In particular, Yepez says that Crystallex (the Canadian gold miner) has been waiting for several years to start up the Las Cristinas project and, when he was chairman of the Municipal Council, he had facilitated that the company should get the required permits to operate, and had been willing to give them every other assistance. "We know that it is massive undertaking to begin with, that it will require large amounts of manpower and that it will generate important regional economic development ... but, unfortunately, at this stage the company has still not received the permits to start Las Cristinas and I do not know what is happening!"
Professor Omelio Head, former mayor of Sifontes municipality says "Crystallex has confirmed that (the Las Cristinas project) is within the framework of strategic enterprises, and should, just the same as other transnationals be well within the administrative context that President Hugo Chavez has outlined. We should see that privately-owned businesses have a very important role to play in our development process."
"It is high time now that the government should grant all the permits to Crystallex for them to start-up the Las Cristinas project. Here in Venezuela we have undertaken a long process to stimulate comprehensive development ... if the government believes that Crystallex is part of that development, the south (of Bolivar State) will come out the winner!"
Minera del Sur (Southern Miners) union representative Paul Zambrano, Antonio Rivas and Themo Fajardo, the Bolivar state cooperative director, feel that the Las Cristinas project must be made a reality since it has complied with all permit requirements ... just the same as other large projects like Las Brisas del Cuyuni in Las Claritas ... not to speak of the thousands of unemployed miners who are waiting for these two projects to start-up and give them much-needed jobs.
Roy S. Carson
Venezuela is facing the most difficult period of its history with honest reporters crippled by sectarianism on top of rampant corruption within the administration and beyond, aided and abetted by criminal forces in the US and Spanish governments which cannot accept the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people to decide over their own future.
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