ACAN EFE News Agency, El Salvador
The Archbishop of San Salvador, José Luis Escobar, suggested Sunday that the government should go to international organizations if the threat from a gold mine in Guatemala that could contaminate water in El Salvador is not resolved bilaterally.
SAN SALVADOR - The Catholic leader said in his Sunday press conference El Salvador "would have to go to international justice mechanisms" if the government can not prevent a mine which may cause damage in El Salvador.
Salvadoran environmental organizations have complained that the Cerro Blanco mine, located in Jutiapa, Guatemala, could contaminate the lake Güija and Lempa River, the largest river in this country.
The mine, owned by Canadian mining corporation GoldCorp Inc. is still on its exploration phase.
Escobar made a "call" to the government and Salvadoran members of the legislature to "have this resolved", although he acknowledged that the government “is taking action" on the case.
If it is argued that "it cannot be resolved" because "it is a problem of Guatemala", the fact is "that it affects us because we drink this water," said the Archbishop of San Salvador.
"It is not possible that economic benefits trump the health of an entire nation, never mind the death it will cause… It is not possible that in this XXI century we are caught in a legal and social entanglement that cannot be afforded" he insisted.
The foreign ministers of El Salvador Hugo Martinez and Fernando Carrera of Guatemala have been in dialogue about the case of the mine, according to a statement last February by the Salvadoran official.
Escobar said the Salvadoran Catholic Church supports the issuance of new water and mining laws, pending in the Legislature for several months.
The church is "in favor of defending the argument of saying no mining exploitation" and hopes that a new law "will protect natural resources" of El Salvador, he added.
"It is not right with these resources are taken away and (...) while the cyanide, and a poisoned a nation are left behind" added the archbishop.
El Salvador has suspended mining projects by government decision, but environmental organizations and other sectors demand mining to be banned permanently by law.