Dominican Republic: judge blocks cement factory in victory for peasant ecologists

On June 19 Judge Sarah Enríquez Marín of the Administrative Litigation Court of the National District (Santo Domingo) ordered the Consorcio Minero Dominicano mining company to suspend construction of a cement factory it was building near the town of Gonzalo, in Sabana Grande de Boyá municipality in the northeastern Dominican province of Monte Plata. She issued the order in relation to a complaint the United Communities Movement of Peasant Workers (MCCU) and the environmental group Espeleogrupo had filed on May 20 against the Environment Ministry charging that the ministry had granted Consorcio Minero Dominicano the license for the plant illegally.

Judge Enríquez Marín cited possible damage to the environment as her reason for ordering the suspension and gave the plaintiffs 30 days to substantiate their complaint. The company’s lawyers said they would appeal. (El Nuevo Diario, Dominican Republic, June 19; La Opinión, Los Angeles, June 20 from El Diario-La Prensa, NY))

The factory site is near Los Haitises National Park, the second largest source of natural water in the country. Environmentalists and area residents have been protesting the plant for months, charging that it will displace local campesinos and degrade the water supply. Residents of Gonzalo celebrated the judge’s decision, as did youths who have maintained an encampment near the site since May 16. Lawyers indicated that the suspension, although temporary, has set a legal precedent. (El Panorama Diario, Dominican Republic, June 20)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 21

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