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Thu Jan 31, 2013, 10:16 PM

Mining companies undermine local democracy in western Colombia: NGOs .

Mining companies undermine local democracy in western Colombia: NGOs .
Thursday, 31 January 2013 00:00 Jacob Stringer

Gold mining companies are undermining local democracy by giving money to the municipalities where they operate, said a local NGO in western Colombia on Sunday.

As mining companies move into southwest Antioquia to mine for gold in the mountains, local NGOs are claiming that the money the companies give to local mayors risks usurping the functions of the government.

"They are occupying the functions of the state that shouldn't belong to private companies. The state has failed to invest in homes and schools so a company does it," Juan Carlos Castro of BIABUMA, a small farmers association in the municipality of Tamesis, told Colombia Reports.

"They co-opt the state...They give money to the municipalities for improving roads and fixing schools, as AngloGold did in Jerico, and Solvista did in Caramanta," said Castro.


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