President Gustavo Petro accused the Clan del Golfo on Monday of manipulating the needs of the “mining population” who have been protesting for weeks in the Bajo Cauca region, where they have staged violent actions.
“The entire territory has been the object of violence these days by the Clan del Golfo, which manipulates the needs of the mining population, subjecting them even with their own hunger, with needs that are growing more and more at this time to a kind of confinement. population,” Petro said after a security council in the municipality of Caucasia, located in the region.
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The president assured that the miners are instrumentalized “to save” the “great illegal mining that, based on gold, is laundering assets and dollars that come from drug trafficking activity, with a destruction of the territory that could not be described as more than terrifying.”
On Sunday, The Government suspended the bilateral ceasefire that had been in force since the beginning of the year with the Clan del Golfoafter accusing that gang of attacking the Police and instigating the mining strike that has the northwest of the country in check.
The reason given is an “attack with a rifle on the available force of the Police by the Clan del Golfo,” but the Colombian government had been blaming this group, heir to the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), for instigating the mining strike in Bajo Cauca, which affects parts of the departments of Antioquia and Córdoba.
As part of these actions, four trucks and two public transport buses were set on fire on highways in the region over the weekend, according to the Antioquia governor, Aníbal Gaviria.
For this reason, Petro rejected “any act of violence” and said that the public force “today has the order in all its weapons to take over the territory and not abandon it.”
Faced with what happened during the strike and the claims of the miners, Petro assured this Monday that a “mining district” will be built, which will also be “agrarian and productive.”
For this, all the lands owned by the Special Assets Society (SAE) and the Victims Unit will be used “at the service of the peasantry and the victims of the territory to produce food.”
The idea, likewise, is that “small miners can own their own machinery, even through the legal transformation of the mining code.”
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Petro hopes that “small-scale mining has all the financial and technological support that allows this ancestral activity in these lands to no longer depredate human beings and the environment, and can be the real basis of wealth that has to remain in the region”.
The president also convened a National Mining Summit to take a census of machinery and formalize “small-scale mining activity, even with title, if possible, so that small-scale mining cooperatives can empower themselves in this territory.”
“We will start this activity so that the gold does not belong to the big dollar launderers and drug traffickers, but rather to the population that inhabits the territory, without a doubt,” he said.