Yesterday I helped deliver a letter to the Canadian Embassy here in Washington, DC, about the lawsuit against the Central American country of El Salvador, by Pacific Rim Mining Corporation. The letter was coordinated by the Institute for Policy Studies and signed by Friends of the Earth, Center for International Environmental Law, Public Citizen, Sierra Club Greenpeace, Earth Island Institute and Foundation Earth (along with Earthworks).
Pacific Rim is a Canadian mining company exploring for gold in the mineral rich mountains of El Salvador. It is no surprise to geologists that Pacific Rim believes they can strike it rich there. Billions of dollars rich.
Sad and sobering news out of El Salvador today. Juan Francisco Duran Ayala a student activist involved in anti-mining campaigns in his community was found dead, having been shot twice execution style in the head. Ayala had been missing since June 3rd. Friends and neighbors said the last time he was seen was while he was posting up anti-mining posters in opposition of Vancouver-based Pacific Rim Mining Corporation s El Dorado gold mine in Caba as.
Pacific Rim has been embattled in a legal fight with the El Salvadorian government over the necessary environmental permits to continue their El Dorado mining operations. In fact, Pacific Rim has sued the country for $77 million dollars, claiming their rights under CAFTA have been broken. It s no wonder Pacific Rim is putting up such a fight with local communities and the federal government. Pacific Rim stands to make over $191 million in just 6 years.
Caba as environmental movement as well as the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining (the Mesa) are very concerned about a recent wave of death threats and crimes against members of El Salvador s anti-mining movement as well as other violent crimes recently committed in Caba as. Similar crimes in 2009 that went uninvestigated, including robberies, kidnappings, and death threats against members of Radio Victoria, ADES, ASIC, and the CAC all active organizations in Caba as mining resistance were a prelude to the murders of three activists, Marcelo Rivera, Ramiro Rivera and Dora Alicia Sorto Recinos. Please read more in-depth reports here.
Therefore, our allies are extremely concerned that the on-going state of impunity not only encourages the recent threats and crimes but could lead to more violence and murders in the near future.