Monthly Call-In Day February 10, 2010 Tell Pacific Rim Mining to get out of Cabañas!

Monthly Call-In Day  February 10, 2010 Tell Pacific Rim Mining to get out of Cabañas!

Since 2005, community organizing efforts have successfully blocked Pacific Rim Mining Corporation’s application for gold mining permits in the department of Cabañas, El Salvador.

This effective resistance has been met with death threats, kidnapping attempts and assassinations against activists who oppose mining. Two more community leaders were murdered just before the New Year. In early January, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes explicitly sided with the environmental movement, declaring “My government will not authorize any mining extraction projects.” However, Pacific Rim refuses to pack up and leave, despite that conflicts and violence that its presence has generated.

TAKE ACTION! Call Barbara Henderson, Vice President of Investor Relations at Pacific Rim Mining, and tell her that the company has the moral responsibility to leave Cabañas immediately.

To call from the U.S. dial 1- (888) 775-7097, or from Canada (604) 689-1976, and then press ‘1’. (See sample script below)

Background: On December 20, Ramiro Rivera was gunned down in front of his daughter despite being under 24-hour police protection. On December 26, Dora “Alicia” Sorto Recinos was shot to death as she was walking home from the river. She was eight months pregnant and carrying her two-year old child, who was injured. Both were leaders in the Environmental Committee of Cabañas, which has been active in educating and mobilizing the local community against gold mining. In June, anti-mining and FMLN activist Marcelo Rivera (no relation to Ramiro) was found tortured and murdered in an empty well in San Isidro, Cabañas, after his disappearance eleven days prior. Pacific Rim has denied any connection between its proposed mining projects and the recent assassinations, chalking the violence up to common crimes or a family feud. But leading government officials, including President Funes, have discussed the attacks within the context of mining. In a January speech in Cabañas, President Funes declared, “We are not going to authorize any mining exploration project… Nor are we going to allow systematic disappearances and threats against members of the environmental movement.” According to a recent declaration by over 30 community organizations and churches in El Salvador, “Crimes like this did not happen in Cabañas before the arrival of Pacific Rim, but rather arose when this transnational corporation began a strategy of buying people off, dividing communities and promoting violent acts against community leaders, environmental activists and religious representatives who rejected their extractive projects.” The international community joins with these communities in denouncing Pacific Rim’s lawsuit against the Salvadoran government under CAFTA, the U.S. – Central America Free Trade Agreement, for hundreds of millions of dollars. By pursuing the lawsuit, Pacific Rim has continued its presence in El Salvador despite the decision of the community and the government not to allow mining. It’s time for Pacific Rim to heed the message of the Salvadoran and international communities: Drop the lawsuit and withdraw from Cabañas!

SAMPLE SCRIPT: “Hello. I have been following Pacific Rim’s proposed mines in El Salvador and am extremely disturbed by the news of assassinated community members in Trinidad. These individuals were part of local organizations that have been actively opposing mining since 2005.

I call on CEO and President Thomas Shrake and Pacific Rim’s Board of Directors to make the moral decision to:

1. Immediately withdraw from Cabañas and cease all efforts to mine gold from the El Dorado site. The company applied for mining permits and was rejected by the Salvadoran people and government. Pacific Rim has no business remaining in Cabañas.

2. Immediately withdraw its lawsuit against the government of El Salvador. It is disgraceful for a company to sue an impoverished nation like El Salvador, especially when the Salvadoran people and government have every right to prevent cyanide gold extraction from destroying their lands and their communities.

3. Cooperate fully with the official investigations surrounding the murders of Alicia Sorto Recinos, Ramiro Rivera and Marcelo Rivera, providing full disclosure on all the people the company has contracted in the region and any other monetary transactions it has conducted among community members, organizations and local government officials. Violence is tearing apart Cabañas, and Pacific Rim has every obligation to offer its full support to bring to justice the perpetrators of these murdered community members, all of whom have openly opposed gold mining in the area. Thank you.”