October 1, 2011
Dear Lawmakers, it is with civil conscious and solidarity with Mr. Chuck Blakeman that I offer the argument of this text. Thank you for your deepest consideration and solution to same.
A company in the United States that is co-owned by Chuck Blakeman, an American social entrepreneur, and a Congolese tribal Chief, has committed to create sustainable economies in the Congo by exporting minerals and leaving a significant portion of the profits local, something no other company has ever done. They also will build potable water projects, clinics, and schools with the profits, and create training certifications for local business owners to learn how to run businesses.
They will also fund these businesses and believe they can solve systemic poverty in the DR Congo in 5-10 years.
But now an obscure provision tucked into the Dodd-Frank Act could be jeopardizing much of this and is already hurting hundreds of thousands of Congolese and putting some in immediate danger of death.
We need to repeal this obscure 1502 provision from the Dodd-Frank Act – will you help us?
The Problem – The Dodd-Frank Act Provision 1502
The recent Dodd-Frank Act has had a terrible affect in the Congo. A provision (1502) in the bill requires all companies in America to disclose if their products use minerals from the Congo, and to create a trail of paperwork and outside audits to prove they did not create profits for criminal militias. As a result of the unintended stigma this has created, the mineral trade for central Africa has evaporated in the last few weeks, creating an effective mineral embargo of the entire region. Thousands are being devastated by Dodd-Frank.
The Negative Effect
Chucks private company has been lauded by Chiefs throughout the Congo for our commitment to export minerals above board and for our desire to build local potable water projects, clinics and schools.
Because of the stigma surrounding Dodd-Frank, only the Criminals are benefiting now.
One tribe dug and stored tons of coltan over the last two years without pay simply because they did not want to sell it to war lords. Chuck was supposed to meet these chiefs in Africa next week to export the first of a 20 year contract for monthly shipments. But because of the stigma attached to Dodd-Frank, no buyers can be found, leaving starvation or criminalized sales as the options for these chiefs. The 20 year contract would create job stability with certain futures for people who have never had it.
The Nuclear Option is Not Acceptable
Our company was stepping into the legitimacy gap, but the U.S. government and very well-meaning activists have created what we see as a nuclear option.
The Main Argument Against Dodd-Frank – The Nuclear Option Is Not Acceptable
People decry the use of a drone-launched precision attack missile because its possible at least one innocent bystander might be affected. Then why is it perfectly acceptable to employ a nuclear option in the Congo that affects 100% of all the innocents, in order to root out the militia?
This all-inclusive collateral damage strategy must be stopped. Hundreds of thousands have lost their meager living or are being forced to now sell to the very militias Dodd-Frank wants to punish. The innocent are the only ones being hurt – the militia will get their money, even if not through minerals. One woman said, I used to tend my fields, but every woman who farms gets raped regularly by the militia. My only safe job is in the mines. I dont know what I will do now.
Hundreds of thousands of people are suffering right now in the DR Congo as a direct result of this Dodd-Frank provision. Please help us correct it immediately and stop this nuclear option. 100% collateral damage to the innocent is simply not acceptable under any circumstance.
Please drop this devastating provision from the Dodd-Frank bill. It is killing people right now.