MAC: Mines and Communities

Call Today to Tell Commerce Group to Stop Suing El Salvador!

Published by MAC on 2011-01-25
Source: Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES)

The government of El Salvador has been amongst the most critical when it comes to endorsing foreign mining ventures in Latin America

For nearly two years it has been in conflict with PacRim, after ordering the Canadian company to abandon a project:- PacRim wins first stage of compensation battle against El Salvador
El Salvador Government Looks to Ban Precious-Metals Mining

Now, US-based Commerce Resources is threatening to follow Pacific Rim's lead, by suing the government for alleged breach of the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

Readers, outraged at this blatant attempt to subvert the wishes of Salvadorian citizens, are invited to express their anger directly to the mining company.

Call Today and Tell Commerce Group to Stop Suing El Salvador!

Urgent Action

CISPES - Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador

14 January 2011

Arbitrators at the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) of the World Bank are currently deliberating whether the $100 million-dollar lawsuit brought by Milwaukee-based mining company Commerce Group against the government of El Salvador will proceed to the next phase.

Right now El Salvador's progressive government is battling not one but two lawsuits from North American mining companies, filed under the so-called "investor protections" provisions of the US-Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA).

Pacific Rim was the first to file its $77 million-dollar CAFTA suit against El Salvador after the Salvadoran government refused to grant mining permits to the company, owing to strong pressure from local community resistance against the proposed El Dorado mine in Cabañas.I

In 2006, the Salvadoran government revoked the Commerce Group's mining permit for the severe environmental devastation caused by its mine in the department of La Union. 

Betting on a favorable outcome from the CAFTA arbitration process - written and adjudicated by corporate lawyers - the Commerce Group filed its lawsuit shorty after Pacific Rim.

Today, let's send a clear message to the Commerce Group: Withdraw your shameful lawsuit against El Salvador!

On Wednesday, December 29, 2010, members of the Midwest Coalition Against Lethal Mining (MCALM) met with John Machulak, an attorney with Machulak, Robertson & Sodos, and brother of Commerce Group's Chairman and CEO Edward Machulak to ask him to withdraw the $100 million lawsuit against El Salvador. He refused.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the delegation promised that if the company did not withdraw the lawsuit brought against El Salvador under the foreign investor "protections" of the CAFTA , that the coalition would continue the campaign of public education and political pressure. Take a stand in solidarity with El Salvador's struggle against corporate extortion, neocolonialism and environmental racism and join the fight against these greedy corporations!


Call the Commerce Group's Milwaukee office (414) 462-5310, ask for Edward Machulak and tell him to drop the lawsuit against the government of El Salvador!



"Hello. My name is _______________(if you are a Milwaukee or Wisconsin resident, say so up front!) and I have been following Commerce Group's lawsuit against the government of El Salvador. I am calling on you, Mr. Machulak, and on the Board of Directors to respect the right of the government of El Salvador to protect the environment and the health of the people near the San Sebastian mine by immediately withdrawing your lawsuit against the government of El Salvador.

I will be telling my friends and neighbors about the damage you are causing, as well as calling on my Congressional Representatives to take action. Thank you."

CISPES - Committee In Solidarity with the People of El Salvador

CISPES National Office
1525 Newton St. NW
Washington DC 20010

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