Informal miners strike in Colombia

Small-scale gold and emerald miners in Colombia launched a strike Feb. 18, blocking roads at several points across the central department of Antioquia. The strike was called off Feb. 21 when the government agreed to open dialogue on implementation of the new Decree 0276, which mandates that all informal mining operations apply for license with the National Mining Agency's Unified Marketers Registry (RUCOM). Luz Stella Ramírez, leader of the National Miners Confederation of Colombia (Conalminercol), called for the "formalization" of small-scale operations with "repect for the people" engaged in the activity. She also called for the overturn of the "terrorist decree" 2235, promulgated in 2012, which empowered the National Police to destroy mining camps and equipment without an individual judicial order. (El Universal, Cartagena, Vanguardia, Bucaramanga, Feb. 21; La Patria, Manizales, Feb. 19; Cronica del Quindio, Feb. 18; Desde Abajo, Feb. 18; Colombiano, Medellín, Feb. 17)