- Published on Thursday, 19 November 2015 17:26
Republished from: CISPES
On Monday, November 9, El Salvador was host to an unusual meeting of some of the continent’s wealthiest and most influential players: former US President Bill Clinton, notorious Mexican telecom magnate Carlos Slim, and Canadian businessman Frank Giustra, who has made a career out of major investments worldwide in mining, from gold and diamonds to uranium, among other industries.
The visit was ostensibly to promote a local project of the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP), which both Giustra and Slim finance with $100 million donations. In El Salvador, the CGEP supports the so-called sustainable development work of a key local figure: Carlos Callejas, owner of the Super Selectos grocery store chain who is widely rumored to be pursuing the 2019 presidential nomination for the right-wing Nationalist Republican Alliance (ARENA) party. Clinton, Slim and Guistra’s visit to El Salvador was effectively an early campaign boost for Callejas, providing enormous publicity for the Callejas Foundation, a recipient of CGEP funding, and the Super Selectos chain, while bolstering Callejas’ image for a 2019 presidential bid.
- Published on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 23:53
Gloria Silvia Orellana - CoLatino /Translation - Marina Bonetti
The rough and wrinkled hands of Santos Armendariz are a true reflection of his age and a life dedicated to the fields, without hesitation these marked "No" on the ballot for the referendum to "defend" against metal mining in the municipality of Arcatao, Chalatenango.
Santos comes from a small valley in the canton of Teosinte, Arcatao. At 84 years of age and with health difficulties, he took most his time to approach a polling station to vote for the local government to issue a "Municipal Ordinance" prohibiting metallic mining in their municipality. "I came to vote because they (the mining company) will destroy the hills and leave me without home. For me this is not good because I will become homeless and without water, true? ... I can die shortly, but what about the little ones that are left" he reflected.
- Published on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 23:03
Successful referendum puts Municipality of Arcatao among the few official Mining-Free Territories in El Salvador
On Sunday, November 8th Arcatao became the fourth Municipality in the Department of Chalatenango to be declared a Mining-Free territory. A public referendum revealed that the large majority of the population rejects the idea of exploration and exploitation projects in its area.
Eight voting centres were set up in the different cantons of the Municipality of Arcatao, in order to make it easier for citizens living in remote locations to express their vote.
José Avelar, mayor of Arcatao, was proud to announce that 1027 votes were cast, meaning that the turnout was around 67% of the active voting population. Out of these votes, only 3 were “yes” (thus in favor of mining activities), one was a null vote, and the remaining 1023 formed a strong “no” voice. Thus the final result showed that an overwhelming 99% of the population that expressed their opinion is opposed to mining.
- Published on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 20:01
The Ministries of Economy, Environment, FIAES and the Maquilishuat foundation recently released a report on the environmental legacy and damages to health caused by mining operations abandoned 100 years ago in the eastern part of the country.
The report found nine negative environmental impacts generally present in the 15 mines studied. Impacts were defined as “events that have already occurred, observed and documented to have adverse effects on natural and social environment directly or indirectly related to mining”:
- Published on Wednesday, 11 November 2015 19:27
Antonia Recinos - ADES/Radio Victoria
On Thursday October 22, the National Roundtable against Metallic Mining-MNFM and representatives of various communities and social organizations gathered outside the offices of the World Bank in San Salvador to express their firm opposition to metallic mining projects and to send a message to the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes, ICSID which is part of the World Bank and where el Salvador is being sued for $301 million for not granting a mining licence. The law suit was launched by Pacific Rim, now OceanaGold, in 2009. In October 2014, the final arguments were heard by the panel but to date the final decision is unknown.
- Published on Friday, 30 October 2015 08:54
By Marvin Diaz: Gato Encerrado - Translation: P. Cabezas
Various social organizations in collaboration with the Municipality of Arcatao, Chalatenango, unveiled a plan for the fourth referendum on metal mining to be held on November 8 this year. The consultation aims to get public support to adopt an environmental ordinance that prohibits mining in the municipality.
Jose Avelar, Mayor of Arcatao, spoke about the problems and the deterioration of the environment diverse communities in El Salvador are living due to past mining practices. "We are convinced that San Salvador consumes water from the hills of Chalatenango and if mining becomes a reality in our municipalities, the first affected will surely be the people of San Salvador and our communities," said the mayor.
The official lamented the poor decisions of previous governments that extended permits to Canadian mining companies to exploit these resources. "We are paying for bad decision made by previous governments. If governments had consulted the public before making a decision to authorize exploration permits in the country, we would not have the mining problem, "said Avelar.