Take physic, pomp

Protests against the passage of Ecuador’s mining law….

Photo of the road block this morning from Ecuador’s El Comercio

….have been pretty subdued so far.

Right now the law is in a transitory committee stage, between is successful first reading and the second reading due next week. Without complicating matters, it’s fair to say that if it passes its second reading it becomes law as stands (just need some rubberstamping here and there).

As for protests, yesterday there were “dozens” (reports El Comercio) of protesters that descended on the Congresillo building carrying banners saying “Viva la Vida” etc (thanks to a band that appeals to those that don’t understand Radiohead, there’s no need to translate that one).Then this morning a roadblock was set up by indigenous protesters that blocked the main highway between Cuenca and el Oro (the main mining district part of Ecuador). Ironically, those that damn the miners for crimes against environmental humanity used burning car tires to block the roads…..nothing like a bit of black smoke to draw attention to yourself, is there? Police opened the road quickly, then it was blocked again in a different part…then opened again, then blocked, then re-opened etc etc.

Quite frankly, these people don’t know what they’re protesting against. As a legal framework to provide solid rules and safeguards against pollution, the new law is a good document and this government is bound to come down heavily on any mining company stupid enough to try and cut corners on the enviro aspect (just ask Chevron). There are still “dirty” mining companies (such as PTQ.to, recently fined $1.9m for being a shame on the face of Panama), but the 21st century has mainly left these relics behind, especially when it comes to new operations. I’m very pro-enviro causes and also very anti-polluters of all types (especially miners), but common sense needs to be applied, too. It all boils down to the two words that President Correa uses when talking about mining, “responsible development”. He’s got it right.

UPDATE: The second passage is now slated for the first week in January. Perfectly acceptable IMHO.

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