Media Releases

Central American antimining activists gather in El Salvador to discuss joint strategies for action

P. Cabezas  

acf3 15Yolanda Flores, DHUMA: more than 80% of the Peruvian territory has been concessioned to mining activity. Photo: ACAFREMINSan Salvador - Representatives of indigenous communities, social movements, environmentalists and human rights defenders gathered in El Salvador to participate in the IV Regional Meeting of the Central American Alliance against Mining -ACAFREMIN.

The meeting aimed at strengthening the dialogue, knowledge exchange and analysis of the impacts of the extractive industries in the CA4 region, particularly focusing on:  

  • Continuing the information exchange and analysis of the impacts of extractive industries in the CA4 region;
  • Deepening the knowledge on the topic of technical closure of mines, which has been identified in the region as a priority for environmental organizations and communities that have denounced the abandonment of mines in a state of contamination by unscrupulous mining companies;

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Over two hundred organizations denounce multimillion-dollar suit brought by U.S. mining firm against Guatemala

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April 24, 2019
 
Today, a letter signed by 227 Guatemalan and international networks and organizations was delivered to Guatemalan authorities and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala. The letter denounces the US$300 million-dollar suit that the U.S. mining company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates (KCA) is bringing against the Central American country as a shameless attempt to undermine the will of the communities affected by its project and the decision of the courts. The company filed the suit in December 2018 at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) for alleged violations of the Central America–Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).
 
Community members from the peaceful resistance of ‘La Puya’ presented the letter to government authorities during a congressional hearing on the ICSID process, including representatives from the Ministries of Energy and Mining, Environment and Natural Resources, and Economy, as well as the Human Rights Section of the Public Prosecutor’s Office and others.

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Founding statement: National Alliance against Water Privatization in El Salvador

logo alianza contra la privatizacion del agua

San Salvador June 16, 2018

This morning members of more than seventy social organizations, environmentalists, youth, women groups, churches, unions and universities across the country marched through the main streets of San Salvador to make the public launch of the National Alliance against the Privatization of Water in El Salvador, as a space for coordinating the popular struggle against the threat of commodification of our vital liquid.

We denounce the arrogant water privatization strategy promoted by the oligarchic groups of the country and pushed through the Legislative Assembly by the right wing parties ARENA, PCN, GANA and PDC in coordination with the National Business Association ANEP, through the approval of the so called "Integral Water Law".

The law proposes the creation of a National Water Authority, an autonomous entity that guarantees a majority representation of the business sector in its board of directors through the appointment of two directors from ANEP and its business chambers and two directors from COMURES (a private corporation that brings together municipalities of El Salvador). Both institutions are closely linked with ARENA and add four votes while the executive government can only appoint one. To complement the privatization strategy, a super board of directors is created with absolute powers to control every action, from hiring personnel, managing the water tribunal, controlling local watershed committees, assigning permits, resolving conflicts over the use of water, establishing fees for services, regulating tariffs and other strategic policies of the national water distribution system ANDA.

That is to say, the law proposes the creation of a mechanism that allows the legalization of dispossession (exploitation and contamination) currently carried out by some companies (such as the sugar cane industry) in the interior of the country; in addition to exercising control of ANDA to privatize its most profitable activities.

We are convinced that one of the main oligarchic groups that promotes the "Integral Law of Water" is the sugar industry, (that utilizes 30% of the water consumed throughout the country annually).

The industry finances right wing political parties to continue to avoid paying for exploiting water resources and regulation.  A report by the Secretary of Citizen Participation on the financing of political parties indicates that sugar mills, including CASSA, El Angel, La Cabaña, Chaparrastique, Jiboa and people linked to the industry as Tomas Regalado Dueñas and Tomas Regalado O'sullivan, disbursed at least $ 3.2 million in political campaign donations mainly to the ARENA party, which in 2013 alone received $ 1.3 million and $430 thousand in 2017,  the same year the PCN and PDC parties received $200 thousand and $80 thousand respectively.

We reject the repression that authorities of the university community were subjected on Thursday June 14th, by the Presidency of the Legislative Assembly, for the simple act of marching against the privatization of water. We also reject the accusations from parties and media outlets at the service of the oligarchy, that we are terrorists, FMLN-linked groups that are launching a smoke screen in the face of government corruption. 

