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Calle 13 defends protected areas in the Dominican Republic

Calle 13 defends protected areas in the Dominican Republic

The urban music duet was against a mining company, which would cause environmental problems in the area.

The Puerto Rican duo Calle 13 spoke in Santo Domingo in favor of declaring as a protected area the lands where the multinational Glencore has established its mining plans for the next few years in the Dominican Republic.

"We are going to toast because Loma Miranda is declared a national park", exclaimed René Pérez, vocalist of the group before the euphoria of thousands of people gathered days ago in the Olympic stadium of Santo Domingo during the first day of concerts of the Festival Presidente. The singer known as "Residente" wore a T-shirt that read "Miranda Parque Nacional" on his chest, while on his back he wore the phrase "Falcondo Out", in reference to the Dominican branch of the Glencore mining company.

"The Loma Miranda problem is an ecological issue for our planet, it does not have maps because it belongs to everyone," Residente wrote on his Twitter account after the concert.

Various environmental groups and academics, Catholic priests and political parties have demonstrated in recent years against Falcondo extracting minerals from Loma Miranda, 110 kilometers northeast of Santo Domingo, considering that it will damage biodiversity and negatively impact the generation of water in the area, whose springs irrigate the country's most important rice-growing region.

A United Nations study confirmed some of these data in 2013. David Soares, president of Falcondo, has insisted that in Loma Miranda there are no plants or animals in danger of extinction and that it has little relevance as a water generator.

The mining company acquired 1,380 hectares in Loma Miranda in 2008 and has insisted that the extraction of materials in that area represents its only alternative, since the mine that has been operating since 1971 has only about four years of useful life.

Although the bicameral Congress approved a law in August declaring the 42 square kilometers of Loma Miranda, including the Falcondo land, as a protected area, President Danilo Medina vetoed it on the grounds that it violated several articles of the constitution on rights of property and protection of foreign investment. "Do not take the press, now the good thing is coming," René Pérez asked the organizers of the Festival Presidente when they removed the photojournalists from the front of the stage, after taking photographs during the first two songs of the Calle concert 13.

It was then that Residente suggested making a toast so that Loma Miranda was declared a national park. Characterized by its songs of social content, the Puerto Rican duet has already joined popular campaigns in the Dominican Republic on other occasions, such as when in a concert in January 2011 it demanded that the government allocate for the first time and as established by law 4% from GDP to basic education.

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