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Two hundred neighbors and activists affected by the impacts of monoculture plantations, deforestation, environmental pollution and mega-mining attended the 12th meeting of the Union of Citizens Assemblies held in the city of Esquel, Patagonia.
Participants from different Argentinean provinces met in Chubut for three days.
“The event has been wonderful, it has been a great experience”, said Pablo Quintana of the Assembly of Neighbors against mining in Esquel.
In one of the activities the neighbors from other Argentinean cities visited high schools to talk with the students about the environmental struggles carried out by different neighbor assemblies.
“Here in Chubut, one of our main concerns is mega-mining”, said Quintana. After the UAC meeting, there was strong opposition to the initiative of Mario Das Neves’ government, which aims to devote a provincial region to mega-mining projects.
Very small communities live in that arid zone, where the government and corporations are trying to push again for the extractive activities. 80% of the residents of Esquel expressed their rejection to mining projects seven years ago.
Although the city is now fully aware of what their future should be like, the leader of the neighbors of Esquel explained that the support to the communities is still weak, so he expects greater solidarity.
A march with torches was held on Saturday to celebrate the “popular struggle” of 2003, “which marked the beginning of the popular consultations that are taking place across the country”, said Quintana.
“The neighbors joined us in the streets by applauding the march, recognizing and remembering this campaign started 7 years ago”.
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