Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pacific Rim Mining Corp.: CAFTA Proceedings Begin as Tribunal Constituted

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 19, 2009) - Pac Rim Cayman, LLC ("Pac Rim" or the "Company"), a Nevada corporation and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pacific Rim Mining Corp. (TSX:PMU)(NYSE Amex:PMU) ("Pacific Rim") has received notice from the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes ("ICSID") that the three nominations for arbitrators in the Company's action under the Central America-Dominican Republic-United States of America Free Trade Agreement ("CAFTA") and the El Salvadoran Investment Law have all accepted their appointments. As a result, the Arbitral Tribunal is therefore deemed under ICSID Arbitration Rule 6 to have been constituted. For additional information about Pac Rim's claims against the Government of El Salvador see Pacific Rim news release #-09-03 dated April 30, 2009 or its 2009 Annual Report.

(the whole article)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

El Salvador's gold fight goes international

After activists block their permit, Canadian company uses US trade agreement to sue Salvadoran gov't

Five representatives of five organizations in El Salvador that form part of the National Coalition Against Mining, known as La Mesa, were in Washington, DC last month to accept the Letelier-Moffitt International Human Rights Award. The recognition comes at an interesting time as the group's successes in blocking mining exploitation in their small country, have brought about a unique legal situation. Namely, a Canadian mining company is suing the government of El Salvador for $100 million, through a U.S. subsidiary under the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The Real News followed the group of activists around Washington, DC, and interviewed the CEO and President of the company behind the suit, Pacific Rim. Produced by Jesse Freeston.

(see more information at: The Real News Network

Thursday, October 29, 2009

!Saludos amig@s de Cuidades Hermanas!

As some of you know, two lovely, young, fantastic, volunteers from Lawrence, Kansas are staying in their sister community of El Papaturro until the end of March. Our super awesome staff came up with the wonderful idea of sending monthly updates about our experience- y estamos de acuerdo.

We arrived on October 14th after attending the rockin' National Gathering in Chicago (with several others of you on this listserve), and were greeted by three members of the regional CIRPDES branch in Suchitoto- PROGRESO- where we will be working 3 days a week. They whisked us away to the ever-welcoming community of El Papaturro, our home through the winter.

We've had several meetings with the community directiva and the newly formed ecological committee, which we will be working with over the coming months. The ecological group is made up of about 25 youth from the community, and they have already begun several projects, including:
trash clean-up every 15 days
wooden signs hung over the main road with environmental messages
installation of public trash cans throughout the community
planting of trees for additional shade in public spaces
along with other general awareness-raising projects. One of our goals while working with this group is to create a brochure of the work they have accomplished to share with youth in neighboring communtites in hopes that the movemnt will spread. They have also been working with a nearby Permaculture Institute, and we will be helping to start and maintain an organic garden! This group has really shown how to "Think Globally and Act Locally!"

We have quickly become incorporated into daily community activities, and are eager to learn, from washing clothes in our pila, to milking cows, to making tamales from sweet corn masa (elote), to beginning to learn how to sew clothes and make jewelry- we are kept busy and are constantly leanring new skills and new words in Spanish. We hope to be able to make those perfectly even and round torillas like the women here.

We attended a community assembly, where the security of El Papaturro was discussed. In response to rising levels of delinquency throughout the country, the community decided to have volunteers from each family take turns acting as a nightly vigilance crew. The decision was especially timely, as the community's anniversary is November 25th, and the week of celebratory festivites- such as the big dance- attract many outside visitors to participate. (The ecological group plans to hold a pupusa-eating competition to raise money- the minimum goal is 12 pupusas! Yikes!)

We have also begun to accompany PROGRESO members on their trips to communtities and meetings. We will continue to support these activities, and also share computer skills with the directive.

We will update our blog with photos of our activities, at
Please email us with questions or ideas and we'll include them in our next update. Abrazos fuertes a todos y todas, y hasta luego!

-Jennifer ( and Sally (

Sally Birmingham &/or Jennifer Kongs
Calle Principal, Casa #72,
Barrio La Cruz
Suchitoto, Cuscatlan
El Salvador

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


c.2009 Marcela Sanchez
Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate.

In 2002, the Canadian mining company Pacific Rim received preliminary
permits to explore gold-mining possibilities in northern El Salvador.
The company's representatives assured residents of nearby San Isidro
that the El Dorado mine project would create much-needed jobs and

Although Pacific Rim insisted that its cyanide-based extracting
methods were eco-friendly and that its cleaning processes would
render all the water it used potable, community leaders were
skeptical. They had seen firsthand how nearby communities had lost
their water supplies to the mining industry, and they were worried
about what would happen to San Isidro.

(The complete article)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Dear US-ES Sister Cities Friends,

The Michelleti coup regime’s harsh repression against the Honduran popular movement continues. Negotiations between Michelleti’s representatives and those of President Manuel Zelaya have stalled as reports indicate that Michelleti refuses to agree to the return of President Zelaya to office.


The heroic people’s resistance movement in Honduras continues to need our support. Here are three actions we can take to help:

1) Pressure US Lobbying firm to stop their PR work on behalf of the coup regime.

