Anti-mine protesters irked at lack of publicity

Long sign at La Nación calls on the president to rescind the mining decree. Photo:Ni Una Sola Mina and Frente Norte de Oposición a la Minería

Anti-mining activists continue to protest seeking an action by President Laura Chinchilla, but they seem to be unaware that every demonstration is not successful.

Seeking more publicity, some of the protesters carried signs and took their message to the doors of the Spanish-language newspaper La Nación Monday. Meanwhile, three of their number finished up 18 days in front of Casa Presidencial on a hunger strike.

An Analysis of the News

These are the same groups that staged a successful publicity stunt by walking from Casa Presidencial in Zapote to the mine site in Cutris de San Carlos. That event got a lot of media coverage.

The recent hunger strike seems to have fallen on some deaf media ears. In fact, the protest at La Nación claimed that the newspaper was indifferent to the hunger strike. The demonstrators are irked because they did not get heavy press coverage.

Two online publications and Semanario Universidad, the Universidad de Costa Rica newspaper, have covered the hunger strike because the publications are generally in favor of the goal. El Diario Extra also has mentioned the event.

The organizations, Ni Una Sola Mina and Frente Norte de Oposición a la Minería, have been unrelenting in their press releases. But not all press releases get printed.
The problem is that the mostly student group seeks the impossible. The case involving the Las Crucitas open pit gold mine is now in court, and President Chinchilla knows that by pulling the plug on the mine would open the door to a multi-million dollar arbitration case that the country probably will lose.

The matters involved do not seem to rise to the level of human rights, an issue that launched Cuban dissident Orlando Zapata Tamayo on a fatal, 83-day hunger strike earlier in the year. Plus the hunger strikers here are taking some food. The event is more of a fast.

The remaining participants in Zapote are Rosibel Porras, Andrés Guillén and David Rojas. Specifically they seek that Ms. Chinchilla overturn the decree issued by Óscar Arias Sánchez that declared the mine to be in the national interest and of national convenience, a technical way to clear various legal hurdles.

The administration sent two brief notes to the demonstrators. But they were not the answers they wanted.

Some news people think that the fast was ill advised while the case is being heard in an administrative court.

Many in government, including Ms. Chinchilla, oppose open pit mining, but the operation already has received approval, unless the court finds a way to void the process.

The Crucitas mine is being operated by the Empresa Industrias Infinito S.A., a subsidiary of Infinito Gold Ltd. in Calgary, Canada.

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