Science and the minister

On Friday, we learned that President Luis Arce includes in his cabinet someone who is believed to be immune to mercury. This is the Minister of Environment and Water, Rubén Méndez. I conclude that he is the only one among humans who has this supernatural power. His testimony defies science.

“Someone said: I am 66 years old and I have no symptoms of mercury, and I believe him because I am from Potosi and 500 years of Potosi’s life used mercury in silver and gold,” he said at an event titled: “Gold Mining: Mercury Under Research.” Mercury continues to flow through rivers in Streets of Potosi when it rains.

I conclude that this “person” is himself, and I point this out to express that despite his contact with this harmful chemical element, he is still alive and well. With this statement, I nullify the purpose of the event, which I believe is entitled to cast doubt on the use of mercury in exploiting gold due to its harm to the environment and the human body.

According to Ruben Mendez’s belief, a town could be exposed to mercury for 500 years and its residents would not feel any impact on their health. His words were a call to gold mining cooperatives to continue poisoning the water, the environment and every living being.

To give force to his message, he pointed to a vulnerable group and spoke in the first person: “The children of Potosi continue to collect mercury in bottles to sell. I don’t know if they are sick. “I lived in front of the mine, I came from the mining camps and I played with mercury.”.

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The words used by the Minister reveal premeditation and a planned goal: to deny scientific research that has proven the pollution affecting indigenous peoples from the consumption of fish infected with mercury in the Beni and Madre de Dios rivers.

Mendez’s words are not loose, they are contextualized with five facts:

  1. Scientific studies that he promotes Center for Documentation and Information of Bolivia (CEDIB). Center for Legal Studies and Social Research (CEGIS) They experienced contamination In persons belonging to indigenous communities: An Egas, Tsimanes, Musitinis, Leko, Ochobiamona and Takana. The Universidad Mayor de San Andrés (UMSA) validated these findings.
  2. This research generated a stream of opinions opposing gold cooperatives that used mercury without limits. For this reason, a large part of the community considers them responsible for environmental damage in Madidi and other protected areas.
  3. Last May, Arce’s government approved the so-called “gold law” that allows the Bolivian central bank to sell 22 tons of the 43 tons the state holds in reserves. This rule also enables the Brazilian Central Bank to buy gold produced by gold miners and sell it on international markets to obtain dollars.
  4. Roger Cuata, executive director of the Federation of Gold Mining Cooperatives in Bolivia, warned on August 10 that his sector would not sell gold to the Brazilian Central Bank until the legislature approved a bill creating a unified tax system for the sector (4, 5%). Additionally, he threatened to close roads if this rule was not approved by August 21.
  5. On August 21, President Luis Arce received leaders The National Federation of Mining Cooperatives of Bolivia (Fencomin) at the new government palace and committed to meeting their demands, including: ensuring operational stability of mineral, metal and non-metallic exploitation activities. I think they also talked about the bill Kuata mentioned and the sale of gold to the Brazilian Central Bank.
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The facts described lead us to believe that the Minister said what he said in support of the members of the cooperative. His words contained a message: Brothers, you can continue to use mercury and poison rivers; You’re right, environmentalists (mostly young) are wrong, they don’t know what to say.

Mendes believed that his position (Minister of Environment and Water) gave him power over science, and because he was a minister the majority would believe him. Although he retracted the same day, the words he used confirmed his denialist stance and tendency to destroy the environment. Blaming journalists by suggesting that his statement was taken out of context reveals an official who is oblivious to self-criticism.

Rubén Méndez cannot continue as Minister of the Environment because he chose mercury between Pachamama and mercury. He is not suitable for the position because between water for the Bolivians and poison he chose poison.

Arce has to choose between Rubén Méndez and the one who cultivates reason and science; Between Mendez and someone who considers man an end in himself; Between Mendez, a science denier and a person who applies knowledge for the advancement of humanity.

The president must choose between Mendez and the person who feels the effects of mercury in his body. Only an ordinary person will sympathize with the victims of mercury, a phenomenon that does not feel the way indigenous people feel. Rubén Méndez can continue to play with mercury, but the president must not allow him to play with the lives of Bolivians.

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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