On December 26, the inhabitants of the Mendoza province of Argentina won a victory, when the provincial government announced the suspension of the modifications in the Law 7722 that opened the doors to the extractive industry in the province.
In a press conference in the afternoon, the governor of Mendoza, Rodolfo Suárez, announced that he had decided to suspend the law and called for a dialogue with the opposing sectors.
However, Suárez defended the modifications and said that “it is a lie that where there is a mining exploitation, there is pollution.” He also said that he would try to convince society for it and, if necessary, would call for a compulsory referendum.
Following the governor’s announcement, the inhabitants celebrated their first victory that came after 6 days of massive anti-mining mobilizations, but continued their struggle. In the evening, thousands of protesters gathered at the Plaza Independence and demonstrated with drums demanding an absolute abolition of the modifications. The demonstration continued till late at night.
The province of Mendoza has been suffering from water crisis for more than 11 years. The Law 7722 is aimed at the comprehensive protection of the water resources of the province. The law prohibits the use of cyanide and sulfuric acid, among other chemical substances, in mining operations to save the scarce resource from getting polluted.
On December 20, the Mendoza Legislature approved the modifications in Law 7722. Since December 21, the tens of thousands of inhabitants have been protesting in defense of water and against the legislative decision across the province. The inhabitants and environmentalists have warned the modifications will allow the operation of over 16 mining projects and will contaminate water, air and soil of the region.
âDo not touch Law 7722â Photo: Notas Periodismo Popular