Community & Indigenous Resistance to Harmful Gold Mining in Guatemala & Honduras

UPDATES – May 13, 2010

Special thanks to Tito Medina for bringing music to this talk (click here to see Tito’s performance) and Ramsey Hart for translating our speakers’ presentations from Spanish to English.  Also joining us in this talk were Francois Guindon from NISGUA and Feliciano Orellana, a former employee of Goldcorp subsidiary Entre Mares working in the Cerro Blanco Mine, Goldcorp’s second large mine in Guatemala.

Carlos Amador:
Another world is possible only if we work together
Borders are dividing us … Conscious men and women shouldn’t let borders divide us …
Borders are for Capitalism

Highlights:

  • Canadian government is pressuring the new Honduran government following the coup to open its arms more widely to the investments of Canadian mining companies
  • The current prime minister of Canada is a big friend of the mining companies
  • With the opening of new investments in mining, we are facing a new form of colonization
  • 90 mining concessions in 80 counties (in Honduras) are owned by Canadian mining companies
  • Canadian Pension Plan has $500 million dollars invested in Goldcorp Inc.
  • Our problems are your problems … we have the moral and ethical obligations to fight for the dignity of people, therefore we should unite ourselves
  • Public funds from Canada are going towards companies that are damaging human rights, are violating the fundamental right, that is right to life, for instance, in Guatemala
  • Near Marlin mine in Guatemala 120 homes have been damaged because of the effects of explosion used to blast the rocks out of the pit, 80 streams have dried out, the river below the mine is contaminated …
  • When a mining company arrives, it often creates conflict, divides communities, tears apart the social fabrics that tie people together
  • Over 1 million people in 42 different communities across the country (Guatemala) don’t want mining in their territories
  • In the area of Marlin mine (Guatemala), 24 communities have sent a clear message that they don’t want the activities of Goldcorp to continue
  • The ILO (International Labour Organization) said all mining operations in Guatemala should be suspended because the mining companies have violated the right to free, prior, informed consent of Indigenous communities.

What to do:

Write to Canadian Pension Plan, one of Goldcorp’s investors, to stop investing in Goldcrop and REALLY exercise socially responsible investing:

Canada Pension Plan
John H Butler, 416 868-1171, One Queen St. East, Suite 2600, Toronto ON, M5C-2W5 — $349,000,000 of shares in Goldcorp as of March 2010
CANADA PENSION PLAN Investment Board: csr@cppib.ca, 416-868-4075, Toll Free: 1-866-557-9510;
Manuel Pedrosa, Communications and Stakeholder Relations, 416-868-4682, mpedrosa@cppib.ca

Photos & Videos:

Video – Javier de Leon – Resistance to Harmful Gold Mining in Guatemala
JAVIER de LEON is a Mayan Mam community leader from the village of Maquivil, municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, department of San Marcos. From his small home, he looks across at Goldcorp’s ever expanding open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold mine – the “Marlin” mine. Since 2004, Javier has been educating and organizing Mayan Mam communities and working to resist and demand justice for the health and environmental harms and human rights violations caused by Goldcorp’s mine.

Javier de Leon & Ramsey Hart

CALL FOR SUSPENSION OF MINING OPERATIONS IN GUATEMALA
THE ILO (International Labour Organization, of the United Nations), CALLS ON THE GUATEMALAN GOVERNMENT TO SUSPEND ALL MINING OPERATIONS IN INDIGENOUS MAYAN TERRITORIES

Video – Carlos Amador – Community Resistance to Harmful Gold Mining in Honduras
CARLOS AMADOR is a teacher and community leader in El Porvenir, 15 kilometres from Goldcorp’s open-pit, cyanide-leaching gold mine – the “San Martin” mine. Since 2000, Carlos has been educating and organizing local communities in the Siria Valley, and working to resist and demand justice for the health and environmental harms and human rights violations caused by Goldcorp’s mine.

Carlos Amador

THREATS AGAINST CARLOS AMADOR, MEMBER OF THE SIRIA VALLEY ENVIRONMENTAL COMMITTEE, WHICH HAS OPPOSED GOLDCORP GOLD MINING IN HONDURAS SINCE 2000

Video – Feliciano Orellana (only the first half of Feliciano’s talk was filmed … my camera stopped working after the first half.)
Feliciano Orellana is a representative of the Commission for Justice and Peace of the Franciscan Family, in the Department of Jutiapa in eastern Guatemala. Employed by Goldcorp subsidiary Entre Mares in 1997 as one of the first employee, he later got hired in 2008 and suffered an almost Fatal accident on the job, for which he received no compensation. Now Feliciano is an active leader in his community and wants to share his experience on Goldcorp Human Rights Violations and the communities’ opposition to the Cerro Blanco Mine, Goldcorp’ second large mine in Guatemala.

Francois Guindon & Feliciano Orellana

Related to this topic:

Allan Lissner – Someone Else’s Treasure – Guatemala
CTV’s “W5” program: “ARE CANADIAN MINING COMPANIES GIVING US A BAD REPUTATION ABROAD?”  In it, W5 focuses critical attention on the harmful impacts of Goldcorp Inc’s gold mine in Mayan Mam communities, and HudBay Mineral’s nickel mine in Mayan Qeqchi communities.
Birarpatch Magazine – May/June 2010: Canada and the World
Publication from International Women and Mining Network – Defending Land, Life & Dignity, WOMEN FROM MINING AFFECTED COMMUNITIES SPEAK OUT
From Upsidedownworld.org – Scientists Find Elevated Levels of Potentially Toxic Metals in Some Guatemalans Living Near Goldcorp-owned Mine

The famous Marlin Mine located in municipality of San Miguel Ixtahuacan, department of San Marcos, Guatemala

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