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Co-Operation and Conflict between Firms, Communities, New Social Movements and the Role of Government: The Cerro de San Pedro Case

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Vargas-Hernández, José G.
Conference: Survival of the Commons: Mounting Challenges and New Realities, the Eleventh Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bali, Indonesia
Conf. Date: June 19-23, 2006
Date: 2006
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/970
Sector: Social Organization
Region: Central America & Caribbean
Subject(s): IASC
conflict--case studies
cooperation--case studies
social movements--case studies
NGOs--case studies
governance and politics--case studies
citizen participatory management--case studies
political behavior--case studies
state and local governance--case studies
Abstract: "The aim of this paper is to analyze relationships of cooperation and conflict between a mining company and the involved communities, New Social Movements and the three levels of government. The mining company begun operations for an open pit mine of gold and silver supported by officials from the local, state and federal government. The inhabitants of these communities supported by environmental groups and NGOs argue that the project will pollute sources of fresh water besides of perturbing the environment and the ecology of the region. "The presence of the mining company (MSX) in Cerro de San Pedro has caused a severe social conflict among the inhabitants of San Pedro, Soledad y San Luis and has called the attention of all who are concerned by historic heritage, cultural and environmental issues. At the center of the controversy is the cheap and efficient technology. Federal and state Laws were violated. It is quite evident the lack of sensitivity of foreign mining companies toward the consequents of their activities upon the communities and environment. This case also shows the lack of negotiation between firms, communities, new social movements and governments. "Information about externalities and future costs of company activities is crucial but more crucial is formulation and implementation of more sensitive policies to avoid damage of the environment, biodiversity and health of population. Governmental institutions must be aware that their decisions may affect the community quality of life of actual and future generations only for a small increment in economic growth and large increase in private benefits of a small group of investors. "More informed citizens tend to be more active protestors, such as the case of the students in San Luis. Contact between informed individuals of diverse groups and organizations help to exchange experiences and create public opinion in favor of mobilizations. Community participation and involvement in decision making of community development planning is quite limited by the lack of critical information. This fact is critical when the local government cannot provide the right information because there are other interests affecting the process."

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