First day of Friends of the Earth solidarity tour in Central America

Radio Mundo Real

November 16, 2012

At the beginning of the Friends of the Earth International tour of solidarity with the communities affected by mining, dams and megaprojects in El Salvador and Guatemala, the delegation visited the Marlin mine, operated by Canadian corporation Goldcorp.

In order to learn more about the first impressions of the Friends of the Earth International delegation, Real World Radio spoke in Guatemala with Lucia Ortiz, coordinator of the Economic Justice and Resisting Neoliberalism program of Friends of the Earth.

Marlin mine is in San Miguel Itxahuacán municipality. It occupies a surface of nearly 20 km.2 The concession was granted to the company to operate the mine for 25 years. “The pollution of both soil and water can be seen and it is affecting several areas. This is an example of what could happen if gold mining expands in the region,” said the geologist.

Water pollution is one of the issues that called the attention of the activists because “the rocks that have gone through this processing go back to the mountains and are once again exposed to rain and through the lixiviation process the water ends up polluting the rivers. Later that waste ends up on the lake and the polluting liquids go through other rivers. That river (Cuilco) even brings this pollution to Mexico.”

Popular consultations were organized in Guatemala where almost all the population said NO to mining concessions and exploitations. They have become a world example of resistance to transnational corporations. For this reason, said Ortiz, FoEI is there to support the communities that resist the mining process.

“It is unbelievable that these polluting corporations still have the nerve to call themselves green or environment-friendly through corporate social responsibility projects,” she said, considering the pollution they cause as well as the loss of biodiversity near the mine, but also in terms of the cultural conflicts that arise as a result of the privatization of a public space.

“Building a diner for a primary school or privatizing the area of a cemetery is not what people need, people need to live in a healthy environment,” said the member of FoE Brazil.

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