The World vs. Open-pit Gold Mining in Costa Rica

On October 18, 2008, former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias signed an executive decree that established open-pit gold mining as an economic activity of national interest, signaling an irreversible departure from the country's sustainable development logic.

Arias' goal was to authorize Canadian Infinito Gold to resume their cyanide-based mining operations in Crucitas (San Carlos, Alajuela), paving the way to the devastation of approximately 300 hectares of Costa Rica's most diverse ecosystems. What is at stake is not just a primary rainforest harboring an estimate of 60 endangered species, but also the waters of Nicaragua's San Juan River, located just 3.2 miles (5.1 km)  away from the deposits  of cyanide used in the mining complex. Moreover, as the river connects the Lake of Nicaragua and the Caribbean Sea, what will start as a domestic environmental catastrophe in Costa Rica is likely to end in a regional crisis of both ecological and socio-political ramifications.

Current Costa Rican President, Laura Chinchilla, has the power to stop Infinito Gold's Crucitas project. However, she lacks the will to do so. Over the course of her presidency, Chinchilla has demonstrated to endorse her predecessor's environmental policies, publicly backing Infinito Gold's initiative, despite the fact that it stands as a direct violation of important international conventions such as:

  1. The Convention on Biological Diversity
  2. The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance (The Ramsar Convention)
  3. The Convention for the Conservation of the Biodiversity and the Protection of Wilderness Areas in Central America

Currently, approximately 90% of Costa Ricans disapprove the Crucitas open-pit gold mining project. Nevertheless, Chinchilla has decided to ignore the will of her people in support of Infinito Golds and other domestic private interests.

As a measure of last resort in our struggle to stop the destruction of our country's biodiversity, and, in an effort to mount the needed international pressure that will force the Costa Rican Government to act in accordance to the aforementioned conventions,  myself and five other members of the Coordinadora Ni Una Sola Mina (CNUSM) will start an indefinite fast on Friday, October the 8th, 2010, at 4:00PM (local time).

Humbly, I would like to ask for your support in helping us turn this fast into an international crusade for the preservation of Costa Rica's true treasure: its biodiversity. We have exhausted all national legal means available to us to prevent the upcoming environmental catastrophe. In the process, our highest legal authorities have been exposed as accomplices of the very private interests that pretend to destroy and poison the ecosystems of our borderlands in the name of profit and vanity.

Those of us who are fasting have made the conscious decision to put our lives at risk now that they can still save life itself. Tomorrow will be too late. However, unless we are able to turn our sacrifice into an international cause in mainstream and alternative media, our lives will wither in vain.

Please help us spread the word and raise global awareness!     


Ricardo Pravia


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