Salvadoran president Mauricio Funes has made it clear that, notwithstanding multi-million dollar arbitration claims by gold-mining companies, the current Salvadoran government is not going to grant mining permits. From CISPES:
SENSUNTEPEQUE, EL SALVADOR – Speaking at a ceremony marking the start of the school year on Tuesday, Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes made his most explicit statement yet against the mining of precious metals in El Salvador, declaring “There can be no misunderstanding: my government will not authorize any mining extraction projects.”
Funes cited environmental and health concerns in reaffirming the government's refusal to grant extraction permits for various projects around the country, including the proposed El Dorado mine, owned by Vancouver, B.C.-based Pacific Rim Mining. “No one has convinced us that there are ways to extract minerals and metals, especially metals, without contaminating the environment and affecting public health,” Funes stated. “We are not going to [authorize extraction permits].”
It would appear that the arbitration under the DR-CAFTA trade agreement offers the only prospect for gold-ming companies Pacific Rim and Commerce Group to get their mining operations started.
The organized grassroots opposition to mining in El Salvador released a video this week summarizing their concerns about gold mining and describing the opposition movement and the struggles it has faced including the recent murders of activists in Cabañas.
The blog for the SHARE Foundation describes a recent vigil for the murdered environmental activists:
Much like many aspects of Salvadoran life and reality, the vigil has a startling dichotomous nature that challenges your sense of how to best honor the dead and almost throws you off balance—at once, the atmosphere is tragic, even hopeless, and life-giving. There are moments of solemnity, sadness, fear contrasted with moments of joy, friendship, living life to its fullest. Some 250 people participated throughout the afternoon, evening and into the night in what was a standard vigil agenda: an ecumenical service presided over by two Catholic Priests, a German Lutheran Pastor, a Friar and a Baptist Minister; testimonies shared by community leaders, detailing the difficulties they face in organizing and motivating people to continue forward, with no financial remuneration and ever-increasing risk; activists, encouraging people to continue the struggle; representatives of NGOs expressing messages of solidarity and international support; cultural activities including local musicians, fire-jugglers, poets and theater pieces; and lots and lots of dancing and laughing and socializing and café with pan dulce.