Posts Tagged ‘CAFTA’

U.S. demands conditions for acceptance of Millenium Challenge Funds

June 6, 2014

This morning, we as solidarity organizations based in the United States – Committees in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador (CISPES), U.S.–El Salvador Sister Cities, the SHARE Foundation, and Joining Hands El Salvador Network (RUMES) – will deliver a petition signed by 1,000 U.S. citizens denouncing the manipulation of Millennium Challenge Corporation funds by the U.S. Department of State against the current policy of purchasing Salvadoran non-transgenic seeds distributed as part of the Family Agriculture Plan by the Ministry of Agriculture.

CIETTA seed bank_april 2013We share the concerns of our Salvadoran allies against this intrusion of the Embassy in the sovereign politics of this country and we declare our solidarity in their struggle to defend the purchase of native Salvadoran seeds. The purchase of these seeds is a fundamental component of the Family Agriculture Plan, which has generated employment and income for the Salvadoran cooperatives and has increased crop production significantly. This year, the program is benefiting more than 400,000 small farmers and their families, and has been applauded by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the U.S. government itself.

Without this program, thousands of small and medium farmers would be excluded from the opportunity to sell their seeds to the government just because of being small businesses. Thus, the decree to promote domestic production of maize and bean seeds has also managed to break a monopoly maintained for many years by two companies, Semillas Cristiani Burkhardt, importer of Monsanto, and Fertica. The seeds currently distributed also have the advantage of being native, resistant to the climatic conditions of El Salvador and are a fundamental part of Salvadoran culture. Read More »

Institutional Crisis: Road Paved to Fraud

October 23, 2013

Only one month remains until elections in Honduras, and the crisis in Honduran public institutions has only deepened. The Honduran people have faced a multitude of deep-rooted systemic injustices for decades, which have only been aggravated further by the coup. Impunity ranges from human rights violations in the 1980s, to dozens of murders in the context of the coup, to the current homicide rate, the highest in the world in 2012.  

Last month, Guillermo Lopez Luna, a Honduran magistrate spoke at a forum on impunity in Central America, sponsored by FESPAD, the IDHUCA, and the International Commission of Jurists. Lopez stated that Honduras faces “a complete collapse of the System of Justice,” with the Honduran police, judiciary, and the Public Prosecutor’s office characterized by corruption and inefficiency.

Additionally, the Honduran Congress has taken several actions to consolidate influence and control over the judicial system. As far back as 2003, the International Commission of Jurists noted the intervention of political parties in the Honduran Justice System. In the last year, the Honduran Congress has enacted at least three unconstitutional interventions in the judicial system:

  •  Removal of four Supreme Court Magistrates
  • Replacement of the Attorney General and Adjunct Attorney General for a longer term than outlined in the constitution

  • Election of Judiciary Council members limited to an organization of Judges aligned with the Honduran oligarchy

  Read More »

Thanksgiving Day Protest in Solidarity with the 99% Global Occupy Movement

November 26, 2011

On Thursday, November 24th, as people in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving, US citizens in El Salvador and Salvadorans gathered outside of the US Embassy to stand in solidarity with the global “Occupy” and “Indignados” movements.  Their demands include an end to neoliberal, capitalist free trade policies, the militarization of the Central American region, and environmental destruction that has led to climate change. Tedde Simon, SHARE staffer, (right) said of the morning: “This is a symbolic event to express our solidarity with the millions of people around the world that have stood up to say, BASTA!, enough.  We believe that a better world is possible, and we are working together to create it, every day.”

Read about How the Occupy Movement Came to El Salvador here!

The group published the following press release:

Capitalist globalization has forced governments all over the world to prioritize the economic interests of the richest 1% of the global population over basic needs such as education, health care and employment for the other 99% of humanity.

Faced with a corrupt democratic process, staggering social inequality and an ecological crisis which threatens life itself, the 99% has risen up against this injustice in over 1,500 cities all over the world, through the Occupy Movement in the United States and the Indignados Movement in Spain and other European countries, and through a wealth of local and national alternatives in Latin America and around the world. Read More »

The National Roundtable against Mining Rejects the Public-Private Partnership Bill

November 21, 2011

In the context of the discussion surrounding the Public-Private Partnership Bill and the recent ratification of the Partners in Growth Agreement with the United States, the National Roundtable against Mining rejects these new efforts to privatize public services and states:

The proposals made in the Public-Private Partnership Bill and Partners in Growth Agreement with United States seem, clearly, to be the continuation of neoliberal policies that promote the privatization of public services and which would affect the economic, social, cultural and environmental rights of the Salvadoran population.

