By Dominique Paul Noth
Editor, Labor Press
Posted June 8, 2012
Wisconsin’s myriad issues with businesses controlling mining legislation may not yet make the state a replica of El Salvador. But citizens should go to bed every night praying we never get there and fearful when they learn how, just this month, the World Bank tribunal brought that payout fever into sharper view.
Travel first to Central America and lovely parts of El Salvador – that visually alluring land now impoverished and socially crippled even as a young democratic government steps in to try to fix things after decades of political turmoil and civil war.
You thought Wisconsin had dissension! Let’s hope we never get close to that sort of disaster, brought on not just by ideological conflict but spurred by corporate greed, much as happened here. We avoided one such excess from the governor who survived June 5 – he was blocked from turning over to big feverish greed the keys to our mineral kingdom, stopped by, of all people, a moderate in his own party who didn’t believe in ecological corner-cutting.
Forces of blind profit were and still are culpable in the Salvadoran debacle. Political dissension made it easer for speculators to exploit the citizens – a warning for our own future.
Jan Morrill, a Maine native, now lives in El Salvador and regularly visits the river and town of San Sebastian. Much of her time is spent researching and recording the devastating environment and medical aftermath of the gold mining operation from the early 1900s until the mine was shut down by the new government in 2006 for pollution and disease-causing reasons. Just look at her pictures.