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Protests Create Change, Panama Passes Mining and Hydroelectric Law

Article Summary:

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli passed a law prohibiting mining and protecting water resources in the Ngäbe Bugle region following weeks of strong street protests which left two Indians dead and dozens arrested.

Original Article Text From Mis Finanzas en Linea via Google Translate :

Panama: Martinelli sanctions law that regulates mining and hydroelectric

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli, passed a law prohibiting mining and protecting water resources in the region Ngäbe Bugle, passed by Parliament last week after strong street protests that left two Indians dead and dozens arrested.

Call 415 law “establishes a special regime for the protection of mineral resources, water and environmental issues in the region Ngäbe Bugle” and “received the sanction of the President (…) on Monday so” is ready for enter into force after its enactment, “said an official statement.

The letter of the Communications Secretariat stressed that the special rule “brings together the consensus of the Indigenous Coordinator and the Government in a dialogue that was maintained for several weeks and took this document to the National Assembly which was passed in his three debates the Thursday March 22. ”

Negotiations between the government and indigenous leaders, with the mediation of the Catholic Church, culminating on the 16th, when the parties agreed to ban mining in the Indian region and condition hydroelectric projects in the area, which was reflected in Law 415.

The Indians demanded the prohibition of both mining and the use of hydroelectric power, and promoted it in early February street protests ended in clashes with police and protesters left two dead and dozens injured, including several law enforcement officials.

The bill approved last Thursday, “prohibits the mining (…) and provides preliminary compensation in cases of damage, disruption or transfer as consequences of hydroelectric projects in the region,” said a press release then Parliament.

It also creates a fund for the development of the region Ngäbe Bugle with contributions resulting from the 5% of annual turnover of any hydroelectric project to be developed, according to parliamentary information.

Some indigenous groups Ngäbe Bugle reject the agreement reached between the authorities of the region and the Government , because the new law allows the dams on their territories, and expressed its intention to hold street protests, which the government has warned it will not allow.

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From Mis Finanzas en Linea

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