Sunday, April 21, 2024

Introduction: No means no

Chapter 1

Introduction: No means no

This introduction looks at the origins of the recent community resistance to mining in Latin America, focusing on two cases. It traces back an upsurge of mining conflict in late 2021 in Chubut, in Argentine Patagonia, to a famous case of resistance in the same province from the early 2000s, alongside a case from the north of Peru which has been similarly influential. The chapter also highlights some of the principal means with which communities have opposed the industry, including research, movement building, the call to defend water, and a local direct democracy mechanism known as the consulta popular.

‘This is an enormous province, which has uranium, gold, silver … a whole load of minerals. But we only have one major river [the Río Chubut], which supplies the entire province with water … And this is a very dry region. We depend on the river for everything. Sometimes there’s no water. If there isn’t much snowfall in the winter, the river runs low, and there are shortages.’

– Demián Morassi, art teacher and member of the Assembly in Defence of the Territory of Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina

Chubutaguazo massive demonstrations against the Chubut mega-mining project, 2021. Credit: Alex Dukal

‘The defence of water is what has blocked mining in Chubut … The issue is water, that’s the framework we’re operating in.’

– Demián Morassi, art teacher and member of the Assembly in Defence of the Territory of Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina

Moira Millan, mapuche activist, speaks to the people during the massive demonstrations against the Chubut mega-mining project, finally repealed in December 2021, thanks to the demonstrations. Credit: Alex Dukal

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