Last week, family and friends of environmentalists killed in the town of San Isidro, Cabañas, gathered in solidarity with their fallen loved ones at a public ecumenical and artistic commemoration. Those gathered attributed the recent assassinations of three environmental activists to a generalized repression targeted at those opposed to the re-opening of the “El Dorado” gold mine by the Vancouver, BC-based Pacific Rim Mining Corporation. The company has denied any role in the murders. (Special feature: recent video of anti-mining activities below.)
Last week, family and friends of environmentalists killed in the town of San Isidro, Cabañas, gathered in solidarity with their fallen loved ones at a public ecumenical and artistic commemoration. Those gathered attributed the recent assassinations of three environmental activists to a generalized repression targeted at those opposed to the re-opening of the “El Dorado” gold mine by the Vancouver, BC-based Pacific Rim Mining Corporation. The company has denied any role in the murders.
On January 8 and 9, family and friends gathered at an ecumenical and artistic commemoration in solidarity with environmentalists killed in the Trinidad community outside of San Isidro, Cabañas.
Ramiro Rivera Gómez was killed on 20 December 2009 in the Trinidad community, despite being under witness protection at the time. Two police stood guard in the back of his pick-up as he was shot. Ramiro was a friend of Marcelo Gustavo Rivera (no relation), who was killed June 28 in San Isidro, Cabañas.
A week after the murder of Ramiro, on December 26, Dora Alicia Recinos was killed, also in the Trinidad community. She was eight months pregnant with a son, who would have been Enmanuel Recinos.
“If we look at how these crimes have occurred, the resources used, they have mobilized logistics and communications, and weaponry that was used, no doubt for us this is the result of a deliberate process, properly planned, duly paid, “says Edgardo Mira of the Center for Research on Investment and Trade (CEICOM).
“As the Prosecutor [for the Defense of Human Rights, Oscar Luna] said, there is negligence on the part of the investigators and police [in their investigation],” said Videlina Morales, from the Association for Economic and Social Development (ADES). Vidalina hails from the Santa Marta community, and says she expects more from the new government.
“We are here to express our solidarity with our martyred compañeros who were killed because they are defending life here in El Salvador” said Ricardo Navarro, president of the Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology (CESTA) Friends of the Earth El Salvador.
“We are aware that their death was caused by their opposition to polluting projects, such as mining,” claims Navarro.
Pacific Rim denied allegations of the company’s involvement in a statement on their website.
“We demand a competent investigation; we demand that [Pacific Rim] participate in this process, allowing investigations and not assuming an attitude of wanting to blame others. Above all, Pacific Rim [must not be] presented nationally and internationally as victims of this process, “says Mira of CEICOM.
“It should be noted that Members of the Legislative Assembly, namely, the current Assembly president Ciro Cruz Zepeda and his political group, the PCN [National Conciliation Party] also has supported mining here in El Salvador, and therefore, they also share the criminal responsibility for the 4 deaths that have occurred, “added Navarro from CESTA.
“President (Funes) said he would support us, but we hope to pass a law banning metal mining. It is urgent that through a presidential decree or legislation to stop mining exploration and that exploration permits no longer exist,” urged Francisco Pineda, coordinator of the Environmental Committee of Cabañas.
The commemoration was organized by the “National Roundtable Against Metal Mining,” a coalition of Salvadoran organizations and social movements. During the event there was heavy security presence, especially for environmental leaders in the area who continue to live under threats of violence.
(This report was edited and fact checked by Jason Wallach.)