December 8, 2012
By Katia Molina. Sociologist Head of Labor Area of ICAL
“We not only fight against Agrosuper and their bad scents… we fight for the water, against Pascua Lama and Barrick… we fight for our children… ”
The region of Atacama, is totally tensed by the development pattern, a region rich in minerals and that plans to execute transnational mining projects with an investment during the years 2010 to 2014 of US $ 10. 818 million dollars.
The mining projects to work require electric power, highways and cities with appropriate services and work forces in each one of those moments.
The first tension that we observe is between the levels of regional economic growth and the distribution of the wealth. The transnational mining activity operates inserted in the regional economy, that is to say it favors those that are directly related with it, and not the rest, and of course we do not speak of the workers, because the tendency is towards terceration and subcontracting of the work force and therefore we speak of e precarization, that is to say that they are not all the well as we usually think.
The dispute for water between the agroexportation and the mining is another tension in which to date the transnational mining has come out winner. In the valley of Huasco, the struggle against Barrick Gold and their project of Pascua Lama, since the agreement signed in 1998 by the presidents Menem and Frei, has not stopped and it restructures the area according to its requirements.
The access to the water, as human right is part of the struggle that the communities have given in the area. The restriction to it has been going on for time, due to the hydric crisis of the Copiapo river that supported for more than 20 years the agrobusiness of the exportation fruit and the increase of the mining intensity that not only dried the river but also the underground napas of the area.
The energy matrix of the region tenses the whole country, since the requirements to make mining projects work have implied projects such as Central Castilla, at the moment detained, as well as the central Punta Alcalde, approved recently, both propelled by coal, without mentioning the Hydroaysén project in the Patagonia.
The tension between nature and the capitalist mode of production is evidenced. Being Chile in the world division of labor, exporter of raw materials, mainly copper to China (that is the country producing the multiple goods that flood the world) the demand desolates the fragility of this atmosphere, whence it should support this economic expansion.
Freirina and the Valley of Huasco are tensed amongst this growth that the neoliberal pattern offers and an alternative for development.
Agrosuper, hence represents the barbarism of the model, acting as if the resources were limitless, the water, the earth, the air, and it tenses the workers to support deplorable conditions for a wage to reproduce the materiality of themselves and their families.