Mesoamerican communities declare opposition to mining modelPublished by MAC on 2012-02-20
A group of organizations and communities from across Mesoamerica, opposed to mining, recently gathered in Honduras to develop joint strategies and principles.
They issued a declaration reflecting growing resistance to large scale mining in various parts of Latin America, citing frequent abuses, long-lasting impacts, and the impunity with which companies continue operating.
Currently, according to the delegates, mining presents "a perverse model... lacking ethics, using "greenwashing," corporate social responsibility, and its own self-defined "green, sustainable, and responsible" mining".
It's a model which "promotes the false myth of "development" and the "green economy" in our countries, based [on] supposed technological advances which exist only to destroy our territories in the shortest possible amount of time".
Political Declaration: First Summit of the Mesoamerican Movement against the Extractive Mining Model
29 January 2012
Together in Valle de Siria, Honduras on the 26th, 27th, 28th, and 29th of January, national delegations from Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, and with participation from representatives of solidarity groups from the United States and Canada met to debate, exchange, and come to agreement on the fight against the extractive mining model that in this very moment holds our territories hostage.
The aggression of the mining industry in the Mesoamerican region has been accelerating and worsening, reflecting the implementation of the neoliberal accumulation model. The extractive mining model is characterized by being an aggressor, predator, and manipulator, which positions economic interests before life itself, before environmental sustainability and cultural diversity.
It is a perverse model, and lacking ethics, using "greenwashing," corporate social responsibility, and its own self-defined "green, sustainable, and responsible" mining, it promotes the false myth of "development" and the "green economy" in our countries, and is based in the supposed technological advances which exist only to destroy our territories in the shortest possible amount of time.
These companies, the majority of them Canadian, have provoked processes of further impoverishment, social conflict, division, sickness, and environmental destruction in our communities, just as they have systematically attacked our indigenous cultures and affronted the cosmovision of our peoples.
In our countries, the mining companies have corrupted the governing political class, to adjust the laws and public policies in their favor and for their own convenience. In so doing, they have violated our national sovereignty and our communities' collective rights which have been recognized by international bodies such as the ILO Convention 169, and the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, among others.
At the same time, the Canadian government has generated a policy of lobbying on behalf of the mining companies, leading many times to the violation of our national sovereignties.
In this context, in the Mesoamerican region has been pushed to change legislation in favor mining companies, in which debate has been reduced to the so-called economic benefits, without any regard for the risks that this model poses to life itself. In its strategy to demobilize resistance, the extractive mining model uses the criminalization of social protest, the militarization of territories, and the use of State security forces to assassinate, suppress, and intimidate our people.
In response to this situation, WE DECLARE:
- The Mesoamerican movement commits to a coordinated struggle to demand the cancellation of mining concessions which have been imposed without the consent of the people, the withdrawal of companies from our affected communities and a comprehensive payment for all damage they have caused.
- We denounce the repression and harassment that our brothers and sisters have suffered in the fight to defend their territories, in particular in El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico and Guatemala.
- We demand respect for the decisions of communities regarding their land, for the right to consultation, and for the implementation of international conventions in favor of human and environmental rights which our countries have signed.
- We denounce the interference of transnational corporations and embassies such as that of the United States and Canada in promoting legal reforms around mining which privilege the interests of transnationals without taking into account the proposals of organizations and communities, as is the case in Panama, Honduras, and Guatemala.
We will intensify our joint actions throughout the Mesoamerican region against the extractive mining model, as well as our articulation of proposals for a new model of well-being that guarantees respect for life and harmony with nature.
We send greetings and stand in solidarity with the Panamanian communities mobilized against mining and the legal reforms that seek to favor mining companies.
We denounce the clientelistic policies of the Mexican government in handing over a third of national territories to transnational mining corporations, as seen in the grave cases of Cerro de San Pedro, Wirikuta, and Caballo Blanco, among others.
We celebrate along with the Costa Rican people the approval of a law that prohibits open-pit metal mining and the use of cyanide in its territory, and we encourage them to remain alert to new offensives by the extractives industry.
We reject the mining law that is moving through the Honduran National Congress, given that it is extremely damaging to the Honduran people as a whole, to the environment, and that it favors the economic interests of mining companies and business leaders in the country.
We demand respect for the results of more than 50 community consultations carried out in Guatemala that have said "No" to mining.
We salute the resistance of the Salvadoran people and demand a stop to the persecution of our brothers and sisters from the Environmental Committee in Cabañas.
We celebrate the commitment and support of people and organizations standing in solidarity in the United States and Canada who denounce and work to counteract the abuses by their countries' companies that violate the rights of people living in the Mesoamerican region.
"From Panama to Canada, No to Mining!"
Valle de Siria, Honduras.