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Monday, July 27, 2009

Bolivians resisting Iran's push for uranium

The Washington Times reports that Bolivians are resisting Iran's push for their country to sell Iran uranium for use in its nuclear program.
Indian inhabitants around Manomo, a mountain that means "sleeping man" in native Guarani, have said that its bald, rounded top glows at night. Underground mine shafts and open pits are visible at various points along the mountain's side and barren peak.

Mincruz, a Santa Cruz mining company, reported that an analysis of 280 rock samples extracted last year shows a 2.4 percent uranium content, which is considered of "high value."

Mr. Morales tried to impose military control over San Ignacio and areas surrounding Manomo by deploying 3,000 troops in May. Eduardo Cisneros, a local cattle rancher, told The Times that government officials escorted by troops broke into his property to access the mountain.

Mr. Morales said at the time that the army had been sent to fight drug trafficking. The deputy governor for San Ignacio, Aurelio Vaca, told The Times that the colonel heading the operation spoke of plans to build a large military base with an airstrip.

That resulted in daily protests in San Ignacio and adjacent towns, where mayors and civic leaders led opposition to the troop presence by calling a general strike.

The military withdrew last month when protesters clashed with troops as Mr. Morales tried to hold a rally in San Ignacio.

Mr. Vaca said the government still planned to build a city for 2,000 peasant supporters from the capital, La Paz, that it wants to resettle around San Ignacio as part of a land redistribution program.

"They would declare a new municipal government that would have jurisdiction over Manomo," Mr. Vaca said.

"This would neutralize our authority to withhold environmental permits for any further mining," said the mayor of San Ignacio, Ervin Mendez, at a recent town meeting. Loose radioactive particles could contaminate a local lake that Bolivia shares with Brazil, he said.

"My people's livelihood depends on fishing in that lake," said Antonio Suarez, a local activist. "If underground mountain streams, which feed it become contaminated, it would destroy our way of life. It's better if the mountain is left sleeping."
It sounds like Bolivian President Evo Morales, pictured above with Iranian President Ahmadinejad, is going to succeed in selling uranium to Iran. Unless someone else in the 'international community decides to stop him. I would not count on Barack Hussein Obama doing that. Evo Morales is his friend.


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