The Business of Gold in Guatemala

Please join us for a public event with Grahame Russell, co-director of Rights Action – a grassroots organization working together with indigenous grassroots communities in Central America in resistance to human rights violations and in support of struggles for democracy, justice and Mother Earth:

CRACKS IN THE WALLS OF IMPUNITY & CORRUPTION
IN GUATEMALA & HONDURAS, &
WITH GLOBAL RESOURCE EXTRACTION COMPANIES

6:30 pm
Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2010
Agora, Ground Floor of Jock Turcot University Centre, University of Ottawa (map)

In this event, we will present the documentary THE BUSINESS OF GOLD in Guatemala: Tale of a Conflict Foretold” followed by a Q&A session by Grahame Russell.

“The Business of Gold in Guatemala”, a 50-minute film, documents one struggle – the resistance of the Mayan-Mam people of San Miguel Ixtahuacan (in Guatemala) against the Canadian company Goldcorp Inc.

In May 2007, former chairman of the Vancouver-based mining company Goldcorp Inc – Ian Telfer – donated $25 million to the School of Management of the University of Ottawa.  In honour of his donation, the School of Management was renamed the Telfer School of Management, ignoring environmental and health harms, and other human rights violations, caused by the mines operated by Goldcorp in Guatemala, Honduras and else-where in the world.

During the presentation, Grahame will focus particular attention on:

How “northern actors” – the USA and Canadian governments, businesses, investors, the World Bank, etc. – contribute to and benefit from the unjust economic model and resultant exploitation and poverty, environmental harms, and repression; and, from there, how North Americans, from all walks of life, can get more involved in these and other struggles to help achieve “another world is possible and necessary”.

Related article:

GUATEMALA – GOLDCORP Inc. ALERT:
Threat of more mining related tension & violence in Mayan Mam community of Sacmuj, near Goldcorp’s “Marlin” mine

http://www.rightsaction.org/Alerts/Goldcorp_alert_092210.html

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RIGHTS ACTION (www.rightsaction.org)

With tax charitable status in Canada and the USA, Rights Action funds and works to eliminate poverty and the underlying causes of poverty.  RA supports community-based development, environmental, disaster relief and human rights projects and organizations in Guatemala and Honduras, as well as in Chiapas [Mexico], El Salvador and Haiti.  RA educates about and is involved in other work aimed at critically understanding unjust north-south relations and global development, environmental and human rights issues and the challenges of poverty eradication.

GRAHAME RUSSELL

Grahame – a Canadian – lives in Connecticut with his two children.  He is a graduate of the University of Guelph (Latin American studies) and the Faculty of Law, Ottawa University.  From 1984-1995, Grahame worked with a range of development, environmental and human rights solidarity and NGO groups in Mexico and Central America, living for 8 years in the region.  With Rights Action since 1995, Grahame has led Rights Action’s work in the USA and Canada.  Grahame’s work has taken him throughout Guatemala, Honduras, Chiapas and Oaxaca, as well as to El Salvador and Haiti.  Grahame speaks and publishes regularly about the wide range of issues referred to above.  He is the author of: “The Never Ending” (1992) and “Code Z59.5: There is Only One People Here” (2010).

THE BUSINESS OF GOLD in Guatemala: Tale of a Conflict Foretold

Even as the government of Guatemala was signing the 1996 “Peace Accords”, it was – unbeknownst to the Guatemala population – giving out hundreds of mining concessions to international (mainly Canadian) mining companies.  Since the early 2000s, serious conflicts have broken out in Guatemala – as well as else-where in Central America – due to the environmental and health harms and other violations of human and indigenous rights being caused by mainly Canadian mining companies.

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* This event is brought to you by Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement – Ottawa, Mining Watch Canada, Public Service Alliance of Canada – Social Justice Fund, and Territorio Libre

* Admission is free, donations are welcome.  All donations will go to support the community groups Rights Action works with in Guatemala & Honduras.

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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

Continue reading “Community & Indigenous Resistance to Harmful Gold Mining in Guatemala & Honduras”

Update re:Peru situation

NEW!

AND – NEW NOTICE – Protest at Peruvian Embassy, 130 Albert St, on THURSDAY JUNE 18 beginning at 11:30 – see you there!

PLUS – contact Canadian senators and urge them to block Bill C-24, the law to implement Canada-Peru Free Trade Agreement:  http://www.canadians.org/action/2009/11-June-09.html

Canadian actions:

OTTAWA: Demonstration and information picket
Thursday June 11 11:30-1:30
In front of Peruvian Embassy
130 Albert between O´Connor and Metcalfe
ipsmo@riseup.nethttps://ipsmo.wordpress.com
Note: Organizations endorsing the four demands on the Peruvian government include: Common Cause Ottawa; Common Frontiers; Council of Canadians; MiningWatch Canada; OPIRG/GRIPO-Ottawa; Ottawa-Outaouais Industrial Workers of the World (IWW); Rights Action; Students Against Israeli Apartheid -Carleton (SAIA); and Indigenous Peoples Solidarity Movement -Ottawa.

