San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Hunger Strikers Get Non-Committal Response from Chinchilla on Mine

The Costa Rican government reaffirmed its position this week that it will respect the decisions of the courts regarding the controversial Crucitas open pit gold mine in northern Costa Rica.

The announcement came after three mine opponents who are on a huger strike in front of Casa Presidencial requested that the government annul the executive decree, signed by  former President Oscar Arias, which declared the project to be in the public interest. The declaration gave the mining company the right to clear forest at the mine site among other advantages.

In a letter to the strikers, Costa Rican Vice-President Alfio Piva said, “the President is  committed to and has followed through on declaring an indefinite national moratorium on all [new] gold mining projects…and has expressed that she will respect and comply with the decision of the Costa Rican courts regarding this specific case.”

The legality of the Crucitas executive decree is being weighed by Costa Rica’s Administrative Appeals Tribunal. Hearings in the case could conclude next week.

By Thursday, the remaining three hunger strikers had fasted for 13 days in front of Casa Presidencial. Since it began, 11 fasters have abandoned the strike.

 David Rojas, coordinator for the opposition group Ni Una Sola Mina (Not a single mine) said in an e-mail that “unfortunately, this isn’t the response that Costa Ricans were hoping for from their president, Laura Chinchilla.”

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