One of the things that we need to do is to take control of the question “What is corruption anyway?”
Because in order to stand up to the voices saying “Hey, its only exploration”, we need to flesh out the full negative impacts of exploration and, arguably, the most severe of all is the corruption which the companies have honed to an artform – only this isn’t generally recognised for the corruption that it is (“corruption” as an active verb, not merely a noun).
So, we see the various indices of “the world’s most corrupt countries” then Ecuador comes in at #37 while the US is a squeaky clean 161, Canada 171 and Australia 172 out of 180 countries. Likewise
Ecuador is 120th in the “most transparent” stakes . The reason that the world looks like this is that America et al control the definitions, they run the reality studios.
What if campaign contributions by corporations and other vested interests were correctly understood as the single most corrosive and corrupting activity consuming the future of humanity and of complex life on Earth? What if the NRA’s corrupting role on the political system were unmasked as the main cause of the 33,000 gun deaths in the US each year? We’re almost ready to ascribe corruption to the tobacco industry but what about the coal and oil industry’s using the same PR firms to make sure that climate catastrophe is inevitable?
What would the corruption rankings look like then?
Whoever controls the language controls the game, we’ve got to use our words with huge skill and persuasion to wrest the language away from the vested interests. Who will roll away the stone?
So, much more important than Glas and his cronies, and the minor illegal corruptions like money changing hands under the table to advantage one of the sharks at the expense of the others, is the institutionalised and perfectly legal corruption practiced by the miners
For example, I recently received this:
“I received an email yesterday from an Ecuadorian colleague, a well respected field biologist who is attending the Conference. Here is her text translated from Spanish:
"I saw Y today in one of the open talks. He told me his position on mining is different from mine, since he now works for XXXXXGold and saw how is responsible mining; and that we cannot oppose mining since we "use it" daily. To avoid an argument I told him that in the case of Carchi (my province) the last remnants of Andean forest are concessioned to CORNERSTONE and that they're looking for gold, and that only 2% of this metal is used in technology -and that most of that technology is not used by common citizens- and the rest goes to the bank vaults of the wealthiest countries. Also that each ounce of gold creates between 2 and 91 tons of toxic tailings."
So, we don’t want to be attacking Y given that this is completely acceptable behaviour in the world today. Biostitution is legal after all. We need to change the playing field so that this is immediately seen by one and all to be the corruption that it most certainly is.
At Los Cedros, our approaches to the Canadian government (via Australian senator Lee Rhiannon among others) seem to be bearing fruit: the Canadian Embassy expressed concern about the bad name Cornerstone is giving the other Canadian mining projects and have asked for a meeting to discuss the reports of bad business practices by the company.
We are hoping that the socialization process, which was conducted in an intimidating way, and the disruption of the comanagement process will both be investigated for violations of Canadian overseas business regulations.
When the company conducted the “Socialization Process” to get their social licence, they did so with the powerful presence of four government ministries standing with the mining company.
The government personnel supported company claims that water will be protected, forests respected etc. They also offered projects to benefit the company such as the Ministry of Industry who said that they would finance a bakery to supply Cornerstone with bread.
Add to this the pressure of having the Teniente Politco, Parroquial Police, the secret police SENAIN, ENAMI, Ministry of Mines and 5 or 6 Cornerstone representatives present, and you have 15 people supporting the company. What could the community possibly think except that they have no choice? This is a farce of democratic decision making. In reality the whole process is being forced on communites who cannot make an informed decision. It must be replayed with input from people who can explain the actual impacts of mining.
The government must be shamed for this kind of promotion of private economic interest which stinks of corruption.
As does the company employing 4 community representatives at high wages, three of whom, by “coincidence” are members of the Los Cedros comanagement organization being bribed by the company to destroy the community comanagement of the reserve