Volunteers will promote a campaign against mining in Quito

On August 20, the people of the Quito metropolitan area will not only go to the polls – like the rest of Ecuadorians – to elect the president, vice president and members of the assembly, but they will also vote in the popular consultation on mineral mining in Choco Andino.

At a news conference Thursday, members of the Quito Without Mining group, promoters of the referendum, made it clear that they will be counting on volunteers for the pro-mining ban campaign, set to begin July 29, though the budget is awarded by the National Electoral Council (CNE).

Victoria Jaramillo, a member of that group, announced that she would be touring popular neighborhoods in the capital to explain to people the importance of voting against mining in favor of environmental conservation.

Another young man from the group, Victor Guaman, commented that the campaign would be “like David against Goliath”, because companies that favor extraction have money available to further their interests.

Likewise, Guaman indicated that it would try to develop a common strategy with other social and political movements related to its goals, although he made it clear that it does not associate it with any party.

For her part, Yvonne Ramos, of Acción Ecológica, points out that the collection of signatures started a year ago and managed to get the support of about 450,000 people, although CNE validates about 200,000.

Ramos said that the Chocó Andino region is a region producing sustainable and community economies that feed the citizens, but above all the water that serves part of the city of Quito comes from there.

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In this sense, Inti Arcos, a resident of the region and coordinator of the Choco Andino Commonwealth, stressed the importance of popular counseling for those who live in that region and for everyone in general.

The area, over 286,000 hectares, has been declared a biosphere reserve by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). There are 12 mining concessions, although none are still in existence.

lam / avr

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