How communities in El Salvador are organizing to block mining projects

Sandra Cuffe : Waging NonViolence and organizations in northern El Salvador continue to organize referendums in an effort to keep their territories free of mining. Established by the country’s Municipal Code as a mechanism for community participation, the consulta popular is an official municipal-level referendum on an issue of local concern that can be invoked by petition if residents are able to gather signatures from 40 percent of registered voters. On the books for years, the mechanism had never been used, but it now plays an important strategic role in the country’s movement against metallic mining. The most recent referendum took place on February 26, when more than half of all registered voters in the municipality of Cinquera flocked to polling stations in four communities. The final tally was along the lines of the four previous referendums on the issue: 98.1 percent of participating registered voters in Cinquera cast a ballot opposing metallic mining exploration and exploitation. The local government will now draw up an official municipal ordinance prohibiting mining in its jurisdiction. READ MORE

Social Movements Demand Blunt Action to Prohibit Mining

Gloria Silvio Orellana: Colatino

"It is clear that OceanaGold does not want to pay, so we have to intervene; the National Police (PNC) and the Prosecutor's Office (FGR) must intervene their assets," said Ricardo Navarro, president of CESTA in rejecting the delay of 8 Million dollars owed to the Salvadoran State by transnational mining company, which lost its litigation before the ICSID.

"We already have serious problems in El Salvador with all the environmental pollution, problems with climate change and mining  on top of that. They (Pacific Rim/Oceana Gold) wanted to steal US$250 million from us and thank goodness that the ICSID said it was clear that El Salvador was right (ruling in favor of the state)," he said.

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Pressure Mounts on El Salvadoran Legislature to Ban Metal Mining

By Sebastian Rosemont - Photo: Genia Yatsenko 

piezaPressure continues to mount on Salvadoran legislators to ban metal mining in El Salvador. On February 7th, mayors from the Department of Chalatenango, accompanied by leaders of the Association for the Development of El Salvador (CRIPDES), arrived in the capital to deliver a letter to the Legislative Assembly calling for lawmakers to pass a comprehensive ban on metal mining in the country. Their trip to Assembly reflects the growing grassroots support for a national law banning metal mining in El Salvador.

Bernardo Belloso, the president of CRIPDES (a Salvadoran NGO that is part of the National Roundtable Against Mining in El Salvador) said, “For the past several years, CRIPDES has accompanied Salvadoran communities that have taken the initiative to organize municipal referendums to ban metal mining.”  

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El Salvador Church Leaders Fight for Ban on Mining Exploitation


An earlier proposal to block all metals mining in El Salvador has stagnated for years in Congress without being discussed.

The movement against destructive mining activity in El Salvador received a boost Monday as leaders of the Catholic church in the Central American country presented a bill in Congress aimed at blocking mining and protecting citizens from “serious contamination.”

“The objective of the bill is to protect our country and its population from serious environmental contamination, especially of water, an inevitable consequence of open pit mining exploitation,” the archbishop of San Salvador, Jose Luis Escobar Alas, said in a press conference Sunday.

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