By Mario Hernandez
When we discuss the issue of mining, the productive model of Argentina is discussed. Where is gold production going in Argentina? Society has to get involved in this discussion because the production model must be changed to satisfy the needs of the population and not the profits of the companies.
MH: The idea was to interview you about the World Social Forum that was held in Porto Alegre but we were listening to an audio from Jorge, an environmentalist from the Algarrobo Assembly in Catamarca and I remember that in the last contact we had a couple of months ago you mentioned the need to discuss the production model and what seemed like a theoretical approach became part of the political agenda.
JG: It is as you are proposing it and I think we can put the 2 things together.
MH: Then I want to add something else. In June the United Nations Summit on sustainable development Rio +20 will be held and there will be talk about the “green economy” concept that we have to start explaining to people what it is about.
JG: I agree with you that the issue is structurally important. When we discuss the issue of mining, the productive model of Argentina is discussed. Where is gold production going in Argentina? It is minimally used as an input in the country, it is an export product and in general today it is demanded by speculation. Someone recently said that gold comes out of the subsoil of the earth to go to the subsoil of the banks, of the treasures in which it is kept as a speculative good. Also with oil, we must discuss our production model because in the last 20 years it has been used to super-exploit the scarce reserves without investment in exploration and to transfer a large part of the hydrocarbons abroad.
MH: I was surprised by the value of energy imports in the order of US $ 10 billion.
JG: Almost the equivalent of the trade surplus with which, be it on the side of mining, oil or even the automotive industry, which is the emblematic industry of Argentina. If the Argentine industry grows it is due to the production of automobiles. Does it make sense that Argentina produces so many cars, so much gold, so much oil?
The other question would be what type of automotive and transportation industry do we need, what type of mining and hydrocarbon industry, to promote an economy that meets the needs of the population.
A "green economy" is something like the privatization of nature
It seems to me that this is the concern of social movements worldwide, it is what was being discussed in Porto Alegre.
The United Nations, carrying out the voice of the large transnationals, is proposing a green economy that is something like the privatization of nature, it is to generate the conditions for the capital regime to disembark with total legitimacy in the exploitation of natural resources. Let's say that Rio +20 is to discuss 20 years after the Earth Summit, which was convened in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro to begin to deal with environmental issues, what achievements have there been. The truth is that there have not been, in reality, there are setbacks. The transnationals continue to pollute the environment, polluting, emitting toxic gases that affect our quality of life. Without going too far, here in Buenos Aires and looking at the temperature records in the rest of the country is crazy. It is incredible and has to do with the environmental changes produced by the production model. Society has to find out and inform itself, it is very good that the mining discussion has come because the inhabitants of the mining towns are the ones who take to the streets. It is not an intellectual who draws attention to what open-pit mega-mining means.
MH: As the government authorities want you to believe, that they are / are hippies.
JG: Indeed, a hippie who arrives on a plane from Buenos Aires, gives his opinion and leaves. I don't remember if the Governor of Catamarca or the President said it, trying to criticize the solidarity positions against mega-mining. On the contrary, it is the same peoples of the region, who suffer the consequences of mining, pollution, who see how agriculture no longer serves to supply the food needs of the local population that produces food wealth but instead has a destiny of export.
MH: And they don't leave anything because the governor of Catamarca herself recognized that in 15 years La Alumbrera left nothing. Of course, it is not her fault because she is just beginning to rule.
JG: Let's add that La Alumbrera is concluding the exploitation. Television images and photos show that only a crater remains, a large well, with which we must imagine that the projects that have begun to be developed or are in the pipeline, will mean a physical destruction of the hills, of the mountains, of the territorial space in which they are developed. I insist, it is good to generalize this debate because it is an issue that we raised in solitude and now it is part of the daily news that each one will work on it with the intentions they have, but it is good that it is processed as an important debate and that Argentine society opine.
At the world level it is the great issue because Latin America has become fully functional to the needs of international capitalism. Argentina is an exporter of oil, copper, gold, lithium, gas and a major supplier of land. China is one of the great investors in land and agricultural production in all of Latin America and we are growing a lot, but precisely because we are functional to the needs of world capitalism in crisis.
What has been being discussed in Porto Alegre between popular movements, peasants, students, women, a diverse social movement, is this environmental issue as a fundamental issue. Society has to get involved because the production model has to be changed to satisfy the needs of the population and not the profits of companies.
MH: These movements summoned the Peoples' Summit.
JG: In parallel to the official summit. As has been done in all the great summits, there is a development of alternative reflection, which is what the peoples do.
Mario hernandez. Interview with Julio Gambina on Wednesday 15th in the program "Fe de Erratas" that is broadcast from 9:00 to 10:00 on FM La Boca (90.1)