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NEWS: ‘Enough!’, says the Council of Canadians and Rights Action

Magali Rey Rosa writes in Prensa Libre (Guatemala’s most influential and second-largest circulation national newspaper), “Amid the saturation of the hateful propagana (of the current election in Guatemala), some interesting things passed unnoticed. Maude Barlow, internationally recognized expert in water, past advisor to the General Assembly of the United Nations on the human right to water, and leader of a strong movement in Canada, visited Guatemala. Ms. Barlow chairs the Council of Canadians and came to Guatemala with Rights Action, another Canadian organization to see what mining companies in their country do in countries like ours.”

“‘Companies like Goldcorp are tarnishing the international reputation of Canada. The federal government has promoted and supported the expansion of Canadian mining without regard for human rights and environmental impacts. Enough is enough,’ said Mrs. Barlow after her visit to the Marlin mine.”

“The two organizations demanded that the government close Goldcorp’s Marlin mine and compensate those affected; and that an independent and public commission of experts be formed to conduct an investigation into damage to the environment and health that has been reported publicly so that plan are made for compensation, reparation, compensation and environmental cleanup. They also requested that the federal government of Canada ensure that the operations of Canadian mining companies respect the right to free, prior and informed, as recognized by the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which was signed by Canada; that greater value be given to the right to water; that the precautionary principle be respected; and that the directors of the Investment Plan Canada Pension Plan, which has $ 256 million in shares of Goldcorp, call for the closure of the mine.”

“‘Impunity in Guatemala is devastating and well documented, dating back generations and maintained. However, the impunity with which it operates is not a Goldcorp phenomenon in Guatemala, it is a deeply Canadian phenomenon,’ says Graham Russell, another Canadian outraged at mining in his country and concerned for those who suffer for it. ‘What touched me most deeply is the value of those willing to lose your life, who continue to resist, against all, their right to water,’ said Maude Barlow before leaving in search of justice.”

Rey Rosa concludes, “Here we do not hear anything, overwhelmed by political campaigns full of empty promises. Most remain unchanged at reports of damage and violations committed by powerful multinational corporations, perhaps because it naively believes, will not affect you. Who among the candidates for the Presidency, was genuinely concerned and not for propaganda reasons by people affected by metal mining in our country?”

The editorial can be read (in Spanish) at http://www.prensalibre.com/opinion/basta_0_551344880.html.

A general election – including for the offices of President and Vice-President – will take place in Guatemala on September 11.