WERU News Report 9/23/14

Producer/Host: Amy Browne

Reporting from El Salvador this week and next, as we accompany an international delegation observing anti-mining activities in the country. This week a World Bank tribunal is holding final hearings in a lawsuit a mining company filed against this impoverished country, because they prevented further mining in an attempt to protect the estimate 5% of their water that is not already contaminated.

Segment 1: In a historic vote yesterday, the town of San Jose Las Flores voted to take action to ban mining in that municipality. The traveling delegation received training and became part of a team of international elections observers. Today we bring you Mayor Felippe Tobar speaking about the vote, announcing the results, and receiving a symbolic gift of solidarity from Aurora Conley of the Bad River Tribe, Chippewa Nation.

Segment 2: The price of resistance to mining in El Salvador goes well beyond the hundreds of millions of dollars for which a now Australia*-based gold mining company is suing. Several anti-mining activists have been murdered. Marcelo Rivera, a young activist described by community organizations here as a charismatic leader, was found murdered in 2009 after receiving death threats. His murder was referenced, along with other acts of intimidation, when the delegation visited Radio Victoria last week. Radio Victoria is a community radio station, created after the El Salvador peace accords in 1993. Representatives from the station described the backlash against community members as well as the radio station:

Catie Johnson of Sister Cities & Pedro Cavezas of International Allies Against Mining in El Salvador provide translation.

(For full disclosure: Travel expenses for WERU staff member Amy Browne and volunteer Meredith DeFrancesco were paid through a grant from the Haney Foundation received by the Bangor based group PICA, which coordinates the city sister relationship with Carasque, El Salvador.)

*This is a correction – the News Report incorrectly stated that the corporation is based in New Zealand

FMI: www.stopesmining.org/j25/