Anti-mine hunger strikers dwindle to just one person

Hunger strikers protesting the open pit gold mine at Cutris de San Carlos now number just one.

David Rojas Monge, who has been protesting the project since Oct. 8, went to a clinic Monday suffering form dehydration.

The Laura Chinchilla administration has said all along that it opposes such operations but that operators of the current project would bring an international arbitration action if the government halted it now. In addition, the mine project is now in court.

Protesters want Ms. Chinchilla to withdraw a decree issued by Óscar Arias Sánchez that said the mine was in the national interest. The Arias administration saw the operation as a way to bring jobs to northern Costa Rica.

Since the mine project started more than 10 years ago, the price of gold has risen dramatically. Consequently and
international arbitration panel would be asked to award a huge sum. Administration officials talk about $700 million for canceling the project.

The Las Crucitas project is operated by a local subsidiary of a Canadian mining firm.

Spokespersons for the protesters outside Casa Presidencial have been bombarding newspapers, radio stations and television outlets with daily reports and also scheduling press conferences in an effort to gain publicity.

Physicians said that Rojas suffered from low blood pressure and an elevated pulse as a result of his 25 days of fast. Remaining at Casa Presidencial is a protester identified as Andrés Guillén.

The media barrage is having some effect. A Cartago university came out in support of the protesters Monday as did Lisbeth Quesada Tristán, the former defensora de los habitantes. She likened the two men to Mahatma Gandhi and said they were heroes.

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