“El Salvador is a tiny country” affirmed Vidalina. “It is one of the most densely populated countries in the Americas which has ledto a major problem of deforestation and this in turn has led to serious shortages of water in our communities.”
“Our lives arethose of many rural communities - struggling to make ends meet on tiny plots of farming land. Our region regularly sees the destructive force of earthquakes and the devastation of floods and landslides provoked by hurricanes. As communities we are trying to rebuild from the ravage of years of the massacres and death that came from being the front-line of the cold-war. And now to imagine someone coldly choosing to inflict the environmental harm of a gold-mine on our lives for the sake of profits is just too much.”
“I want to assure everyone at OceanaGold not to have the smallest doubt that in El Salvador their plans will meet with resistance from us. We may be a small nation but we’re strong in our struggle. We have taken on much bigger struggles in years gone by,” she affirmed.
“We know that OceanaGold has deep pockets but we have a deeper conviction and we have the strength to unite in difficult moments to confront circumstances like this. With deep pockets you may well buy the consciences of some – because in the face of poverty it doesn’t take much money to buy division between poor people. But such tactics – which demonstrate no honour - won’t dissuade us.”
“In the nine years of our struggle to block Pacific Rim we have seen attacks and threats and even the murder of four members of our environmental movement including a 36 year old woman murdered when eight months pregnant leaving behind six children. Still we are not afraid. We’re prepared to work to defend what we have achieved in life and to defend the continuity of life itself,” she said.
“I make a call to the workers and managers of OceanaGold, and to the millions of ordinary Australians whose superannuation funds are invested in this company. We’ve heard that there have been environmentalists murdered at OceanaGold’s Didipio gold mine in the Philippines. But now, the people of El Salvador ask of you – please, put life and dignity before gold and profit,”
Vidalina visit has been facilitated by the Edmund Rice Centre and other community groups with sponsorship from Australian Unions. She will be speaking in churches and at public meetings in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Canberra and Brisbane between 11th Nov and 23rd Nov 2013. For more details see http://www.waternotgold.info
Media contact or for interview:- Sean Cleary: 0403-434-512