TORONTO Protest activity
Thursday, June 11, 1pm
Consulate of Peru, Toronto
10 St. Mary’s St. (just south of Bloor St. at Yonge)
More info: Carlos Torchia, Coordinator, Latin American Solidarity Network-Toronto, torontoboliviasolidarity@gmail.com

MONTREAL: Demonstration for Life in Bagua
Friday, June 12
12:00 Noon / à midi
Peruvian Consulate
550 Sherbrooke West,
Metro McGill
Organized by: Action Créative, Société Bolivarienne du Québec, Hands Off Venezuela et Mohawk Traditional Council of Kahnawake

PETITIONS:
http://www.avaaz.org/en/peru_stop_violence/?cl=250248179&v=3461
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/Amazon/index.html

FACEBOOK GROUP: Solidarity With Peru
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=89605273186

ARTICLES/WEBSITES:
* Reports by Ben Powless, IPSMO member currently in Peru
http://rabble.ca/taxonomy/term/2686
* In depth analysis of the situation, by Gerardo Rénique:
https://nacla.org/node/5879
* News from AmazonWatch.org – includes action items
http://www.amazonwatch.org/peru-protests.php
MESSAGE FROM BOB LOVELACE:

Another Day in the – Life of Peru and Canada
June 10th

While in the Amazon region of Ecuador a few weeks ago I wrote to a friend, “At least now I can say that I have seen the Garden of Eden”. My worst fear, the gnawing secret I would not have dared to breathe, was that the beautiful courageous people that we met and shared stories with would one day be murdered for their land and the hidden metals of which they had no need of themselves. Just over the hills was Peru. As I looked south I had wondered who lived there. Now I know.

In the last six days we have learned who lives there. Mostly they are indigenous people whose genes have flowed through the region as long as the rivers have. They are not poor, because they are at home, because they are among their families and clans, because they walk in the footsteps of their ancestors, because the land that has sustained hundreds of generations will continue to care for them. They are frightened now. Six days ago they were worried that their land would be destroyed; now they fear that everything will perish. They are courageous. They do not hide when the helicopters fly over. They watch them come and go. And they will watch them go, watch them go.

Tomorrow will be the seventh day. Tomorrow, Thursday June 11th, our job is to make the world aware of what has happened in Peru. In Ottawa, we will be at the Peruvian Embassy. In Toronto, we will be at the Peruvian Consulate. Where ever you are tomorrow you must make your voice heard. Call your local Canadian Bank and tell them to stop investing in extractive industries, mining, drilling, forestry and agri-business that are overlooking or participating in human rights abuses. Call your local MP and MPP and tell them that you are tired of them selling your soul for an economy that places so little value on human life. Call your neighbour and ask them to join you in denouncing the media for keeping you ignorant of the truth that Canada is complicit, as a free trade partner, in the murder of people this week in Peru.

You see, we can do something. We may not be on the frontline but we can make a difference. We can save lives by making our names, faces and attitudes known. If you have a camera, take pictures at a demonstration, of yourself and friends holding signs, of sidewalk chalk messages that you write on Bay Street, use your imagination and then post those pictures on the web where people in Peru can see them. Tell them with pictures that they are not alone. And then send those pictures to the politicians and to the mining companies and to the Banks, to the US Embassy, the Peruvian Embassy, so that they will know that our brothers and sisters in Peru are not alone. You are not alone.

We can also share our wealth or a portion of our poverty with indigenous people in Peru. They can use it right now.

I have spoken with Grahame Russell of Rights Action (Canada). Rights Action is an NGO that works primarily in Central America with communities opposing mining and resource extraction. Grahame has agreed that 100% of the donations that are made to Rights Action in the name of “current conflict in Peru” will go directly to indigenous peoples’ organizations in the affected area. I will work with my contacts in Ecuador and Peru to direct the money where it will do the most good. Please encourage people on your e-lists to give something to support healing for people in Peru. And please give something yourself.

TO MAKE TAX-DEDUCTIBLE DONATIONS for indigenous organizations in Peru resisting the harms of large-scale “development” projects (mining, tourism, hydro-electric dams) and promoting their own development, human rights and environment projects, make check payable to “Rights Action” and mail to:

* CANADA: 552 – 351 Queen St. E, Toronto ON, M5A-1T8
* UNITED STATES: Box 50887, Washington DC, 20091-0887

CREDIT-CARD DONATIONS: http://rightsaction.org/contributions.htm

NB – Write “Peru–Indigenous Rights” on the cheque’s memo line, or in the appropriate field of the on-line credit card donations. This will ensure that every dollar you donate will go directly to the people it is intended to help.

Questions? Contact Grahame Russell, director, info@rightsaction.org, 1-860-751-4285

The Ben Powless Interview on CBC, “The Current” has been switched to Friday morning. Get in and listen because Ben is now at Pagua, Peru conducting interviews and helping search for evidence.

Support those demonstrations tomorrow. I will see you there!

Please forward this email to all of your e-lists. Since mainstream media is playing this down or not even present we need to be the news.

Migwetch,
In peace and Friendship,

Robert Lovelace