Friday, February 26, 2010
The Golden Rule
The ESOL class I teach recently regrouped for the new semester. My students are mostly from Central America: six represent the region comprising Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala (there's a Peruvian outlier in there too). Activists in all three countries have recently struggled against the dubious activities of gold mining companies. In El Salvador, three anti-mining activists were recently murdered. They were opposed to the gold mines of Canadian company Pacific Rim and the community suspects the company was involved in the murders. Amnesty UK reports that when a local radio station there broadcast details about the murders, radio employees received death threats. In Honduras, activists suspect that another Canadian company, Goldcorp, was involved (indirectly or directly) in the country's June 28, 2009 military coup d'etat. And in Guatemala, where Goldcorp is also active, residents decided to take their concerns about environmental damage and harassment directly to the Canadian government and filed a formal complaint. MP John McKay introducted Bill C-300 last year that would put tougher restrictions and pull government support from these companies. It's sitting in Canada's senate but McKay predicts it won't pass.