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UPDATE: On the climate justice caravan in San Pedro

10:15 am – We are approaching the town of San Pedro and beginning to see some of the destruction caused by a Canadian company operating a gold and silver mine here.

We are told that the company uses cyanide to separate the minerals from the rock and that this in turn is polluting the local water sources.

12:45 pm – We have just concluded a several hour visit to San Pedro.

As we walked the kilometre into the town (the road too small for the bus), local organizers held a banner and chanted, ‘Water yes, cyanide no’.

We were welcomed in a square – with music and kind words – by members of this community. They told us that NewGold removed the top of their mountain to get at the gold and silver.

The mountain was as tied to their identity as a community, and the act could be considered, for example, akin to turning Lake Louise into a tailings impoundment area.

We further learned that the rock that had been blasted by NewGold for this mountain-top open pit mine was then dumped on top of the river that flowed through this town.

This mine has been fought in the Mexican federal court and found to be illegal. But the government allows it to continue.

The Canadians on this caravan gathered on the stage and I expressed our solidarity with the struggle and our determination to stop this destruction of their land and water, and the resulting impact on their health.

We then presented an open letter to a community leader noting our regret that the House of Commons did not pass C-300, and stating our commitment to “redoubling our efforts to mobilize Canadian public opinion in order to rein in the abuses by Canada’s extractive industries whether operating at home or abroad.”

That letter was signed by 36 organizations including the Council of Canadians, the Inverness, Northumberland, and Williams Lake chapters, and the Sandy Pond Alliance.

1:15 pm – On our way back to the main highway the buses stopped at the chain-link entrance gate to the mine. As the company filmed and took pictures, the community leader (who received our letter) spoke passionately against the mine. Richard Girard of the Polaris Institute expressed our solidarity at this protest.

As he did that, I spoke with a newspaper reporter about our shock and sadness with this mine, and stated that we would bring this protest to the New Gold headquarters in Vancouver when we return home.