- Published on Tuesday, 02 February 2016 19:32
Janet Redman: Foreign Policy in Focus
A Canadian oil conglomerate is suing the U.S. over its actions to protect the climate. It’s a small taste of what could come under the TPP.
A few years back, I was one of the hundreds of climate activists arrested while protesting the Keystone XL pipeline outside the White House. So when the president finally pulled the plug on the project last November, it felt like a huge victory — symbolic, maybe, but definitely worth a trip to the booking station.
In the new global economy, however, no victory is safe. I thought back to Miguel.
I met Miguel Rivera in 2009. He and four fellow activists were being honored with the Institute for Policy Studies’ Letelier-Moffitt human rights award for their leadership in El Salvador’s fight against toxic gold mining. Under massive public pressure, the government had agreed to a five-year moratorium on new gold mining permits and was considering the world’s first permanent ban.
- Published on Tuesday, 02 February 2016 17:58
Alexandra Endres: Zeit online / Translation: Marina Bonetti
El Salvador sits on a rich gold deposit – and wants to leave it in the ground, in order to protect its drinking water. The investor sues: a test of strength for the young democracy.
“End poverty, Not Democracy!” Demonstrators protest in front of the World Bank building in Washington, against the arbitration tribunal process of Pacific Rim vs. El Salvador.
Any day now a verdict could be reached in Washington that will decide over the future of a whole country. The plaintiff: Pacific Rim, a Canadian mining company, which does not exist anymore. The court: an arbitration tribunal of the World Bank. The defendant: El Salvador, a little Central American country maltreated by violence. It is about a rich gold deposit – and on the question, whether a poor country like El Salvador should venture to ban its exploitation, for the sake of the environment. The majority of Salvadorans would do it.
- Published on Thursday, 07 January 2016 23:38
As the world celebrated the conclusion of the COP21 talks in Paris, the somber mood in the community of La Maraña, in the northern department of Cabañas of El Salvador, hardly echoes the cheerful worldwide fetes.
A few days after the signing of the of the accord in December, members of mining affected communities in one of the countries most affected by climate change, have gathered to commemorate the 6th anniversary of the gruesome murder of environmental activists who opposed a gold mining project in their community.
“We are here to denounce the incompetence of the Salvadorean Government for failing to investigate and prosecute these crimes,” states Domingo Miranda, president of La Maraña´s Environmental Association.
- Published on Thursday, 07 January 2016 20:10
Xenia Gonzales Oliva: El Diario de Hoy / Translation P. Cabezas
Between 2000-2010, 49 exploration permits were approved, they are all currently under an administrative freeze.
49 applications for metal and non-metal mining are currently frozen even though the Regulatory Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines of the Ministry of Economy authorized some in the past decade.
Between 2000 and 2010, the office received 95 applications for mining projects; 92 were for exploration permits and three for exploitation.
Most are located in the departments of La Union, San Miguel, Morazán and Cabañas. There were also requests for Santa Ana and Chalatenango.
- Published on Sunday, 03 January 2016 18:20
*Oliver Ristau: Frankfurter Rundschau / Translation: Marina Bonetti
“No to mining. Yes to life”: after the mass, the priest stands above an anti-mining mural together with church servants and believers, waving.
El Salvador is worried about environmental damages, and therefore bans the mining of raw materials. A Canadian company files a lawsuit before an international court of arbitration in Washington due to lost profits
Water is not supposed to be orange, not even in El Salvador. But, in the town of San Sebastian, in the Eastern part of the small Central American country, it is. Gustavo Blanco uses a stick to stir the water up the stream that has dyed in red the originally gray pebbles. It splashes idyllically, and that is all of nature's romance. The stream flows from an old gold mine, where Blanco’s father once worked – uphill, a few meters beyond the stream grow dense rows of corn.
- Published on Sunday, 03 January 2016 18:00
* Rachel Nadelman: Aula Blog
El Salvador’s refusal to allow gold mining within its borders sets it apart from most other Latin American countries, but the mining suspension is far from permanent. Since 2007, three successive presidents, from both the right-wing ARENA and left-wing FMLN parties, have maintained an administrative metals mining “industry freeze.” This executive action has created a de-facto moratorium that prevents all mining firms – international and Salvadoran, public and private – from accessing El Salvador’s estimated 1.4 million ounces of gold deposits. Some in the Salvadoran media trumpet this policy. When former U.S. President Bill Clinton made a philanthropic visit to El Salvador earlier this month, a number of news stories fixated on one of his travel companions: Canadian mining magnate Frank Guistra. Some media slammed Guistra as “persona non grata in El Salvador.” They showcased his billion-dollar global mining investments, labeling him (incorrectly) a major shareholder in Oceana Gold, the Australian company suing El Salvador for $284 million for having denied the firm a license to mine.