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Published by MAC on 2004-11-16

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Canadian Government & Mining Companies Pursuing Guatemalan Riches

16 November 2004

Below, you will find a series of connected articles:

- A Prensa Libre (Guatemalan newspaper) article, setting out how local Mayan communities do not want gold mining operations to take place in their region of Guatemala; and this, despite assurances that the Canadian Glamis Gold mining company and the Guatemalan government gave to the International Monetary Fund to secure a $45 million loan, that they had carried out extensive consultations with the local populations, in accordance with international law!

- A Prensa Libre (Guatemalan newspaper) op-ed piece by James Lambert, Canadian ambassador to Guatemala, in praise of mining, making a series of mis-leading comparisons between mining in Canada and Guatemala, over-looking obvious and devastating truths about repression, exploitation and a lack of rule of law in Guatemala today, and about the negative impact of Canadian mining companies [ex: INCO] in Guatemala in the past.

- A Prensa Libre (Guatemalan newspaper) op-ed piece by a Guatemalan enviro-activist and journalist, responding to some of the points the ambassador makes.

RIGHTS ACTION Commentary: There are many other things that one could say of the Canadian Ambassador's comments. If the Canadian government feels so strongly about mining as a tool of good development economics, then why would Canada not support the efforts of Guatemalan-owned and operated mining companies to explore and exploit their own resources, for themselves ... ? The answer is obvious - Canada promotes mining in Guatemala (Honduras, Colombia, Peru, etc.) because it is good business for Canada and Canadian mining investors, not because it is good for local development in Guatemala (or wherever). Global mining more often than not is counter to and undermines good, sustainable development policies in Guatemala (and elsewhere).

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(Many thanks to Rosalind Gill for her solidarity work in translating these articles)

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