Contributed by: Don WinnerNational Assembly Deputy Leopoldo Archibold who represents the comarca Ngäbe Buglé and who is a member of the Democratic Change (CD) political party admitted that both the National Assembly and the Executive have an interest to exploit mining projects in the sector. Roxana Méndez, the Minister of Government has stated the same thing as Archibold, that there is an interest in developing mining and hydroelectric projects. For Archibold, the only way the region will overcome poverty is through mining. For the Deputy from the 12-1 circuit 12-1, the reform conducted by the Electoral Tribunal to the Organic Administrative Charter of the Comarca that allows for the organization of elections for delegates is a window to extract minerals.
Environmentalists Criticized - Archibold said the Indians in the region are being misinformed. "The environmentalists are friends of the coffee industry, and in order to keep the Indians working in this sector they are being told that mining is bad," he said.
The Potential Of The Region - A report from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry reveals that actually in the region they are reviewing the records of six areas for the extraction of gold, copper, and river gravel. The study adds that the records would be to explore gold deposits.
Liborio Miranda, a spokesman for the Comarca said that if the government or the Assembly emphasizes the exploitation of mining or hydroelectric projects that would provoke a confrontation.
Environmentalist Raiza Banfield characterized Archibold's statements as irresponsible and disrespectful, for accusing them of manipulating the Indians in the region. For Banfield, there is a pressure from the Government in trying to control the ways the Ngäbe people decide issues, to make way for these industries of death and to plunder natural resources. She added that now it is very convenient to blame the environmentalists, when this has been an ancient struggle of the indigenous peoples, who see development in a different way.
The Comarca consists of an area of 6,994 square kilometers with a population of 110,000 inhabitants. There, 75% of the indigenous population of the country is concentrated. 95 out of 100 indigenous people are poor. 44% of the inhabitants of the region can not read. Only 14% reach secondary school, and there is no bilingual education. (El Siglo)
Editor's Comment: Answer - Direct payments to the people. Everyone wants to help the indigenous people leapfrog out of poverty, right? And, everyone also knows that the mineral resources are sitting under the ignorant asses of the malnourished Indians. So therefore the common sense answer is to provide direct and guaranteed payments and subsidies from the mining or hydroelectric companies, as well as the government, to build schools, roads, clinics, and the like. Most importantly, there should be a complete and total census taken, and those people who live there now should receive direct compensation - checks they can cash - from the money generated by these activities. Finally, environmentalist Raisa Banfield lives in a nice house in the reverted areas - not the jungles of Panama - and therefore she has no right to tell the residents how they should deal with these issues. Archibold hit it on the head - the way out of poverty for these people is through mining.