We want to clarify that the fight for water began in 2006 with the presentation of the General Water Law proposal by the Water Forum.  Since then we have promoted a dialogue a at the legislature for the law to be approved.  The dialogue was ended by the right wing parties and the ANEP in June 2017 with the presentation of the "Integral Water Law".

We make an urgent call to social organizations, churches, students and Salvadoran society in general to join in one voice to fight until a General Water Law that guarantees Public Management, community participation, sustainability and the human right to water for the Salvadoran population is approved

Members of the National Alliance against Privatization of Water:

Foro del Agua El Salvador, ASGOJU, AMEYALLI, ASAVIPAZ, ACTIVISTA, ANDES 21 de Junio, Asociación Juvenil Santaneca, ADES, ARPAS, ARUMES, ASPRODE, ACUA, ADESCOLCO, Asociación Juvenil pioner@s de El Salvador, BPJ, Centro de Desarrollo Comunal, CDC, CRIPDES, CONFRAS, CONPHAS, CESTA, Comunidades Unidas de Santiago Texacuangos, Caminata Ecológica, Coordinadora Estudiantil, Colectiva Shumul, ECOS El Salvador, Foro Nacional de Salud, FECORACEN, FSS, FSM, Federación LGBTI, FESPAD, FURD, IMU, KAWOQ, MESUTSO, MOVIAC, Mesa Territorial Ahuachapán Sur, MECH, MSM, MOMUJEST, MJDVERDA, Movimiento 5 Mas, MPR-12, Mesoamericanas en Resistencia, MPS, Mesa por la Soberanía Alimentaria, Movimiento Enlaces por la Sustentabilidad, Movimiento por la Defensa de Tacuzcalco, Movimiento de Profesionales de la Salud “ Dr. Salvador Allende”, Movimiento de artistas y creadores, ORMUSA, PROES, Patronato Lidia Coggiola, PROVIDA, Kolectivo San Jacinto, LAS MELIDAS, RACDES, RAA, Red de Genero de ALAMES, Red de ambientalistas de Santo Tomas, REDES, SITRANDA, SENAMA, Sínodo Luterano Salvadoreño, SETA, SITRAUES, SETUES, TUYULU, UNTS, UES, UCA, UJRM, UNES, SITADMES.

It is urgent to permanently close the dark chapter of metallic mining in El Salvador

PRESS RELEASE

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San Salvador, May 31st 2018. Last week the Environment and Climate Change Committee of the Legislative Assembly moved to archive all files and petitions related metallic mining in El Salvador, declaring that the "subject is closed" because “there is already a Law that permanently prohibits it”.

Organizations that for years have led the antimining struggle in El Salvador such ADES, CRIPDES, UNES, ARPAS and UCA welcome this action because before the new legislature was installed, we warned the country about the dangers of reverting of this Law and we demanded that the newly elected legislators maintain the prohibition of mining.

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COMMUNIQUE: The State of the Right to Free Prior and Informed Consent in the CA4 Region

ACAFREMIN 2do Encuentro

Guatemala City, April 26-27, 2018.

We, the representatives of social movements, environmental organizations, human rights defenders, women's groups, indigenous peoples participating in the II Regional Meeting of the Central American Alliance Against Mining -ACAFREMIN-, met in Guatemala City on April 26 and 27 of this year, in order to analyze "the state of the right to prior, free and informed consultation in order to obtain people’s consent”.

During the meeting we have analyzed the legal foundations of prior, free and informed consultation, as a right that communities and indigenous and tribal people have, to either grant or deny their consent to extractive projects in their territories.

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Salvadorans Reinforce Commitment to Sustain Historic Mining Ban on its First Anniversary

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April 4th, 2018

A year since El Salvador's legislature unanimously approved a law prohibiting all metal mining activities in the country, Salvadoran organizations including the National Roundtable Against Metallic Mining are reaffirming their commitment to ensure the small Central American country continues to be an example to the world in the defence of precious water supplies.  They are also warning of the risk that the law could be repealed.

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