromero@senado.cl> Presidente Cámara de
Diputados Dip. Gabriel Ascencio
informacion(at)conama.cl <mailto:sromero@senado.cl> Director CONAMA
pavila.3(at)conama.cl <mailto:pavila.3@conama.cl> Director COREMA III
Región Plácido Avila Castro

Organismos Internacionales
cidhoea(at)oas.org <mailto:cidhoea@oas.org> Comisión Interamericana de
Derechos Humanos
amedeo.buonajuti(at)unep.org <mailto:amedeo.buonajuti@unep.org>
Programa Naciones Unidas para el Medio Ambiente
urgent-action(at)ohchr.org <mailto:urgent-action@ohchr.org> Comité del
ngochr(at)ohchr.org <mailto:ngochr@ohchr.org> Alto Comisionado de
Derecho Humanos

3. Sign on to this alert by sending an e-mail to: cpadilla(at)rdc.cl
<mailto:ngochr@ohchr.org> , dcarrasco(at)fdla.cl
<mailto:dcarrasco@fdla.cl> , or defensadelambiente(at)yahoo.es
<mailto:defensadelambiente@yahoo.es> , enabling it to be presented
before the States and International Organisations.

4. Distribute this Alert to all the States that maintain diplomatic
relations with Chile and Argentina, their embassies and consulates, and
relevant international, regional, and subregional organizations, for the
adoption of urgent measures and immediate actions aimed at the total
suspension of mining activity in this location.

5. Adopt all other initiatives and affirmative actions towards the
environmental protection of the glaciers and their ecosystem. To all the
states, institutions, international organizations, networks, and
organizations of the world.

Cesar Padilla
Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales OLCA

Diego Carrasco
Fundación Ciudadana para las Américas

Luis Alejandro Rojas
Movimiento por los Derechos Ciudadanos.

Jenia Jofré Canobra
CODEFF Amigos de la Tierra Chile

Jorge Capatto
FATAR, Federación de Amigos de la Tierra Argentina

Jürguen Rottmann
CODEFF Amigos de la Tierra Chile

Oscar Rivas
SOBREVIVENCIA Amigos de la Tierra Paraguay

Tatiana Roa
CENSAT, Amigos de la Tierra Colombia

Juan Pablo Lazo Ureta

Claudio Lopez

Analía Cócolo
Capítulo Argentino de la PIDHDD – Argentina

Fernando Rodríguez
Capítulo Boliviano de la PIDHDD – Bolivia

Regina Méndez
Capítulo Mexicano de la PIDHDD – México

Carlos Tamup
Capítulo Guatemalteco de la PIDHDD – Guatemala

Soledad Villagra
Capítulo Paraguayo de la PIDHDD – Paraguay

Natalia Paredes
Plataforma Colombiana de la PIDHDD – Colombia

Alexis Ponce
Capítulo Ecuatoriano de la PIDHDD – Ecuador

David Preiss


Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile: <http://www.puc.cl/>

PACE Center at Yale University: <http://www.yale.edu/pace>

Homepage: <http://pantheon.yale.edu/~ddp6/>

Phone: 56-2-3544605

Fax: 56-2-354-4844

E-mail: <mailto:david.preiss@yale.edu> david.preiss@yale.edu,


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