Hondurans organizing in the United States against the coup have called for pressure on the Washington, DC lobbying firm of Chlopak, Leonard, Schechter & Associates to cease their public relations work for the Coup Regime. To take action go to: (For Background info on the lobbying firm, go to:

2) Contact your congressperson

Several of you responded to our call last week to contact your congresspersons and ask them to sign the letter from Congressmen Serrano and Grijalva to President Obama calling for an end to the coup regime’s human rights violations against the Honduran people. The US continues to send economic aid to the regime and has not withdrawn its ambassador as almost all other countries have. Those who asked their congressperson to take action had some success, so everyone please reach out. Thanks! For more info:

3) Human Rights Delegation to Honduras
RIGHTS ACTION is organizing a HUMAN RIGHTS DELEGATION TO HONDURAS November 24 – December 1, 2009. The delegation will overlap with November 29th, the date slated for Honduras’ presidential elections. It is highly doubtful that fair elections can be held, let alone whether elections should be held at all on November 29th given the on-going state of militarization and repression by the oligarchic-military regime. For more information:

Public Education:

The mainstream US press continues to fail miserably in providing accurate coverage of the situation in Honduras. To learn more and to share information with others, please see the following sources:

a) An excellent short piece on who’s who in Honduras by Honduran medical doctor and human rights activist Juan Almendres:

b) To find out more about how the coup is affecting women in particular, see this article by Margaret Knapke in Foreign Policy In Focus.:

c) Finally, for an easy-to-read, shor, illustrated version of events in Honduras, check out:

Ok, thanks to everyone for all your help! Let us know what actions you take and any response you get from the officials you contact. Adelante!

In solidarity, US-El Salvador Sister Cities


...across the world a thousand and one new forces are emerging...from the bottom
up and the inside out...reviving the battered traditions of tolerance, mutual
assistance and communion with nature.... These movements are mosquitoes on the
attack, stinging a system that repels the hug and compels the shrug...

-Eduardo Galeano, Upside Down

Saturday, October 24, 2009

CAFTA strikes again!


The Canadian company Pacific Rim Mining Corp. is angered at the Ministry of Environment in El Salvador for refusing them from drilling for gold.

The Ministry and the people of Cabanas, who have been protesting, are concerned of the threat that the cyanide used to extract the gold would poison the country’s largest river.

What is the company doing to fight back? Thanks to the U.S. Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which passed in congress by only 2 votes, they are suing El Salvador for $77 million for lost profits.

Along with this egregiously unjust law, the infamous death squads which terrorized the people of El Salvador throughout the 8o’s are back. They are targeting those opposed to CAFTA, including trade unionist, and members of the left political party, the FMLN.

[Posted By shades]

By None Attributed
Republished from CISPES

for more info: original source

Monday, October 19, 2009

Two important pieces of information regarding Honduras

October 18, 2009

Sister Cities Friends,

Two important pieces of information regarding Honduras
passed on from our friends at Rights Action:

1) News Video:

Please watch and share this excellent short news report
from the Al Jazeera Program "Fault Lines" (Two 11 minute
videos). It provides invaluable background info and
highlights the work of the social movement:

2) Dear Colleague Letter to have Obama speak out
more forcefully against the coup and its human rights

Representatives Grijalva and Serrano are circulating
a Dear Colleague Letter (see below) on Honduras.
Please contact your congressperson and ask
them to sign on! At this point there are only 4 signers!

Please forward this letter to your Representative and ask them to sign this letter, calling on Pres. Obama to denounce human rights abuses in Honduras.
Current Signers: Grijalva, Serrano, Stark, D. Davis, Shakowsky
From: Daniel Z. Brito, Legislative Assistant, Congressman Raúl M. Grijalva (gree-HAHL-vah)
1440 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC 20515, 202.225.2435,\

October 13, 2009
"The new decree is simply aimed at silencing us once and for all." (Channel 36 director Esdras Lopez)

Dear Colleague:

Since the return of Manuel Zelaya, recognized by the Obama Administration as “the democratically elected and constitutional leader of Honduras.,” the de facto regime in that nation has intensified its assault on Hondurans demanding a return to democracy.
Dictator Roberto Micheletti suspended the constitution on September 27 in Executive Decree PCM-M-016-2009 and forces loyal to the regime then attacked and shut down the last independent media in the country, leaving the junta firmly in control of what Hondurans see and hear.
Despite widespread reporting that the Decree has been “rescinded,” the rescission STILL has not been printed in La Gaceta, meaning the Decree is still legally in effect, and de facto, it is still being enforced with brute violence by the coup regime.
Also, the Micheletti dictatorship published on Saturday, October 10, another decree granting themselves the power to shut down independent media. "The new decree is simply aimed at silencing us once and for all," said Channel 36 director Esdras Lopez.
The New York Times last week finally reported on the widespread rights abuses occurring under the Micheletti dictatorship: “Eleven people have been killed since the coup, according to the Committee for Families of the Disappeared and Detainees in Honduras, or Cofadeh.
“[…] The groups describe an atmosphere of growing impunity, one in which security forces act unhindered by legal constraints. Their free hand had been strengthened by an emergency decree allowing the police to detain anyone suspected of posing a threat.
“In the 1980s, there were political assassinations, torture and disappearances,” said Bertha Oliva, Cofadeh’s general coordinator, in an interview last week, recalling the political repression of the country’s so-called dirty war. “They were selective and hidden. But now there is massive repression and defiance of the whole world. They do it in broad daylight, without any scruples, with nothing to stop them.”
Please join me in writing to President Obama to ask that his administration finally and firmly denounce these human rights abuses and join the consensus in the Americas regarding the scheduled elections.
To sign this letter, please contact Daniel Brito via email or at x. 5.2435.
Raúl M. Grijalva, Member of Congress
Jose E. Serrano, Member of Congress
* * *

