WATER OR GOLD? The Case of El Salvador at CRLN Annual Luncheon WEDNESDAY Nov. 14!
CRLN has partnered with Oxfam America to bring Salvadoran Franciscan friar, Brother Domingo Solis, as the speaker for CRLN's 2012 annual luncheon on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 from 12-2 pm at Old St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Chicago. Brother Solis is a spokesperson from the Mesa Nacional Frente a la Minería Metálica (National Working Group on Metal Mining) in El Salvador. The Mesa Nacional was recipient of the "2009 Letelier-Moffitt Human Rights Prize" presented by the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.
The Mesa Nacional has successfully mobilized the Salvadoran public to demand that Pacific Rim Mining Company be prohibited from initiating gold mining in El Salvador, since gold mining will threaten El Salvador's limited water resources. In response, Pacific Rim sued the government of El Salvador under the U.S. Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), because the Salvadoran government rejected Pacific Rim's application for a gold mining operating license.
This places El Salvador on the front line of confronting massive transnational corporate mining operations which have proliferated across the hemisphere over the last 15 years. Gold mining is among the most aggressive and environmentally-damaging types of mining operations. Gold prices have risen by shocking 420% in 10 years: from just over $250/ounce in 2002 to $1,700/ounce in 2012. This price spike has generated an unprecedented modern-day gold rush by powerful transnational corporations across the planet.
Mass scale transnational mining was the top issue among hemispheric human rights and social organizations at the May 2012 People's Summit, which met in Cartagena, Colombia, parallel to the Summit of the Americas. Alejandro Villamar, coordinator for the watchdog organization Mexico Network on Mining Impact (REMA), asserted that in the last 12 years of pro free-trade governments in Mexico, 2½ times as much gold has been mined in Mexico as was mined during the first 300 years of the Spanish Conquest. During the 2012 Ecumenical Advocacy Days, CRLN learned that 30% of Mexico's national territory is under mining exploration concession, as is 30% in Colombia and 40% in Honduras.
Because these transnational mining companies are based in the U.S. and Canada, Latin American environmental and human rights leaders have urged North American citizens to take action. Save the date! Plan to join us.