On March 29, 2017, El Salvador became the first country in the world to pass a comprehensive ban on metal mining within its borders. This tremendous victory came after a decade-long David vs. Goliath struggle that mobilized many thousands of Salvadorans across the country, and cost a number of Salvadoran activists their lives.
The fight of the the Salvadoran people to protect their land and water was supported by a coalition of international allies that stretched from North American to the Philippines and Australia. PICA and U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities are a part of this coalition.
Here in Maine the victory in El Salvador inspires us in our own fight against destructive mineral mining. In these very challenging times in the U.S., we are reminded that the power and courage of an organized people can prevail.
Please check out this video from CRIPDES and U.S.-El Salvador Sister Cities (CRIPDES is USSESC’s partner in El Salvador), featuring Bernardo Belloso. In Bernardo’s words:
May our struggle be like a mirror for all those social and environmental movements that are in Central America…:
The April 4 issue of The Nation contains an excellent short account of the mining victory, with a little of history of the fight. You can read it here.
A New York Times editorial opined that El Salvador’s action “…ought to prompt other countries to consider more carefully the toll mining takes on vulnerable communities and the need for tighter regulations and stronger enforcement of environmental rules.”