News

How Local, Grassroots Organizing Drove El Salvador’s Mining Ban

* Yevgeniya Yatsenko and Sebastian Rosemont : Foreign Policy in Focus

U.S. environmentalists take note: El Salvador's activists proved that a national consensus on environmentalism can be forged one town at a time.

Amid a natural gas boom, could U.S. activists ever dream of a national ban on fracking? If it seems impossible, they should look to the south for inspiration.

On March 29, the small Central American nation of El Salvador passed a total ban on metal mining. The historic vote on the law was unanimous, bridging strong partisan divides, and was the culmination of more than a decade of activism, coalition building, and direct political participation by the people of El Salvador.

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Salvadorean Human Rights Attorney Congratulates Municipality that Rejected Mining Through Referendum

El Pais/EFE

San Salvador, Feb 28 (EFE) .- El Salvador's Human Rights Ombudswoman, Raquel Caballero, congratulated today the residents of the town of Cinquera (northwest Cabañas), who last sunday rejected the implementation of mining projects through a popular consultation.

"The prosecutor congratulates the people of the municipality of Cinquera for their active participation" in the popular consultation and "especially for deciding and promoting the defense of life and the environment," said a statement by the Office of the Attorney General for the Defense of Human Rights (PDDH).

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Western University Professor Brings El Salvador Anti-Mining Struggle to Canadian Audience

By Tanya Sahni & Erica Wallis

On February 28th, Amanda Grzyb,  associate professor of Information and Media Studies at Canada’s Western University gave a talk as part of an ongoing public interest lecture series, bringing the anti-mining struggle of El Salvador to the Canadian north with an informative presentation.

amandaIn a local library, a crowd gathered to learn about the environmental crisis in El Salvador and Salvadoran efforts to protect precious water resources from transnational mining companies. Having just returned from overseeing an international delegation in El Salvador herself, Grzyb was able to show her audience video footage of Salvadoran community leaders speaking about their ongoing struggles. Bringing the words of community leaders directly to a Canadian audience proved a powerful experience for those watching, and a passionate discussion followed the presentation. The audience was composed of a diverse group of students, professors, and many members of the local community. Also present at the talk were several members of the international delegation that had observed a referendum on mining in the community of Cinquera the previous week, as well as the Director of SalvAide, Alfredo Marroquin.

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Another Town in El Salvador Votes No to Mining

By Aruna Dutt : IPS News

Cabañas, El Salvador, Mar 1 2017 (IPS) - The citizens of Cinquera municipality in Cabañas delivered a resounding vote against mining, on Sunday February 26th, when 98 percent of residents voted in favour of becoming El Salvador’s fifth “territory free of mining.”

“Mining companies have a wide field with major extension in other countries, and often they need to use the comparative law of other countries to be able to apply their practices here in El Salvador. But the truth is that El Salvador is a country so small that industrial mining is not viable,”Attorney for the Defense of Human Rights, William Iraheta told IPS.

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, but also has the highest population density, with 300 people per square kilometer. It is also he fourth most vulnerable country to climate change according to GermanWatch, with 95% of the population living in a high-risk zone. READ MORE 

How communities in El Salvador are organizing to block mining projects

Sandra Cuffe : Waging NonViolence

http://wagingnonviolence.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/wnv-cuffe-photo-1-615x461.jpgCommunities 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

Communities Call on Local Representatives to Approve Anti-Mining Regulation

* Teresa Alvarado: Transparencia Activa

The inhabitants of Cinquera also asked the city council to call a popular vote so that the citizens of the town can decide through a vote if they are in favor of, or against, mining operations.

Inhabitants of the municipality of Cinquera, in the Department of Cabañas, called on the Representatives of the Legislative Assembly to take up the discussion of the bill that bans metal mining in the country.

In 2009 civil society organizations and communities presented a bill to the Legislative Assembly against mining, but up until now there have been no advances in the discussion.

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