|May 2nd Action against Goldcorp: No More Mining Terrorism|
During the months of April and May, 2007, Rights Action organized a series of events throughout Canada and the United States focusing on the negative effects of the mining industry in Central America. Community leaders from Honduras and Guatemala took center stage during these speaking tours across North Americ
Carlos Amador (left) from the El Porvenir community, in the Siria Valley region, Honduras, as well as Mario Tema Bautista from the municipality of Sipakapa, state of San Marcos, Guatemala, during a demonstration in Vancouver. Both Central American community leaders are associated by the arrival of mining giant Goldcorp in their respective communities.
Mario Tema Bautista, a recognized authority in Mayan languages, particularly Sipakapense, has also served as municipal mayor of Sipakapa in recent memory. During an event in Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, Tema Bautista declares: “In Canada and the United States, cyanide is no longer used [by Goldcorp subsidiaries], but over there [in Guatemala and Honduras] they still use it... What we need is solidarity among peoples. We are denouncing these acts in an international stage because our governments are susceptible to international criticism.”
Tema Bautista concluded: “The mining companies have standards in Canada so they must apply them as well in other countries so as not to evade responsibility. We are denouncing these atrocities because it is not possible that a government and a company develop an agreement to not only destroy nature, but human beings as well.”
Carlos Amador, secretary general of the Regional Environmental Committee of the Siria Valley declares: “In the Siria Valley, Honduras, the negative impacts of the San Martin mine are extense. The destruction of the environment, implicit in open-pit mining methods, continues to affect our ecosystems... The contamination of several water sources have been confirmed due to the high content of cyanide and heavy metals... There are communities that have drunk water with high concentrations of arsenic, mercury and lead for years... Independent medical brigades have been documenting the ongoing rise in dermatological, respiratory, ophthalmologic, gastro-intestinal and other diseases.” (1)
On May 2nd, 2007, during Goldcorp’s annual shareholders meeting, a demonstration congregated outside the installations in order to denounce and protest what the Central American leaders have denounced as “atrocities”.
“Honduras is the western hemisphere's second poorest country and in rural areas such as the Siria Valley, two hours north of the capital, Tegucigalpa, people can work in the sun-scorched fields for as little as $2 (£1.07) a day... Some people in the area say they are pleased for the 200 or so jobs the mine provides, which typically pay $3 to $4.50 a day.” (2)
Such economic advances, however, if they can truly be considered as such, are microscopic in comparison to Goldcorp’s record earnings. The international corporation describes itself as “one of the largest gold mining companies in the world with... 13 operations and 7 development projects focused throughout the Americas... [And] record 2006 net earnings of US$408 million.” (3)
Goldcorp’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Telfer, received $23 million in earnings during 2006, according to an April 4, 2007 article by The Globe and Mail.
Mario Tema, Carlos Amador, and Dawn Paley, a Vancouver-based independent journalist, managed to enter the shareholders meeting in order to denounce the injustices suffered by the Central American communities. Unfortunately, reactions by Goldcorp’s executive team and the majority of shareholders was a shameful one.
Carlos Amador states: “The president of the company, Kevin MacArthur, said Mario and I were only there to state lies. It is outrageous to hear the high executives of Goldcorp announce their gigantic profits for 2006, while their earnings have come by sacrificing the environment and our population. Now more than ever we realize that the main interest of these Canadian companies is money, money, money; meanwhile, respecting the human rights is unimportant.”
Mario Tema, to the right of Dawn Paley, incredulously comments that after the meeting, a shareholder approached him and stated: “I don’t care what happens to your communities. As long as I’m making great profits, I don’t care.”
Version en Español aquí.
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