President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20502
Dear President Obama,
We are writing to you regarding an urgent situation where lives are at stake and action on your part may prevent further tragedy.
Since the return to Honduras of President Manuel Zelaya, the de facto regime has taken further repressive measures, in addition to the previous violations of basic rights and civil liberties which have been recognized and denounced by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and all of the key Honduran human rights NGOs, among others.
According to reports from the media and rights organizations, the coup regime violently dispersed a gathering of Hondurans in front of the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa with tear gas, clubs and rubber bullets, resulting in numerous casualties, including several reported fatalities.
While the siege of the Embassy is a serious violation of the Vienna Convention, more disturbing is the broad assault against the Honduran people unleashed by the coup regime.
On September 22, the Americas director at Human Rights Watch, Jose Miguel Vivanco, stated that “given the reports we have received, and the poor track record of the security forces since the coup, we fear that conditions could deteriorate drastically in the coming days.” That same day, the Americas Director for the London-based rights organization Amnesty International, Susan Lee, has stated that “the attacks against human rights defenders, suspension of news outlets, beating of demonstrators by the police and ever increasing reports of mass arrests indicate that human rights and the rule of law in Honduras are at grave risk.”
The international community has also spoken out regarding the worsening human rights situation in Honduras. On September 22nd, Mexico released a statement in the name of 23-member Rio Group demanding that the de facto government stop carrying out “acts of repression and violation of human rights of all Hondurans.” The following day, the Presidency of the European Union seconded the Rio Group statement.
Mr. President, we were glad to hear State Department spokesman Ian Kelly on September 22 reaffirm the position of the Administration that Manuel Zelaya is the “democratically elected and constitutional leader of Honduras.” But unfortunately, the mixed messages that have characterized the Administration’s response persist.
The head of the US delegation to the Organization of American States Lewis Amselem represented our nation in that body by saying “Zelaya’s return to Honduras is irresponsible and foolish and it doesn’t serve to the interest of the people nor those who seek the restoration of democratic order in Honduras […] Everything will be better if all parties refrain from provoking and inciting violence.”
Not content to place equal blame on both the victims of the violence and the perpetrators, he then chose to personally insult Mr. Zelaya, saying “The president should stop acting as though he were starring in an old Woody Allen movie.” State Department spokespersons have declined numerous opportunities to distance your administration from Amselem’s words.
We note that, unlike the coup leaders, President Zelaya has indicated his openness to dialogue and has accepted the San Jose agreement that emerged from the US-backed mediation process led by President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica.
The suspension of rights announced by the junta on September 27 in Executive Decree PCM-M-016-2009 is still being enforced, according to numerous reports, with independent media outlets like Radio Globo and Canal 36 already having been raided and had their equipment stolen.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has declared that “the suspension is a violation of international law, as it was adopted to sustain the illegitimate government that arose from the rupture of the democratic institutional order, which took place on June 28, 2009.” The IACHR also expressed “deep concern over this decree, whose provisions arbitrarily restrict fundamental human rights and contain vague regulations that grant absolute discretion to the authorities, especially the Army and the Police forces.”
Though we commend the administration for having strongly stated their support for the restoration of democracy in Honduras, we are concerned that neither you nor the Secretary of State has denounced these serious human rights abuses in a country where US influence could be decisive.
It is now more urgent than ever to break this silence. It is critical that your Administration immediately clearly and unequivocally reject and denounce the repression by this illegitimate regime. We can say sincerely and without hyperbole that this action on your part will save lives.
Furthermore, the vast majority of our neighbors in the region, including Brazil and Mexico, have clearly indicated that they will not recognize the results of elections held under the coup regime.
On September 29, Costa Rican President and US-appointed mediator Oscar Arias noted the regime’s continued rejection of the San Jose accords, and warned that Honduran elections cannot be recognized by the international community without a restoration of constitutional order. Arias said, "the cost of failure of leaving a coup d'etat unpunished is setting up a bad precedent for the region. […] You could have remembrances of a bad Latin American past, insisting on elections under these circumstances and overlooking items in the San Jose Accord.”
It is time for the administration to join this growing hemispheric and international consensus and unambiguously state that elections organized by an undemocratic government that has denied critics of the regime the right to free speech, assembly, and movement, cannot and will not be considered free and fair by our government.
We feel it is imperative that the administration step up its efforts to bring about a prompt restoration of democracy in Honduras, together with other regional leaders.
We eagerly await your reply.

* * *