Mining activities in Latin America have increased significantly in recent years. In general, Latin American countries have seen an increase in conflicts due to the social and biological impacts of extractive projects. Mining activity generates irreversible impacts on the ecosystems and social environments in which it takes place. Most of these impacts are negative for local communities and have generated conflicts that have increased in number and intensity. Most governments in the region support mining activities, which are mostly developed by transnational companies. Government support takes the form of loosening regulatory frameworks, tax reductions, reduced environmental controls and other facilities for mining companies.
The Iglesias y Minería network, with the Divestment Campaign and the Eco-Spirituality Community, launched the Virtual Caravan initiative (“Caravana Virtual“). The initiative offers a monthly itinerary. During these gatherings, technical analysis based on reports on human and environmental rights violations by extractive economies will be carried-out. From August to December, five different virtual meetings will be held to listen and connect with the feelings and struggles of the protagonists in the territories.
The first session of the Virtual Caravan was held on August 24. The main theme was the right of access to water. The struggle for water is the struggle for life. The tour started in Chile, with the community of Melón and the Mapuche people, and continued in Argentina, with the community of Jáchal. It was an occasion to feel, reflect and generate unity to confront the extractivist economic model through resistance and organization.
The aim of this initiative is to give continuity to the caravan held in April and May 2022. A few months ago, a Latin American Caravan of community organisers and religious leaders from the Iglesias y Minería network embarked on an European lobby tour. Their purpose was to spread awareness of their struggle against extractivism and hold meetings with Members of the European Parliament, policy-makers, faith leaders and allies such as CIDSE.
The Virtual Caravan represents a concrete opportunity to listen, contemplate and raise the faith of communities to the challenges of achieving a true integral ecology. The Iglesias y Minería Network was motivated by communities martyred by mining violence and other forms of abusive extractivism. Their purpose is to denounce the human rights violations that are experienced as a result of the imposition of an extractivist agenda that does not stop in Latin America.
About Iglesias y Minería
The Iglesias y Minería Network is an ecumenical space, made up of Christian communities, pastoral teams, religious congregations, theological reflection groups, lay people, bishops and pastors who seek to respond to the challenges of the impacts and violations of socio-environmental rights caused by mining activities in the territories where we live and work.
Cover photo credit: Iglesias y Minería.