... the "Caravan of Life" is moving on.
La Serena, Landau, March 19, 2022.
In the legal dispute whether the rejection of the "Dominga Project" due to insufficient consideration of the conditions of a sensitive ecosystem was legitimate, the 3rd Chamber of the Corte Suprema wanted to avoid a judgement and initiated a settlement. The first hearings took place at the end of November last year and were to be continued on March 16 (see also article "Would you mind 10 percent more destruction").
... the "Caravan of Life" is moving on. Before the date of the settlement, Alianza Humboldt called upon the citizens of the municipalities of Chañaral de Aceituno, Punta de Choros, Los Choros, La Higuera, Chungungo and Caleta Los Hornos to a "Caravan for Life - No to a settlement with Dominga" on March 12 to demonstrate together in La Serena. Not entirely unusually, the opposing party responded with an attempt to manipulate. Without prior notice, Yerko Galleguillos, mayor of La Higuera, introduced a motion for a legally non-binding citizen poll on the controversial mining and port project to the municipal council and saw to it that it was passed. The poll was scheduled for the "Day of the Caravan".
... the "Caravan for Life" is moving ... . Since the citizens' poll does not meet the criteria of the municipal regulation for citizen participation, it was irregular. Therefore, 20 organizations (Note 2) called for a boycott of the vote and in turn requested a decent citizens' poll. A regular vote that complies with the regulations in terms of organization (keeping of deadlines, announcement, polling stations in each community, neutral election workers) and preparation (2 informative events with the participation of experts) and ensures an effective distribution of the arguments of all interested parties.
... the "Caravan for Life" ... . On March 12, from all the coastal villages and La Higuera the caravan drove in a rally to La Serena. There, more than 400 people gathered in the Plaza de Armas to raise their voices against the controversial Dominga project, singing and dancing.
The governor of the Coquimbo region, Krist Naranjo, stated among other things that "the conciliation procedure should not have been carried out because there is a lot of scientific information that shows that this project should not be carried out." She also referred to the joint work with the governor of Atacama to promote a "marine protected zone with different uses" in this marine region."
The representative Daniel Manouchehri referred to the Dominga project as being "linked to death and corruption."
The city councillor of La Higuera, Oscar Avilez, appealed to the court to "listen to science that says Dominga is a catastrophic project that will leave behind an ecological disaster."
Tamara Gaymer and Carolina Bahamondes, secretary and spokesperson for MODEMA, as well as Rodrigo Flores, leader and fisherman from Punta de Choros, also strongly rejected the "Dominga settlement": "We will not rest, this fight will continue until our homeland will be protected."
Jaime Arqueros, representative of the fishermen of Chungungo, addressed the participants very emotionally: "It is not possible to settle on a project that is a national disgrace. A settlement in the Dominga case would be tantamount to legalizing corruption and manipulation by environmental institutions and courts."
After the speeches regional bands played and cultural associations presented dances. Finally, the participants made a protest march through the center of La Serena.
... the "Caravan for ...". As expected, Dominga supporters celebrated the citizens' poll as a great success. A huge majority, 96% of citizens (725 votes out of a total of 827) are in favor of the mining and port project. They concealed the fact that only 18% (827 out of 4,505 voters) had cast their ballots. That means only 17% actually approved the implementation of the project, while 82% responded to the call for a boycott or did not vote for other reasons. Fishermen's associations, Chango communities, drinking water associations, small farmers, social and environmental organizations therefore pointed out that the citizens' poll was not only irregular, but also failed to find a majority for the controversial project.
... the "Caravan...". On Wednesday, March 16, the 3rd Chamber of the Supreme Court announced that there will be no further settlement talks. According to the Corte Suprema, there is "no possibility for the parties to reach an agreement."
In April 2021, the 1st Environmental Court in Antofagasta had upheld a lawsuit filed by Andes Iron and ordered a new vote by the Environmental Assessment Commission of the Coquimbo Region. This gave the green light for the Dominga project. Subsequently, various environmental groups such as the non-governmental organizations FIMA, Oceana, Modema and the Association of Fishermen and Shellfish Farmers of Los Choros appealed to the Supreme Court. After the failure of the settlement, the Corte Suprema will now have to issue a verdict.
Translated by Angelika Veelken
The article summarizes the publications of the Alianza Humboldt of March 9 / 11 / 13 / 15 and 17 and the newspaper El Día, La Serena. SPHENISCO is a founding member of the Alianza Humboldt.
1. Professional Association of Chungungo Fishermen
2. Independent Workers Union La Cruz de Chungungo
3. Rural Drinking Water Committee of Chungungo
4.Professional Association of Shellfish Collectors and Fishermen of Los Choros.
5. Association of Agricultural Small Traders of Los Choros.
6. Agricultural Cooperative of Olive Growers of Los Choros.
7. Neighborhood Council No. 3 of Los Choros
8. Social and Sports Association Victoria de Los Choros
9. Neighborhood Council No. 8 of Punta de Choros
10. Rural Drinking Water Supply Committee of Punta de Choros
11. Indigenous Community Changa Juana Vergara and Family of Punta de Choros
12. Cultural and Social Grouping of the Chango People of Punta de Choros
13. Organization for the Development and Promotion of Tourism in Punta de Choros
14. Movement for the Defense of the Environment - MODEMA of La Higuera
15. CULTRUCCION - Sociocultural and Sports Organization Caleta Los Hornos
16. Association of the Fishermen Guild of Punta de Choros
17. Camanchakas Movement Group of Caleta Los Hornos
18. Resistance La Higuera
19. La Tribu de Mujeres del Llano de Los Choros (Women's Association of the Los Choros Plain)
20. Advisory Board of the National Reserve for the Humboldt Penguin