Thursday, January 28, 2010

Murders for gold in El Salvador

A friend from church has been involved in some volunteer work in El Salvador, supporting local activist leaders in their struggle against an encroaching - and aggressive - development by the Pacific Rim mining company.

The El Dorado gold mine that would essentially rape their land and natural resources, pollute their water table, and destroy the local ecosystem. And of course, all the money and resources flooding out of the country would leave it even more impoverished than it already is when the company finishes and leaves. Naturally, Pacific Rim has its numbers in order: the feasibility studies, the details about development and profitability, and so on. Of course they can make the "high grade, vein-hosted El Dorado gold project" look reasonable and even justifiable.

But what is absolutely intolerable is the fact that, in the past 8 months, three protest leaders have been shot dead in clear assassination-styled killings, including an activist who was kidnapped, dismembered, and left in a well and a pregnant woman shot in the stomach in front of her two-year-old child. In all, five deaths have been chalked up to this struggle, five lives ended because (legally) exploiting a country's natural resources for corporate profit is more valuable than the lives of that country's people.

It is clear that this is not defense of a legitimate operation, but an organized campaign to terrorize and bully local citizens and peaceful families - and even an entire government. I don't want to speculate why it is ignored by mainstream American media; that's not my place. But if you and your communities aren't hearing about this through other sources, then passing information hand-to-hand must suffice.

David includes some information below, but I felt moved enough by this issue and the research I did into it that I wanted to pass it along with a personal note. After all, I do a lot of talking around here about being anti-imperialist and post-colonial; but talk is valuable only insofar as it leads to real, concrete ways to put love and righteous anger into action. There is a petition - what good it can do, only God knows - but just as if not more importantly, if this situation calls out to you, please pray and spread awareness to others.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, Jan 28, 2010 at 12:31 PM
Subject: request

hey peeps,

some of you all may have already received my semi-campuswide email, but i wanted
to send a specific email to you all about a matter. i spent several weeks over
the summer working with community organizers in the rural northern region of el
salvador, and over the past several months, due to their opposition to mining
projects in the regions, several of them were brutally murdered (one woman was
shot point blank while washing her clothes in the river).

all i'm asking is for you to sign a petition that will get sent to the mining
company to take action against the incidents. the website is:

though it's not much, we hope to receive enough signatures on the website for
them to feature it on their weekly emails, which will hopefully snowball and
generate more support.

thanks guys,

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