The participation of the private sector, as established by the bill, happen through concessions of goods and projects that are public domain or through concessions for the execution of an activity of public interest. The proposal also allows for the possibility that a company can use its own goods to sell a public service. As part of the organized social movement we ask ourselves: What is the difference then-if there is one-between public-private partnership contracts and the privatization of services? Or is this actually a disguise that attempts to hide the plans of institutions like the International Monetary Fund.
Read More »

CESTA rejects Pacific Rim’s lawsuit

May 13, 2009

The Diario CoLatino reports that the Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technology (CESTA), a Salvadoran member of Friends of the Earth International, called Pacific Rim Mining Company’s lawsuit against the country an “injustice.” CESTA’s President, Ricardo Navarro, stated that Pacific Rim’s legal action is an effect of the flaw of the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). Navarro pleaded, “I urge the Legislative Assembly to establish a lay that prohibits metallic mining, then, we should review and analyze Association Agreement of the European Union and Central America (AdA) which is more of the same, and finally, President-elect Mauricio Funes should make revisions to these economic treaties without fear.” Touching on the insecurity that many Salvadorans feel regarding the outcome of the lawsuit, Navarro stated, “We could lose the cause, because it’s an international tribunal and we don’t know if it’s impartial or if it has corporate leadership, we do not know who they are because it is a closed process, but we should continue fighting and remove Pacific Rim from the country.”

To read the full article, click here. To learn more about Pacific Rim’s lawsuit, click here.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

*Photo from The Ecologist.

“Victimizer wants to punish the victim”

May 7, 2009

Below is an English translation of the public opinion piece from the National Working Group Against Metallic Mineral Mining published in the Diario CoLatino in response to Pacific Rim’s initiation’s of arbitration proceedings against the Salvadoran government.

Victimizer Wants to Punish the Victim

On April 30, Pacific Rim made good on its threat to sue the Salvadoran State for denying them the environmental permit to extract the El Dorado mine in San Isidro (Cabañas).

Having completed the ninety days waiting period, the Canadian company went to the International Center for Investment Disputes (ICSID) to demand repayment of $77 million in “mining exploration investments.” Read More »

What We Want: An Interview with a Salvadoran Student Activist

Below is an excerpt of an interview with Oswaldo Natarén, a student activist and founding member of the Roque Dalton University Front of the University of El Salvador, with Erica Thompson. This interview is part of a series of interviews with Salvadoran activists conducted by Upside Down World.

UDW: Tell us a little bit about the founding of the FURD and why you chose Roque Dalton as a historic figure to identify with?

ON: The FURD was envisioned as a new chapter in the ongoing response of students in the National University to organize ourselves and to uncover the UES’ historic role in El Salvador’s revolutionary movement. The political project of the FURD arose in 2002 out of a collective need to continue that struggle. The group continues to explore and affect the life of the University through these objectives: to examine the other side of the history that is taught to us; to discover that there are many of us who think differently than the way society has trained us (as this is the case, we often think differently than one another); and to articulate both what the University’s role in society is at the moment and what it could be. Read More »

BREAKING NEWS: Pacific Rim subsidiary sues Salvadoran government

April 30, 2009

Today a Pacific Rim Mining Company subsidiary began arbitration proceedings under CAFTA (Central American Free Trade Agreement) against the Salvadoran government. The company claims that is has operated “in full compliance with Salvadoran law, including the country’s environmental, mining and foreign investment laws, and have met or exceeded all applicable standards while conducting business in El Salvador.” In a press release, Pacific Rim stated its intention to seek damages in the “hundreds of millions of dollars from the [Salvadoran] government” for its loss of potential profits.
Pacific Rim officials state that their company has invested over $77 million in their mining projects. The company states that the Salvadoran government has violated international and Salvadoran law by failing to issue the company mining extraction permits. In a statement included in the press release, Tom Shrake, Manager and CEO of Pacific Rim, tried to appeal to those with concerns regarding the effects of mining on human rights, environmental rights, and the Salvadoran economy. “It is not just the rights of Pacific Rim that are being compromised, but the rights of all Salvadorans and future foreign investors,” he lamented, claiming that Salvadorans were losing out on jobs and the privilege of being one of the first countries in the Americas to hold a new standard in environmentally-friendly mining projects.

To read the press release, click here. To read a copy of the filing, click here.

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

A new environment towards mining

April 6, 2009

Just five years ago, the Glencairn Gold Corp. said Central America was “a top destination for mining companies” where the political situation “encourage[s] mineral exploration and mining.” Yesterday, the Global Post published this article on the changing prospects for mining companies in the region, largely due to strong anti-mining campaigns.

The Catholic Church has been vocal in the anti-mining protests that seem to be impacting the government’s stance toward mining. In Guatemala, two mining activists were murdered and a bishop received a death threat, which may have prompted the government to halt the distribution of mining permits. During this six month moratorium, the Guatemalan government will consider a new law that which would require mining companies to give 4% of the profits to the government, an increase from the current requirement of 1%.

Read More »

A Sign of Things to Come?

March 24, 2009

The New York Times published an interesting article today about NAFTA’s unfilled promises in Mexico. The article points out that in many cases NAFTA has produced “exactly the opposite of what was promised,” and provides the following examples:

  • The dismantling of domestic industries as multinational companies choose to import from their own suppliers;
  • The inability for local farmers to compete with food imports; and
  • Emigration to the United States.

Given NAFTA’s failure 15 years after its implementation, what can we expect from DR-CAFTA? Mauricio Funes, El Salvador’s president-elect, has repeatedly stated that he does not support El Salvador’s withdrawal from the free trade agreement. Yet, as the food crisis continues and more and more Salvadorans leave the country in search of employment, will Funes change his mind?

– Sara Skinner, US Grassroots Coordinator

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